Jackson Heights, Queens, is a super diverse neighborhood. There is the Hispanic community and the Indian and Tibetan community, which I wrote about in a previous post.
I noticed, only after creating the list of places I want to talk about, that all of these places are actually Colombian. Therefore, today I’ll be talking about Colombian places you can go to get authentic Colombian cuisine, right off the 82nd St. station via the 7 train.
My family is from Colombia. Like, my entire family. So I know a lot about Colombian foods and candies already. Although I don’t speak Spanish, which is, like, embarrassing at this point. Countless relatives over the years bombard me with questions like “pero mi hija, this is your culture! No mi digas que no puedes hablar español?!”
I really can’t, tía Maria. I really can’t. I’m sorry. But I can understand it, so, joke’s on you.
Anyway, we’ll talk about the baked goods, candies, arepas and the sodas, like Postobón (SO GOOD). Postobón is the largest beverage company from South America, originating in Medellín, Colombia. Excellent carbonation from my nation, ha.
I’m going to be talking about my favorite Colombian bakeries and restaurants in Jackson Heights that I have been coming to for some years now:
La Nueva Bakery
Located: 86-10 37th Ave, Jackson Heights, NY, 11372.
According to their website, La Nueva Bakery opened in 1998 and is run by a Uruguayan family, but mainly specializes in Colombian and Argentinan food.
They sell typical Colombian breakfast items such as buñuelos, which are basically fried dough balls made with cheese, and pandebono, which is a Colombian bread made with corn flour and cheese.
I feel like a lot of Colombians are either team buñuelos or team pandebono, or at least the Colombians I’ve talked to are.
Look at the size of this thing! It’s like a softball, it’s insane. And delicious.
Don’t get me wrong, pandebonos are really good, too, especially when they’re warm. Freshly-toasted pandebonos are all gooey inside. I recommend. Always.
You can also get meals here, and even bigger meals for parties, such as lechon asado, which gets really popular for the holidays. My family always gets one for Christmas. It’s this giant, stuffed pig filled with pork and rice. Kinda eerie because it comes with the head still attached. But so good, nonetheless. You can view their full menu here.
Come check out La Nueva Bakery to find out which fried Colombian bread team you’re on!
Located: 79-28 37th Ave, Jackson Heights, NY 11372.
Seba Seba specializes in authentic Colombian foods like chicharrón, which is fried pork belly (SO GOOD SO FATTY), maduros, which are fried sweet plantains, and– best of all– empanadas.
I LOVE empanadas. They’re the perfect snack, especially with
some hot sauce and a soda. They’re stuffed, fried pastries filled with your choice of meat.
And, to my (pleasant) surprise, they were selling my favorite Colombian lollipops, Bon Bon Bum! These lollipops are honestly like no other, and they come in such cool flavors!
Like maracuyá, which is passionfruit, sandía, which is watermelon, and lulo, which is wild apple (and my favorite!) They have gum in the center, too.
Their website is cool, too, even though it’s all in Spanish. There is a timeline showing when certain lollipop flavors were created!
This restaurant’s take-out line is always so long, and their staff is really friendly. Even to folk who can’t speak Spanish, but who tried when ordering her maracuyá lollipops…
Seba Seba is open seven days a week and closes at midnight Friday and Saturday night, come check them out!
El Palacio De Los Cholados
Located: 83-18 Northern Blvd, Jackson Heights, NY 11372.
Their name translates to “the palace of cholados.” A cholado is a shaved ice beverage covered with passionfruit and raspberry syrup, chopped fruit, and topped off with coconut flakes, condensed milk (*drools*) and maraschino cherries. So. Good. And crunchy because of the ice! It’s fun to eat this. And sticky.
This place is so popular over the summer. I used to come here all the time when I was younger with my family, and I think they make the best cholados I’ve ever had. They are SO generous with their condensed milk, bless them.
There is a rule to eating one. You are supposed to drink it through a straw first, consume most of the liquid, and then you take a spoon and eat the chopped fruits.
The regular-sized cholado is huge, and only $6! The have other combinations and sizes, too.
Come try a cholado at El Palacio de los Cholados! Their walls are covered in cartoons about the dessert; it’s really welcoming and cute.
Pollos a la Brasa Mario
Located: 83-02 37th Ave, Jackson Heights, NY, 11372.
This place. If you talk to any Colombian and just mention Pollos a la Brasa Mario, they’ll know what you’re talking about. My grandma loves this restaurant, and so I come to eat here almost once a week. There are multiple locations, serving up authentic Colombian cuisine.
The portions are HUGE. If you eat here not only will you take home leftovers, but you’ll be full for the rest of the day. Seriously. I always get the itis after eating here, that sleepy feeling you get after eating a large meal. The struggle is so real.
The interior is so cool, it is like a Colombian house with clay details and everything. And, is that an orange tree?! Inside? YES! IT IS! It’s fake, though. But still cool, how random.
They are a steakhouse and a seafood restaurant, and so the menu is varied and huge. Pollos a la Brasa Mario is known for their daily soups and have a new one each day of the week. My favorite is their sancocho de gallina, which is hen soup, served on Saturdays. Each soup comes with rice, arepa, which is a corn cake, and salad.
My favorite dish to get there is the bandeja tipica, which is a platter of rice and beans, steak, chicharrón (YUM), avocado, maduros, a fried egg, and arepa. This is so unbelievably filling; look at that plate! It’s filled to the brim!
They have really great, authentic Colombian milkshakes called batidos. My favorite is the batido de mora, a blackberry smoothie.
If you want to try authentic Colombian food, I recommend checking out Pollos a la Brasa Mario. There is so much variety in their menu, you can pick any sort of Colombian delicacy you want! And at some restaurant locations, they are open 24 hours!
Located: 77-02 Roosevelt Ave, Jackson Heights, NY, 11372.
The real arepa lady, Maria Cano, wanted to open up an actual restaurant after the success of her food truck.
They serve authentic arepas, which are corn cakes with all sorts of toppings on them. Most of the menu is gluten free.
I really like the arepa rellena con queso, which is just a stuffed arepa with cheese inside and on top. It’s all melty and oozy inside, and the cheese on top is salty.
I wasn’t really expecting it to be as sweet as it was, maybe because I’m just used to the arepas my mom makes, which are savory. So this was really interesting, but overall tasty.
It’s also important to wash down your arepa with a traditional Colombian soda, Colombiana. It describes itself as a “kola flavored soda,” but I’m not sure what that means. It’s really hard to describe the taste. It’s sort of orange-y, but I don’t know if I think that only because the color of the soda is orange, or because it actually tastes like orange. Either way, it’s refreshing, delicious, and my go-to soda.
Not only do they have arepas on the menu, but they also have patacones, which are fried plantains with avocado and topped with more items like grilled beef, grilled chicken, and/or chorizo, a Colombian sausage (which you can never go wrong with.)
Come check out Arepa Lady for some authentic Colombian arepas! And to learn more about the arepa lady’s story, read a New York Times article about her, the cart, and the restaurant here.
Thank you for reading this post about Colombian places in Jackson Heights, Queens! I hope you get to visit some of these places and get a sense of how amazing Colombian food actually is. Or at least I think it is. It’s also all very fatty, but that’s a plus taste-wise. Right?
Jackson Heights natives: Did I forget to include your favorite Colombian restaurant? Let me know in the comments below!
Until next time!