Posted March 5, 2013
By DANIELA RODRIGUEZ
The smell of empanadas and the sounds of Vallenato catch anybody’s attention and olfactory senses as soon as they step foot into Raspaos, a Colombian restaurant located in Miami Lakes.
It is situated in a plaza, next to a dentist’s office and a laundry mat. It might seem like an unusual place for this hidden gem, but that makes it even more special.
Managed by Colombian owners Orlando Mosquera and Ivan Duque, they have tried to keep everything as authentic as they can. Raspaos first started as a restaurant serving only Cholados, Raspaos, fruit juices and fruit salads. It opened its first location in Kendall in August 2003 and since then, Raspaos has expanded its menu and to a new location in Miami Lakes.
As for its location, do not be dismayed by its tight spaces. Even though there are only four small dining tables, there are stools in a bar-like setting that are able to seat around 10 people. There are also seats outside in the front of the restaurant, a typical tradition seen in Colombia.
The décor of the restaurant is somewhat tropical, with small palm trees by the entrance and bright colors. There are also small televisions that usually have a soccer game playing.
If the décor and the small moving space make anybody question as to why he or she stepped foot into Raspaos, the food will be the answer needed to remove that doubt.
The menu includes different popular foods from the different regions of Colombia. But it all depends on what a person might be in the mood to eat.
If they are in the mood for something to eat on the go, a beef empanada is the route to take. With its dough fried to a golden brown and the right amount of crisp and flakiness, the well-seasoned beef almost comes as a surprise as one takes a bite out of it. The best thing about it is that it only takes about five minutes to make.
If it’s around lunchtime, make sure to get Raspaos’ raved about Hamburguesa Ranchera. The Hamburguesa Ranchera is not like any regular burger. It has its basics, such as green crisp romaine lettuce, ripe thick sliced tomatoes, onions and fresh sesame seed buns. What makes it unique is its juicy pieces of bacon, crispy fries, pineapple sauce and salsa rosada, which is a mix of ketchup with mayonnaise.
Accompany this burger wrapped in an aluminum foil with one of their jugos naturales. These are juices made of nothing but fruits and a person’s choice of water or milk.
If a person wants the juice to be thick and frothy, go with the milk. Choosing water will make the juice lighter in consistency and more refreshing.
There is a variety of fruits such as naranjilla, orange, mango and blackberry. But the favorite seems to be made of mandarin.
Be prepared by coming with an empty stomach because it will definitely leave you satisfied for the rest of the day. Not only does it satisfy hunger, but also it satisfies a person’s pockets. With the Hamburguesa Ranchera being only five dollars and the juice being $2.50, there is no need to spend more than $10 on lunch at Raspaos.
If it is around dinnertime, there are different choices. But the Colombian favorite seems to be Sancocho de Gallina. This is basically a chicken soup, but the way it is prepared is slightly different from the usual chicken soup.
This soup is done in a very big pot, where different ingredients are added while it is cooking. The sanchocho includes sweet corn on the cob cut in sections, chicken, sweet plantains, potatoes, yams and cilantro sprinkled on top.
The soups are all served with a side of white rice, half-sliced limes, and hot sauce. For a little extra more, a side of avocado adds to the different flavors of this soup.
When it is dessert time, make sure to leave space for a Raspao. A Raspao is a mix of ice cream mixed with fresh cut fruits. This makes it ideal for the year-round hot days in Miami.
If going to Raspaos turns into a regular event, it is likely to become friends with the friendly employees that are there to help you choose a meal. They all do it with a friendly hello and a smile. With their variety of Colombian meals, there is something for everybody and a plan to make it back for another Raspao.
- Raspaos-Miami Lakes
- 18640 N.W. 67th Ave.
- Miami Lakes, Fla. 33015
- 12536 S.W. 88th St.
- Miami (Kendall), Fla. 33186