A smallish Colombian restaurant, La Maria is a cheerful place, all earth-tone tiles and travel posters. The locals stop in for batidos
, Colombian milk shakes made with guanabana, passion fruit or the purple Andean berry called mora
; for avocado omelets in the mornings, and for bowls of mondongo
, a nourishing tripe soup, on the mornings after. What you probably come to a Colombian restaurant for is grilled steak, and La Maria has it in various guises - the relatively simple carne asada served with fried bananas and arepas
; the bistek a caballo
, served underneath a runny fried egg; or the classic bandeja
, Colombia's national combination plate. The beer is cold, the constant salsa music hot. When you look out of the picture window, over the auto-body shops and out to the low, bare foothills of the Verdugos, it can seem as if you are in another place altogether, if not in Medellín then at least in Tucson. Recommended dishes: arepa con queso
. Limited lot parking. See full review.