Thursday, October 22, 2015

La Casona Colombian Cuisine - Doraville Georgia

You can find La Casona Colombian Restaurant at 3820 Stewart Rd, Doraville, GA 30340 - this is on the short access spur right after you cross under I285 onto Buford Hwy, just before the new QuickTrip and almost right across the street from a newer Colombian restaurant, Delicias de la Abuela (which occupies the old Del Taco on BufHi).

The front of this place looks like a big pnkish/rose house, which makes sense considering the name means "house." Parking is right in front with most of the spaces on a hill - it can be a bit difficult to get in and out of, especially during busy times. You might want to visit at slightly earlier or later times (than lunch or typical dinner) to avoid any difficulties in parking. The interior is a wide-open room with plenty of wood-chair seating, exposed brick and wooden-railing.

If you haven't tired Colombian food yet you're definitely missing out. As with other Latino cuisines, Colombian has some familiar elements and other components that you'll find unusual - it's this latter that makes the cuisine unique and enticing. Along with the typical beef, chicken and pork, you'll also see fish (and in particular whole fried talapia) on the menu. The menu here is quite extensive with many options: Appetizers (try the empanadas), Tostones, Pastas (which always seems odd to me in Latino cooking but appears to be common in Colombia), Carnes (beef), Seafood (fish and shrimp), Arepas (Colombian tortillas), Drinks, including juice with milk, sodas, beer and coffe, and a small selection of desserts.

My favorite Colombian dish, and it's the one platter I always order when going to a Colombian restaurant as a bit of a litmus test, is the Bandeja Paisa. This is usually a "grande" platter that includes many items including beef and sausage and the version(s) provided at La Casona are no exception. They offer both the big platter and a "Mini" version for those who think it's too much food, and year at La Casona the big platter is indeed big. If you order this and you're still hungry at the end then you might consider seeing your doctor - it's massive! It includes grilled steak (a bit like pounded carne asada), pork skin (chicharron), fried egg, sweet plantains (maduros), avocado, an arepa (Columbian style so it's more like a corn cake) all piled on rice and beans. The large platter also comes with a big hunk of sausage (like chorizo) and a bit larger portions. This was all delicious and I'd recommend at least the mini to anyone who wants to try Colombian for the first time.

On this occasion we ordered the Bandeja Paisa, a Mini Bandeja Paisa, A flattened arepa with chicken and avocado and mango smoothies (this last is very similar to a mango lassi). All were quite delicious.

Bandeja Paisa
Mini Bandeja Paisa

Chicken Arepa

I've also on occasion had the empanadas (they're thicker skinned than other Latino style I've had), the Sweet corn soup, the whole fried fish, and the shrimp soup (fantastic!).

Mango Juice with Milk and an Empanada
 In all you'll leave quite stuffed and satisfied. There's a subtlety to the spices that provide a richness without heat (they do provide some heat if that's your thing as hot sauce) that makes Colombian food different. They also like to use some smokey flavors in their cooking that I like quite a bit. Try this if you haven't - you'll like it!

-- John

(also posted to Yelp)
La Casona Taqueria Y Billares Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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