-Grubbing in ChicagoColombian Treats in Albany Park
Chicago's Latin American food scene seems to be thriving. I'm noticing places popping up from a variety of Latin American countries. Colombia being one of them. Today's stop goes by Pizza Y Pan Pa' Ya and it's in the always interesting Albany Park. I first found out about this Colombian bakery / pizzeria from none other than Mike Sula in the Reader (Click HERE for story). It's definitely a gem.
Locals Favorite in Albany Park
So as the name straight up tells you this place is a bakery and also a pizzeria. But it's actually more than just that. They also make a few home cooked Colombian dishes and have an impressive list of fresh juice from fruits popular in Colombia as well as Colombian coffee. It's the type of spot that can serve you at all hours of the day. In the morning the Colombian pastries are the way to go. One in particular to seek out is the buñuelo. In the Reader review these get lots of love and rightfully so. These fried balls of dough are slightly sweet with a nice hint of cheese. I could eat them all day.
Assortment of Snacks with Sauce at Pizza Y Pan Pa' Ya (buñuelo > empanada > papa rellena)
As mentioned they make a few traditional Colombian dishes as well. So of course they have stuff like empanadas and arepas on the menu. Their empanadas make for a great snack if driving by and you want something quick but not McDonald's. I much prefer when the arepas are stuffed so I got one with beef and cheese and it was perfect. I loved the shredded bits of tangy beef with hints of pepper.
Beef Arepa at Pizza Y Pan Pa' Ya
Then there's the pizza. This was the most fascinating part of this place to me. Of course pizza is big pretty much across the entire globe but Colombia has a deep fondness for it that I did not know. They even like to make fruit pizza and you can try it at Pizza Y Pan Pa' Ya. I haven't given it a go but Mike Sula did in his review and if you can get past the fact it's not supposed to be hearty like marinara and sausage you may just enjoy it as a dessert. I did give the popular Colombian combo of chicken and mushrooms a try, and came away pretty damn impressed. Not so much with the combo of toppings, I thought they loaded too much on including the cheese. But as the Reader article told me the crust would be something worth the visit and it was. It reminded me alot of Barnaby's in Northbrook. It may even be gluten free as corn seemed to be prevalent. I'll back for a sausage pie and more snacks.
Colombian Pizza at Pizza Y Pan Pa' Ya
Pizza Y Pan Pa' Ya
3125 W Montrose Ave
Chicago, IL 60618