My first encounter with any kind of Columbian food in the Atlanta area came as Patacon Pisa’o was built on the ashes of an abandoned Del Taco on Jimmy Carter in Norcross, east of I-85. I stopped one day while heading home and found they sold fried plantains, which my wife loves. After a while we found other dishes, such as the empanadas they served, or arepas, small corn tortillas, thicker than the Mexican kind, on which they heap different meats. It was a welcome change when we wanted something inexpensive and a little exotic.

Patacon Pisa'O on Urbanspoon

A word of warning: though I’ve eaten at Columbian restaurants, I hardly know the cuisine. A lot of what I’ve learned has come at considerable trial and error. For those who want to know more, Maureen McCarty has done an excellent review of La Casona, a restaurant near Buford Highway, and she describes many of their dishes in detail. Eat Buford Highway (an Atlanta blog, highly recommended) has a fine review of Casa Vieja, off Shallowford Road.

First Impression of Cositas Ricas

Cositas Ricas is in a strip mall on the north side of Pleasant Hill Road, about half a block before the Racetrack gas station and a block or so before Lowes, as you’re traveling east from the I-85-Pleasant Hill intersection. It’s small, with just a few tables inside, a ‘L’ shaped counter, a cooler for drinks, a rack on the counter that has empanadas, and a flat screen TV tuned to a Columbian television station. There was a young man in the store, minding it, with his mother working in the back.

I was hardly the only customer in the place. There was a man waiting for takeout when I entered. There was a couple that came in as I sat, and finally, there was a young lady, mostly on the phone, who ordered the bandeja paisa, and then was trying to get a slightly different kind of banana with her food.

I was offered a menu and it took a minute to note that the dishes were listed in Spanish in black, and in English in red.  Since I had no clue what the restaurant offered, I was groping, but I picked up on the arepas and asked for two of them, one a ham arepas and the other chicken (arepas con pollo). I had a smoothie style drink (jugos con leche) using a blackberry base as well. The smoothie was excellent, and of the arepas, the ham one was ok, and the chicken one was pretty good. The chicken arepas was spicier, offered more meat, and had more flavor.

I asked for a take out menu, but was offered a card instead:

Cositas Ricas uses a card to advertise their offerings

Cositas Ricas uses a card to advertise their offerings

As this is a first impression, I’ll offer no verdict on the place. It’s just opening. But for those who are adventurous, drop by on a Saturday or Sunday. That’s when you’ll get the richest menu and the most offerings here.

Cositas Ricas
960 Pleasant Hill Road, Suite E
Lawrenceville GA, 30044

Cositas Ricas on Urbanspoon