A few blocks away from the college clutter that is “downtown” New Brunswick, you’ll find the real downtown. Here, among the many Mexican restaurants and delis, you’ll now find La Frontera, a Colombian/Venezuelan bakery and restaurant.
La Frontera Bakery
87 Remsen Ave
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
The owner, Eddie, is of Colombian and Venezuelan descent and therefore explains the serving of items from both countries (that and the cuisine of Colombian/Venezuela share similarities due to the countries being neighbors, and thus the name “La Frontera” meaning “The border”).
Venezuelan items being served could also be due to that Venezuelan snack / lunch items are incredibly popular and DELICIOUS.
Besides the fact that Colombian / Venezuelan restaurants like this are few and far between in the area, La Frontera happens to be phenomenal at that!
La Frontera offer various daily specials, but their regular menu is extremely thorough and an accurate demonstration of lunch items in Colombia and Venezuela, with favorites such as arepas (stuffed corn cakes with various fillings), pepitos (popular Venezuelan sandwich), patacones (description below), and more.
The bakery and snack section includes items such as Venezuelan and Colombian-style empanadas, almojabanas, pan de queso, pan de yuca, masitas (stuffed cheese bread), papa rellena (deep-fried mashed potato balls with meat), buñuelos (fried dough balls) and more.
For larger plates, they carry typical Colombian and Venezuelan dishes as well, such as the respective national dishes, the bandeja paisa and the pabellon criollo and more.
Some of my favorite items are as follows:
Levantamuerto - the soup to raise the dead. This is the house especially, and is only served on weekends due to its intense preparation. It doubles as both a surprisingly hearty and healthy soup filled with corn, beef, potatoes, and various tubers. It is most similar to the sancocho or the ajiaco of Bogota.
Pan de bono - the famous Colombian cheese bread. Here, it is prepared perfectly, with just the right amount of sweetness and salty, a perfect crust and bake. They sell quickly at La Frontera rightfully so come early Make sure to ask for them to be served warm for the best result and a gooey cheesy center.
Patacon pisao - A relatively recent culinary creation from Venezuela. The Patacon is a sandwich where the bread is twice fried plantains (tostones), and is filled with shredded meat, cheese, and a variety of sauces. La Frontera makes an incredible patacon, with the plantains fried perfectly.
Arepa pabellon - Stuffed arepa, either in the style of grilled (plancha) or fried (fried is known as arepita or arepa frita), filled with shredded beef, cheese, plantains, avocado… what more is there to say.
Don’t forget to try their sauces. They have a pink sauce (similar to a thousand island), green (akin to a cilantro mayo), and hot sauce (which is more tangy than spicy but very delicious).
As one would expect their beverages are impressive as well with delicious Colombian coffee, various sodas, and even fruit smoothies for warmer days made with Colombian fruit like lulo and guanabana.
The owner, Eddie is very personable and truly cares about creating and sharing a delicious meal with you. If you have any questions, he’s more than happy to explain dishes or make recommendations based on what they have available.
The interior is inviting and homey, decorated with stylings and memories of Colombia and Venezuela, and there are several counter spots and tables to sit at.
This is the PERFECT place to go for breakfast or lunch, especially on the weekends! I’m not joking - don’t miss out!