Disclaimer: The following is an overly dramatic review of a Columbian restaurant in Albany that is heavily influenced by my overly dramatic pregnancy emotions. You’ve been warned! But also…you guys should go. Because it was so, so good. By the time my food came, I was too hungry to take pictures- so you’ll just have to go and see for yourself!
It was Mother’s Day, 2016. So, basically, it was a few weeks ago. I happened to see a picture of a beautiful plate of Columbian food on social media. I haven’t had many cravings during this pregnancy (besides Mango Curry), but this was the strongest one yet, and it brought me to tears. I quickly googled Columbian restaurants near me, and I came across one in Albany! It was called Mr. Pio Pio, and my friend informed me that it is, in fact, located very close to U Albany. Because it was cold and rainy, and we already had plans to cook a steak dinner, my husband and I decided it would be best to stick with our original plan, and indulge this particular craving another day. So, I mustered all of my pregnant lady courage, and took a nap, hoping that the craving would pass.
I woke up, and it did not! My sweet husband promised me that we’d have a dinner date on Friday where I could finally order my platter tipica. I spent the week dreaming of fried plantains, and we invited two of our friends along for a double date. Although we had the address, we rolled past it and had to turn around to find it. Its one of those little hole in the wall restaurants that you could easily pass by because the sign is not eye-catching, and the neighborhood isn’t the greatest.
When I walked in, my first thought is that it looked more like a restaurant that you would order take out from. In fact, they did seem to have a lot of take out orders. Still, the menu looked good, so we sat down and waited for our friends. My husband and I both ordered the Bandeja Tipica, and our friends split the Picada. The food took awhile to come out, but it was nice to have time to just talk and catch up. Plus, when the food arrived, it was well worth the wait! The Bandeja Tipica consisted of a generous portion of steak, rice, beans, a fried egg, avocado, and fried plantains. My husband and I ordered the green sauce on the side- and everything was incredible. The food reminded us of La Finca, a restaurant that we loved on Long Island! However, it is important to note that unlike La Fina, Mr. Pio Pio does not serve alcohol. If you go to La Finca, you need to order their sangria as it compliments the food perfectly! The Picada was a platter piled high with grilled beef, chicken, spare ribs, columbian sausage, tostones, fried cassava, and chicharron. It looked great- although I was not 100% certain what everything was. Our friends seemed really happy with their dish. They used both the green sauce and a super spicy red sauce… I recommend trying both!
My husband was pretty impressed with all of the food that came out, and asked me if I would be willing to split the Picada with him next time. The truth is though, that I am all about those sides! They are my favorite part!
All in all, the restaurant does not have the most fancy or impressive atmosphere, but the servers were friendly and the food was really good! We will definitely be going back! Next time we pass through Albany, we will absolutely stop in for dinner or maybe even order take out.