Farmers Rotisseria a la Brasa
673 9th Ave (between 46th and 47th Streets)
New York, NY 10036
Hours: Mon to Thurs – 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., Fri – 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sun – 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
People come from far and wide to this unassuming Penn Station-area Colombian grill for the succulent rotisserie chicken. What you won’t find on the web menu, but is readily available onsite, is the traditional bandeja. Stacked high with steak or ground beef, fried eggs, chicharron, not-one-but-two plaintains, beans and even a salad (how the heck did that get on there?), you’re looking at two meals easy. $21.95 with steak, $19 with ground beef.
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1015 Manhattan Ave.
Greenpoint, NY 11222
Hours: Mon – 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tue to Thurs – 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., Fri ti Sat – 8 a.m. to 12 a.m., Sun – 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
In a Brooklyn neighborhood filled with Polish delis and emerging hipster joints, this cozy, modern Colombiano is a welcome alternative, particularly for its weekend “Colom-brunch.” The bandeja paisa ($12.95), a dinner staple here, is served hot and savory (the perfumed white rice in particular stands out). A variety of “mounted” (montada) arepas are not to be missed here, piled high as they are with chicken, fruit, shrimp, chorizo or beef. The small wine and Colombian espresso bar, bread from Balthazar, and the fact the restaurant’s owners grow many of their own veggies on a rooftop garden, complete your experience here.
La Pollera Colorado
41-20 Greenpoint Ave.
Sunnyside, NY 11104
Hours: Mon to Sun – 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Queens is still the epicenter for New York’s Colombian population, where authentic restaurants abound. Located on an unassuming block next to a playground, this friendly Queens restaurant (named for a traditional fiesta dress), with its festive orange banquettes and faux plaza interior is a neighborhood favorite. Best known for its succulent rotisserie chicken and grilled fish, it also serves up a tasty plato montañero (aka “montera molida,” $12.45). The chicharrón and arepa (a sort of corn puffbread) tend to be dry, but the beans are incredible, and savory ground beef flecked with green onions and tomatoes is particularly good with the house-made hot sauce. A smaller Mini Tipica is available for $7.50 (as is a children’s menu), and you’ll find a 10 percent off coupon on the website.
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La Fonda Antioquena
32-25 Steinway St.
Astoria, NY 11103
Hours: Mon to Wed – 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Thu – 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Fri to Sat – 9 a.m. to 12 a.m.; Sun – 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
This recently expanded Queens institution, while not as high-profile as the nearby Basurero, serves up superior dishes, and its breakfasts are not to be missed (arrive early for the rich hot chocolate and to-die-for buñuelos). The Bandeja Paisa can be ordered con pollo (with chicken) instead of the traditional steak, or sin carne for vegetarians. Chicharrón here is succulent, salty and indulgent, and you can’t stop eating the red beans and pork. The waitstaff is very friendly, but sometimes you’ll encounter a language barrier. Ask for a side of tostones (flattened, fried plantains).
1976 Forest Ave.
Staten Island, NY 10302
Hours: Mon to Sun – 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
A bright, colorful surprise on the Island of Staten, this family-owned spot features a bakery up front and clean, comfortable restaurant in back. Fútbol (soccer) and Telemundo game shows blare on the overhead TVs, and the waitstaff will walk you (patiently) through the menu. All the tipico items are here (including and excellent Lengua a la Plancha, grilled tongue). The Paisa ($12.99) is large and tasty, as it should be, and an uncommon bandeja mixta ($16.99) features both grilled steak and chicken, in case you weren’t getting enough meat today.