Sunday, April 3, 2011

Revisiting an old Colombian favorite in Hackensack

Colombia, the only risk is wanting to stayImage by *L*u*z*A* via Flickr
The photographer says: "Colombia. The only risk is wanting to stay."


I haven't visited Villa de Colombia in Hackensack for many year, and I'm not sure why. 

The food is tasty, portions are generous and prices for almost everything are reasonable.

Its Web site says the restaurant opened in 1992 with seating for 20 and expanded in 1997 to two rooms with 90 seats. It also boasts of having the best Hispanic cuisine and seafood kitchen in Bergen County.

That certainly seemed true with the whole fried tilapia we ordered as one of our two entrees ($17). 

The fish was delicious -- crispy outside and moist inside. It was served with sliced avocado over salad, and smashed and fried green plantains called tostones.

Tostones are one of my 13-year-old son's favorite foods, so we also ordered them as a side dish ($3). 

We started with small bowls of tasty fish soup with potato and root vegetables ($2.75 each). 

My wife and son drank batidos or shakes of mango and gunabana ($2.83 each).

Bacon-wrapped shrimp

My wife and I shared the fish, and my son ordered an entree listed as Villacol -- skirt steak paired with six bacon-wrapped shrimp and served with mashed potatoes ($17). 

My son asked for rice and beans instead of the potatoes, but they were brought in addition to the potatoes.

He's been ordering a lot of food when we eat out, and not finishing it. 

As he looked at the Villa de Colombia menu, he said we should return to try every single item, but he didn't like how the fish soup smelled and he hardly made a dent in the steak or mashed potatoes with his entree. 

When I got the itemized bill, I saw we were charged $4 for rice and beans, and nothing for the side of tostones

Beer in paper cup

I had asked for Colombian beer, thinking it was served in bottles, but got draft beer in a paper cup for $4, which I think is high. 

Service is good, though we got our soups first, then had to wait a few minutes for place settings, including a soup spoon and an arepa or small corn cake.

We will return to try other dishes. Villa de Colombia outshines most of the other Colombian places in North Jersey. 

The dining rooms are pleasantly decorated with framed posters from the Museo del Oro in Bogota, Colombia. Tablecloths are covered by glass. 

The restaurant is on quite Mercer Street, on the same block as Miyoshi Japanese Restaurant, another long-time presence downtown.

Villa de Colombia, 12 W. Mercer St., Hackensack; 201-343-3399.  

Restaurant adds 15% gratuity to checks of $30 or more, before tax.

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