SD #5: It’s addictive, it’s from Colombia, and it’s not cocaine!

Last weekend Allan and I Serial Dined dined at Antojitos Colombianos, 5408 Roosevelt Avenue, (718) 478-0688, conviently located right under the 52nd St station on the 7 train.

Some of the best restaurants in Queens are itty bitty holes in the wall

“Antojitos Colombianos” apparently means something like “Colombian snack food,” so we were expecting a menu with small items.  They do have those, but they also have full meals.  They look and taste deliciously home-cooked, and it’s not a mystery:  it’s a family-run operation, and their tiny kitchen contains no commerical equipment.  They use an oven with a rangetop that looks exactly what you’d see in a normal residential kitchen.

The dining room is tiny too (but very clean), so plan to call ahead for takeout or delivery.  There are three tables, all of which were full of strangers eating with strangers to make the best use of space.  There’s virtually no room to stand up while waiting for your takeout order.  Fortunately, some people left while we were waiting, so we had a chance to sit and eat empanadas while waiting for our meals to be cooked and packed up to go.

Mmm... empanadas!

The proprietor was very friendly and chatted with us while (what appeared to be) his wife and daughter prepared our food.  Guessing correctly that we are not fluent in Spanish, he went over some key menu items with us and made suggestions.  He emphasized several times that delivery is free, and was just generally a really nice guy who is working his butt off to be successful running a restaurant in a very tiny space.  He brought us empanadas to sample while we waited for our order.  As far as we could tell, they were on the house– a brilliant loss-leader, because they were the best I’ve ever had (from an admittedly small sample– I think this was my third empanada ever).  Antojitos Colombianos  is right on the way to our favorite laundromat, and I predict we will be stopping to pick up empanadas (0r arepas or tamales or any of the other antojitos they serve) on the way over instead of hitting the drive-through at Wendy’s, which is what we usually do.

We were surprised to discover that this tiny little snack shop actually had full meals– platos tipicos Colombianos.  Allan had  bistec encebollado (steak with onions) and I had pechuga encebollado (basically a pounded chicken cutlet with onions).  Both came with salad, rice, beans, and plaintains.  Including two bottles of South American specialty sodas, the total tab came to under $18.  Really a bargain, especially given the portion sizes, which are generous enough for leftovers, making it an even bigger bargain.  We ate in the car, but the food was so good we didn’t mind.

Overall, the food was terrific and very reasonably priced.  I know I say that a lot, but this is Woodside, and it happens a lot here– that’s one of the best things about living here.  So… if you like Colombian home-cooking, or if you don’t know Colombian food and you want to try it out in a restaurant with very friendly staff that are willing to school you, check out Antojitos Colombianos.

Pechuga Encebollada


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