Pueblito Viejo Brings A Taste Of Colombia To Chicago

Pueblito Viejo dance floor

Pueblito Viejo dance floor

By Isa Gil, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Pueblito Viejo located on 5429 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL, is a Colombian restaurant that is full of Colombia’s most traditional dishes. When you first walk into the restaurant, you will encounter two walls covered with pennies. Now when you take a step inside, you will be met with many colorful lights as well as decorations hanging from the ceiling. These decorations are traditional items from Colombia like their hats, purses and even Colombian flag. Not only is the place covered with decorations from the entrance to the ceiling, but when you are brought to your table, you will notice multiple pictures plastered on the table. Given that I’m Colombian, I decided to try some of the traditional dishes to see if it brought me back to nights in Colombia.

Empanada de Carne 

To start, my family and I ordered empanadas de carne, a typical appetizer in Colombia. They are turnovers made with corn dough, and they are stuffed with potatoes along with your preferred choice of meat, typically pork or beef. With these empanadas, it is best to dip in salsa rosada, a mixture of ketchup and mayonnaise, or ají, a spicy a mixture of Jalapeño peppers and green onions along with other ingredients.

Picada Pueblito Viejo 

Although we ended up getting the empanada de carne this time, if you’re eating out with a group of people, it is recommended to try the Picada which is for 2+ people. It is a platter of bite-sized fried pork, Colombian sausage (chorizo), chicharron, plantains, cassava (yuca), arepa, and tomatoes. When ordering this platter, I tend to go for the chicharron, which is made out of fried pork belly. When biting into a chicharron, you may start off biting into a savory yet kind of hard exterior; however, once you bite the first part off, you will be met with a soft tasty chewy part.

Bandeja Pueblito

Aside from the empanadas de carne, I ordered a Bandeja Pueblito which is filled with red beans, rice, fried pork rinds, grilled or ground skirt steak, fried sweet plantains, fried egg and arepa. Every time I get this plate, it brings me back to Colombia. It feels as if I’m sitting on the patio watching the mountains on a hot summer day. The food is absolutely amazing, and it tastes even better when you ask for avocado. Furthermore, when you have your steak, it is recommended you put on chimichurri,  a sauce made of chopped parsley and/or cilantro, garlic, olive oil, and spices. The chimichurri gives the steak an oniony taste, perfect for those who enjoy onion in their sandwiches or even salads.

Overall, if you’re looking to try some traditional Colombian dishes, Pueblito Viejo is the perfect spot to go, and you don’t  have to book a flight to Colombia in order to get a taste of these dishes.