The popular buzz drew us in and the empanadas will keep us coming back. Mi Carreta Restaurant and Bakery has been a popular go-to recommendation for Colombian food in our St. Petersburg Foodies Restaurant Reviews Facebook group. With all the hype, we decided to check it out for ourselves. Spoiler alert: It’s definitely worth the hype.
Stopping by this hole in the wall gem for heavenly baked goods and meaty meals is the norm for regulars. Whether you’re searching for a more traditional beef or chicken empanada, addicting croissants, or wildly rich meats, you can enjoy it all in one place at Mi Carreta Restaurant and Bakery.
I did find it a little difficult to order at first because the menu is mostly in Spanish and I didn’t know what each menu item was but after a little Google translation, Google searching images and descriptions for each item, I managed to place two wonderful hearty orders. I honestly cannot wait to try more of their food even though I’m still full from what I’ve had already.
To start with dessert is only right. The baked goods at Mi Carreta are unmatched and make for a great treat.
Starting from the top left and circling clockwise around the plate we have, two almojabanas, one chicken and one beef empanada, one bunuelos cheese ball, one guayaba and queso, and two croissants.
The almojabanas were soft, moist and very satisfying for how simple they are. An almojabana is just bread with cheese and corn flour but there is something spectacular and addicting here.
You already know I have major heart eyes for the empanadas. They are small, but mighty. The shredded mixture of chicken in one and beef in the other were so flavorful and paired nicely with the crisp corn crust. If you visit Mi Carreta, do yourself a favor and order a few of these.
The overall experience with the bunuelos cheese ball was interesting and unexpected. They’re crispy on the outside, and soft and cheesy on the inside. I mean like, really soft. It reminded me of a donut but more on the savory side with just a little sweetness to it.
The guayaba and queso pastry is the sweet treat I was looking for. The guava paste elevates the entire pastry and keeps you wanting more and pairs so perfectly with the melted cheese. I’d recommend warming this up before indulging to experience all the ooey gooey goodness.
Finally, the fresh croissants found a special place in my heart. These were my favorite as they were so buttery, perfectly flaky and amazing. Plus, they’re huge and very filling. Doesn’t a freshly baked croissant and coffee sound ideal right now? Mi Carreta Bakery is my new go-to spot for a Saturday morning treat.
Last but not least, the giant chocolate chip cookie caught my eye of course and I had to order it on the way out. I am so glad that I did. The thick doughiness and huge chocolate chips took this simple dessert to the next level. The soft middle is encased in a perfectly crisp and golden exterior. You can tell within one bite that this bakery knows what they’re doing. I mean, this was seriously one of the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever had and that says a lot.
Now that I’ve reeled you in with the sweet stuff, let’s talk about the restaurant dishes I tried.
The Mi Carreta Platter is from the breakfast menu and is described on the menu as: calentado de arroz y frijol huevos pericos y arepa con queso y carne asada. Google Translate: warmed up with rice and beans, pericos eggs and arepa with cheese and roasted meat.
This platter bursts with flavors. I especially loved getting a bite of the scrambled eggs and carne asada together. The rice and beans are out of this world phenomonel. I’m not sure what they do to make them so addicting, but trust me, they’re just so dang good.
The tostones are a staple. They’re overall sweet, with a carmalized outside and warmness on the inside. They’re irresistible and nearly melt in your mouth.
These are the biggest yuca fries I’ve ever seen. They were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. They’re a pretty safe thing to order if you’re looking for a simple side. They’ll quickly fill you up.
I had high hopes for the chicharron con arepa after seeing so many reviews on it but honestly, I didn’t love it. I’m pretty sad about it, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it. The chicharron was very crispy on the outside and super, super fatty on the inside. I think if you really love fried pork belly and can stomach the fattiness, then you’d probably love these.
The Bandeja Mi Carreta is another popular platter that many have raved about. I can taste why. This platter includes grilled chicken breast, blood sausage, fried egg, pork skin, avocado, fried plantains, corn cake, rice and beans.
Overall, this dish was huge, filling, very tasty and beyond delicious. My favorite parts were the perfectly savory blood sausage, the thin yet outstandingly juicy grilled chicken, the crispy fried plantains and of course, the rice and beans. The pork was just too fatty for my liking but man I really wish I liked it. I thought the fried egg was an interesting addition but it was actually very good when cut up with the sausage and some rice and beans.
My overall experience here was great. I wish I knew more Spanish to really understand the menu and try new things, but I will definitely be back to explore more. I’d have to say, this review pushed me out of my comfort zone a bit because I haven’t been introduced to Colombian cuisine until this time. I’m looking forward to trying more of the items offered here and especially going back for the baked goods.
Unassuming Colombian bakery & full-service restaurant providing traditional eats.