Those looking for a taste of another culture won’t have to travel far.
A new Colombian restaurant called Mi Colombia has quietly opened at 3937 Linden Ave. across from the Eastown Shopping Center in Riverside.
The restaurant is open seven days a week, from noon to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
The space was formerly occupied by The Vistro, a local Vietnamese food truck that made the jump to brick-and-mortar in the summer of 2018.
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This particular restaurant space has a long history of hosting various ethnic cuisines, as it previously housed Al-Mandi Restaurant & Cafe, and before that, Antojitos Criollos Puerto Rican restaurant.
Now, you’ll find that the aroma of grilled meats, homemade soups and freshly toasted arepas fills the space between the restaurant’s newly decorated, Colombian-themed walls.
The head chef, Juan Carlos Hurtado, said that Mi Colombia specializes in traditional Colombian dishes like Ajiaco, a chicken soup commonly found in Latin America; Arroz con pollo, a chicken and rice dish; and Bandeja Paisa, which is considered a national dish in Colombia.
The new restaurant also serves a few Colombian breakfast dishes on the weekends.
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If you’re not hungry for a big meal, you’ll be able to find finger foods like empanadas, arepas, and arequipes, a small wafer-like snack with cheese and blackberry.
Mi Colombia also offers an assortment of fresh fruit juices including mango, passionfruit, strawberry and pineapple.
The restaurant has been open for the last month and is already serving up big flavors, as well as big plans. Hurtado says he hopes to eventually open a food truck, which is currently parked out front, to be able to bring it to events this summer.