Hispanic cultures and flavors have flourished in Central Florida over the past twenty years. A delicious example of that explosion is Pio Pio Latin Cuisine, which specializes in pollo a la brasa or rotisserie chicken. Meat lovers aren’t left out in the cold either because Pio Pio also has grilled steak, pork belly, and even frankfurters. This Colombian and Peruvian restaurant is located in the same plaza as a Colombian bakery and an authentic Thai restaurant on the corner of South Semoran Boulevard and Michigan Street near the Orlando International Airport.
Pio Pio are rock stars on busy weekdays and accommodate take-out orders, so I ordered a sandwich de bistec en pan cubano with a side of yucca con mojo; a steak sandwich with a side of cassava. The bread — a super-important component to any Cuban sandwich — was soft, satisfyingly thick, and brought back memories of early morning breakfasts where family and friends had pan cubano with a frothy café con leche. The steak was a Colombian style skirt steak fresh off the grill sliced in strips with savory blackened bits along the edges. A healthy helping of melted cheese, roasted onions, and fresh lettuce and tomato cut through the savory, seasoned skirt steak.
The two sauces included with my lunch took me by surprise in the best of ways! I’m a sauce queen at home, so when both of these small containers rolled out of my take-out bag I could almost hear my taste buds shout a quick “huzzah!” The white sauce was a mild creamy garlic sauce. The yellow sauce wasn’t Cute Spicy, it was Red Alert Spicy! Both sauces went well with the sandwich, but the yellow sauce was my new dipping sauce every other bite.
If South Semoran Boulevard is a bit far, there are two other Pio Pio locations in the Central Florida area; one on International Drive and another on South Orange Blossom Trail. My Puerto Rican mom speaks highly about the Pio Pio Restaurant on International Drive and Kirkman Road. Either way, this local collective of restaurants knows how to keep their Hispanic fare authentic and flavorful.
*The Kit Mango juice was from the Columbian bakery next door, Cafe de Columbia.
T: (407) 207-2262