The Colombian Spot Pittsburgh Restaurant Review
It seems each day more and more travel bloggers are headed to Colombia and so I definitely want to get in on the action. The country looks beautiful (a wonderful combination of Spanish colonial paired with out of this world Mother Nature locales), it’s relatively inexpensive, and well, one of the biggest factors for me, la comida (the food).
I tried arepas, Colombia’s most prominent food, a couple of years ago at The Colombian Spot, a new addition to the now defunct Pittsburgh Public Market. Arepas are made of ground maize dough (or sometimes cooked flour) and stuffed with fillings like chicken or beef along with items like cheese, avocado, and beans. In short, they resemble a sandwich in many ways so it’s easy to see why arepas are such a popular street food there.
I lamented the loss of The Colombian Spot since Pittsburgh’s Latin American food scene is already so sparse to begin with. But then I read that the owner of The Colombian Spot planned to open in a new space, specifically in the city’s South Side neighborhood. And then I waited…and waited. I thought that perhaps it would never open since sometimes even a “coming soon” sign still isn’t anything guaranteed. But then this past spring thanks to Instagram, I read that The Colombian Spot was having a soft opening, so plans were made to go.
To start we each ordered a delicious house made drink. I opted for one of the natural juices, guava. With water they’re $3, and with milk they’re $3.50. Since I was having a full meal, I thought the milk might fill me up faster. Other flavor selections included blackberry, mango, passionfruit and more.
D chose the limonada de coconut (coconut lemonade) $3. I’d had this back at the Public Market and remember it being perfectly quenching with just the right amount of sweetness to it.
We each naturally ordered empanadas ($1.95 for one), South America’s version of the turnover. They’re made of fried corn and stuffed with potatoes, minced tomatoes and sauteed onions and then your choice of either beef, chicken, or vegetarian (the latter features spinach, black beans, and white rice). I did chicken whereas D did beef. You can never go wrong with an empanada.
For my main course I ordered the Ropa Vieja Arepa ($10.50). Ropa vieja is a famous Cuban dish (and one of my favorites I might add) so it seemed like the perfect pairing for an arepa. It consisted of shredded beef in a tomato sauce with green peppers, sweet plantains, and fried mozzarella. It was literally bulging at the seams so I did a lot of eating excavating first with my fork. But it was truly delicious. And all arepas come with a choice of one side; I went overboard and ordered more plantains, this time of the tostones variety which are crispy fried green plantains, an ode to my Costa Rican days. There are a slew of arepa selections, including both vegetarian and meat.
D ordered a dish he had had before, the Bandeja Paisa ($16.50). I’m not embellishing when I say this dish is massive. It includes shredded beef, Colombian chorizo, fried pork belly, sweet plantains, avocado, egg, red beans, white rice, and a grilled arepa. It truly is the perfect dish for someone wanting to try just about everything known to man.
Their new space is perfect and I’m so glad they have a stand alone spot now. Service was terrific the whole meal and the place was quite crowded even though we dined in the middle of the afternoon. And as I love anything travel themed, I also adored the decor that featured lovely mementos and artwork of the country (Colombia, that is).
I thoroughly enjoyed my meal here and look forward to a return trip, that or a trip to Colombia itself. Either or!
2019 East Carson Street | Pittsburgh, PA | 15203