I love Spanish food. Living in NY is great, because we have a plethora of Latin cuisine from, Dominican to Cuban, Colombian to Mexican and more. There are so many restaurants featuring delicious food of every nationality. Through the years I’ve eaten some great food. Here are some of my favorite restaurants:
Dominican Spots – Generally the best Dominican spots are in Queens. Most of the best food in general is there…besides obviously New York City, but if you want great ethnic food on the low low, go to Queens.
33-15 56th Street, Woodside (Queens), NY 11377 – (718) 565-6454
89-48 Francis Lewis Blvd, Jamaica, NY 11427
I remember my family taking food out from this restaurant often when I was younger. At that time it was known as Elena’s Restaurant and then they changed their name to Elena’s 43 and revamped themselves. They refer to the restaurant as, “The Best Spanish Food in Queens.” I don’t know about all that, but it definitely is good. I recently ordered food from them. I went with grilled chicken wings, spanish rice, and fried green plaintains and it came with a small side salad. Everything came to $15 and it was enough to feed me for several meals. I’ve never eaten at the restaurant. I’ve heard complaints about the services so I’ll just stick to ordering out. They have a plethora of meat and seafood dishes, salads, sandwiches and even offer breakfast. Their menu is generally inexpensive with their most their dishes being under $20, some even under $10. There most expensive dish being a seafood paella for $40 which I’m sure feeds more than one person. They have a large portion sizes which is nice, because you get to enjoy the meal twice 🙂
27111 Union Turnpike, New Hyde Park, NY 11040 – (718) 343-1170
At my previous job we used to order food from here often. It’s not expensive, the portions are a good size, and most importantly it’s delicious. The big con for this place is that their delivery service sucked. Even though they were down the street from our office, if we wanted it delivered we had to call well advance. Your best bet is to just pick it up yourself which is what I did. Inside the restaurant in the past was nothing glamourous, it was mostly a take out spot, but I’ve heard that they’ve redone the place so I would definitely check it out. My go-to meal there was the grilled chicken breast with yellow rice and sweet plantains. Like most Dominican meals, it comes with a small side salad. The food is very flavorful and has that authentic home cooked taste and that’s what kept us coming back for more.
86-11 Northern Blvd, Jackson Heights, NY 11372
This restaurant is actually a Dominican and Cuban fusion spot, so I put it in between my Dominican and Cuban restaurants. It honestly has been a minute since I’ve been here, but I did not forget how good it was. I had Sunday dinner one night here with a friend. The food was absolutely delicious. We started off with the yuca chips and guacamole as our appetizer which did not disappoint. The use of yuca instead of plantains was different and interesting, in a good way and they gave a generous amount of guacamole. We ordered their housemade mango sangria which came in their own signature bottle. It was delicious. For my entree, I had the arroz con pollo served with maduros. It was very good and the portion size was a big amount, which I like. My friend got the pollo en crema de ajo which is chicken in garlic sauce served with vegetables. Every night they have different themes and they have brunch too, which is always a plus for me. I have to go back sometime.
Cuban – Dale!
Cabana Nuevo Latino
10710 70th Road
Forest Hills, NY 11375
It’s been awhile since I went here, but the last experience I had here was a good one. They have 3 locations, the original one in Queens, one in Manhattan and one in Delray Beach, Florida. I’ve only been to the one in Queens, located specifically in “hard to find parking”, Forest Hills. It’s small but I’ve passed the city one and that one’s small too. I came here awhile ago with my best friend after she had looked it up. The seating is very close together. As in, you can basically hear what’s going on at the tables next to you, close. That’s my only complaint. The food is good. Their beef empanadas tasted very similar to Jamaican beef patties meaning they were delicious. I ordered the chicken and shrimp with rice and beans and my friend got the skirt steak. Our meals were very good. My friend had said San Cubano in the city is better, but this place is good enough for me especially since I live in Queens.
The Excelsior Hotel, 45 W 81st St, New York, NY 10024
First and foremost, I have to say…I love this place. I’ve been several times for its unlimited sangria brunch. I love brunch, but that’s a whole other blog post. Located on 8th Ave (hence the name) in the Excelsior hotel, the food here is good, the drinks are great. There are a plethora of housemade red and white sangria options. It is also very decently priced since you only pay for the brunch meal option and the drinks are included with that. I’ve only gone for brunch and I like that they have several options that go beyond breakfast food. The first time I went I had the Cuban sandwich served with chimichurri fries. The sandwich was flavorful. The sandwich was decent, but those fries are delicious. I’ve gone back several times. Other times I’ve gone we ordered a side of maduros (sweet plantains) and tostones (fried green plantains) with our meals which were delicious. I have also had the Torta De Pollo, a grilled chicken sandwich with caramelized peppers, cabralese cheese, bacon, chipotle mayo, on Cuban bread served with regular fries. That sandwich was amazing, full of flavor. My friend ordered the Vaca Frita, which is skirt steak, pork fried rice with avocado and fried eggs. Their brunch options are beyond the basic ones I’m used to which I love. The service here is good. The staff hooks you up well with the sangria. Definitely check this place out for brunch and even dinner if you find yourself in New York City on 8th ave, but call for reservations ahead of time. This place gets booked.
Don’t sleep on Peruvian food
84-13 Northern Blvd, Jackson Heights, NY 11372
It’s been awhile since I came to this spot, but when I did it was always a good experience. At the time I had a Chilean friend who would always talk about Pisco, a Peruvian spirit made from fermented grapes, so I found this Peruvian spot that specializes in the cocktails using pisco. We went for Cinco de Mayo. Drinks are delicious; $10+ a piece. We started with Pisco sours. We ordered the empanadas ají de gallina, (chicken empanadas) and the wantanes (wontons). The empanadas were delicious and were served with a sweet sauce. The wantanes were fried dumplings stuffed with chicken and shrimp served with a sweet and sour passion fruit dipping sauce. Very tasty. The bartender was very friendly and gave us two maracuya sours on the house. We also ordered the ceviche tasting which samples 3 different ceviches (Corvina fish, shrimp, tuna and octopus) and the salchipapas, a generous serving of sausage and french fries served with ketchup, mustard, and mayo. We also ordered the pisco punch and amaru and other drinks. Overall it was a great experience. It’s funny because there is a sign that says no dancing (most likely due to the small space), but that does not stop anybody from doing it. I went again with some more Chilean friends who were in New York from Chile. We ordered the ceviche again, which they loved. When you find people that are accustomed to food from the country you’re dining in and they approve it, then you know it’s good. Although they are Chilean, they eat a lot of Peruvian food. We got the empanadas again this time served with an olive sauce. We ordered chicken again, but have a lomo saltado one which is their meat option. They also had a vegetable one, but everytime we tried to order it they never had it. Now it is finally off the menu. No more false advertisement. This time around we also ordered the hamburgesas which offers 3 beef sliders: Criollo which has salsa and sweet potato, Hawaiian which has pineapple and manchego cheese and Mexican which has guacamole and a homemade mayo. They all were delicious. All the food here that I’ve tried has been delicious. It’s perfectly paired with the drinks. It’s a small intimate spot that serves good food and drinks and is cool to catch up with friends and hang out. Check it out. It’s in Jackson Heights, Queens though so like most Queens neighborhoods, good luck with parking.
Puerto Rican – Might be my favorite, only because I love Puerto Rico so much
28-18 31st St, Astoria, NY 11102
The portions at this place are so crazy that they have food check. That’s right you can eat, check your leftovers, and dance the night away. You definitely get your money’s worth here. They have a huge appetizer sampler that features so many good things like empanadas, fried pork, tostones, fried calamari and more. I got the paella as my entrée when I came for my birthday and went home with a tray. Yes it was such a large portion of food that it fit in a whole tray when I took the rest home. All the times I’ve eaten here has been for birthdays and we have done the prix fixe menu which is an absurd amount of food (appetizers, entrée, dessert, and a birthday dessert) that ends with a crazy bill, especially if you include drinks. It’s your best bet to order several dishes and share family style, because of the portion sizes. Eat, dance, then take tour leftovers home and eat again or just come to have drinks and dance. They have other locations, besides Queens, but never been to them, know nothing about them. They also have brunch apparently…might have to check that out.
PR-37, Carolina, 00979, Puerto Rico
Obviously for the best Puerto Rican food, you have to get it from none other than Puerto Rico. If you’re staying in San Juan, there is a high percentage you’re going to consume at least one meal here. Every time I’ve gone, I’ve had almost all my breakfasts here and my most recent visit we had dinner which was really good as well, especially for the prices. I remember the service being slow, but when you’re on vacation, you don’t really mind and that’s how it is. It’s that Island Life. It gives you more time to talk and enjoy one another’s company. Breakfast here is super cheap, but also filling and tasty. Dinner was very good as well. I had the mofongo stuffed chicken, which was amazing. Several people ordered steak and fish dishes and we ended with flan con queso which despite me not liking flan, was actually pretty good. Everybody’s meals looked delicious and they confirmed that they were. Somebody got pork chops, which I’m not a fan, but these were tender and juicy. We were smart enough to go early so we missed the dinner rush. When we left there was a whole crowd outside. Located near all the hotels, it’s a very convenient place to eat, plus it’s affordable. All our entrees including pitchers of sangria only came to about $20 a person, including tip. That’s not even realistic in New York. Definitely eat here if you’re in Puerto Rico.
Chilean – If you don’t know what a complete is, you haven’t lived
174 Rockaway Ave, Valley Stream, NY 11580 – (516) 568-0075
With two locations, one in Valley Stream, Long Island and another in Astoria, Queens (San Antonio Bakery 2), this place specializes in authentic Chilean baked goods and popular specialties. I went to the one in Valley Stream which is the original one, because I had a friend who worked there. At the time, they did not even had a sign and I never knew it existed, but now they do. I had never known about Chilean food and I was put on the right way. The most popular item is the completo, which is a giant hot dog served with tomatoes, avocado, mayo and sauerkraut. When I first came here, I had the Italiano which is the same thing minus the sauerkraut. It was pretty good and only $3.50. They also have churrasco sandwiches, baked and fried empanadas (their meat one is the empanada de pino which is baked and their queso or cheese one is fried), and a plethora of meat and seafood dishes. The food is inexpensive and everything can be made vegetarian, which my friend who was a vegetarian, loved. They even customized dishes that aren’t on the menu. I was able to order a random meal of grilled chicken, avocado, and eggs with mixed vegetables. They cater well to their customers. The Chilean empanada is different than any other one I’ve had as it is baked and filled with beef, onions, raisins, black olive s and a sliced hard boiled egg served with pebr, their homemade hot sauce. It sounds gross, but minus the olives it’s pretty good. Since it is a bakery all their bread is warm and fresh and everything is really good. Their dishes are delicious as well. I’ve had their avocado and chicken salad, ceviche, and their lomo de pobre which is steak, French fries, fried eggs and caramelized onions, but I subbed the steak for chicken. I would recommend trying this hidden gem out if you want to try something new.
I like my food like I like my coffee…Colombian
31 N. Franklin Street
Hempstead, NY 11550
This place claims to have the “Best Colombian Food on Long Island,” and honestly, they might be right. This spot lives up to the hype. Located in Hempstead, not the nicest towns, it’s not a place you would think to go to, however if you do you’ll be happy you did. It also has locations in Suffolk County in Brentwood and Patchogue, but I have never been to those. It is the epitome of the 3 most important things to me while dining out, fair prices, good portion and most importantly…tastes great. It has all these things. It has a plethora of meat and seafood dishes. Everything comes with rice and beans or French fries and their sangria is amazing. I’ve dined here with 4 people and ordered entrees and drinks and only paid 40 something dollars. We had fish, breaded chicken, rice and beans, French fries and sangria. You can’t beat that for the price. Check this spot out, you won’t regret it.
Salvadorian – my least favorite of all
92-15 149th St, Jamaica, NY 11435
First and foremost, I am not a fan of Salvadorian food. Pupusa? No thank you. Came here because I was scammed into thinking I was going to a cafe. The cafe next door is apparently linked to the same phone line? Weird. Called to ask if they were open, was told yes, and ended up scammed into eating Salvadorian food. The place is overpriced solely because the food isn’t the best, but the portions are big. My friend and I got drinks and food. They only serve beer. She went with a horchata which apparently is a popular drink and also is apparently disgusting. We both hated it and the waiter said we were the first to complain. Hope you speak spanish by the way, because the staff does not speak English. Luckily I was dining with a Spanish speaker. I got a passion fruit drink, because you can’t go wrong with what you already know. It was really sweet, but way better than the horchata. Friend got ceviche mixto which was ceviche with shrimp and imitation crab. It wasn’t terrible, but was not as good as what we’ve had before. It was served with lime and packaged crackers that. Anyway, I went with the generic grilled chicken, rice and beans, served with a corn tortilla. The food was decent. I try not to be bias and that’s why I’m mentioning them, because some people may enjoy it here.
Since empanadas are eaten all over Spain and Latin America, I did not feel like I could categorize them. So, if you want some bangin empanadas just check these spots out…
85-05 Northern Blvd, Jackson Heights, NY 11372 – (718) 505-9937
Located in several towns throughout Queens, this place is the best if you want some cheap delicious empanadas. It’s open for 24 hours, which is amazing and has so many different choices from savory to sweet. They have both corn and wheat empanadas and you have the option to have them fried or baked. Last time I went there we went all out order several baked and fried options and salty and sweet ones. For only $1 to $2 you can’t beat that. Their classics like chicken and beef are good, but they also have options like Greek (spinach, feta, and mozzarella), cheeseburger (ground beef and cheddar cheeze)and pizza (mozzarella and tomato sauce) which are all delicious. My favorite though was the guava and cheese. I have never had a sweet empanada before and this was TO DIE FOR. It was honestly an orgasm in my mouth and trust me, I don’t say things like this so…I mean it. Check out one of the locations and thank me later.
763 Ninth Ave, New York, NY 10019
After a night out in Hell’s Kitchen, I tried this place out with a few friends. The food was delicious. There are many varieties of empanadas. I started off with the Mambo Italiano (Italian sweet sausage, red and green peppers, onions and tomato sauce) and the shredded chicken (chicken cooked in a sofrito sauce) empanadas. They were both really good prompting me to get two more. The second time around I went with the cheesesteak (skirt steak with mozzarella cheese made latin style) and the chorizo (pork sausage with latin spices) empanadas. All the empanadas I had were made with wheat flour except for the chorizo which was with corn and they are all served with red and green salsas. A friend split them with me while 2 other friends went with the classic arroz con pollo served with maduros and the salsas. I tried their meals and they were so good as well. I must say I am partial, because I was intoxicated at the time, but I have no doubt in my mind that the food is just as good sober. Located right near the famous Katz’s deli this place is a great end of the night eatery with prices under $3. I would definitely go back and would recommend this place to end or begin a night out in the city.
Mexican – Who doesn’t like burritos?
4502 48th Ave, Woodside, NY 11377
This place was a random find. Located in Woodside, Queens, it is a Mexican spot that is definitely a hidden gem. I went with my friend after doing some Yelping. Westarted off with Sangria which was pretty good and chips with salsa and guacamole which was great. The food though was delicious. She ordered the chicken fajitas while I had a chicken burrito that was literally the size of my head. It was huge. The meal was more than filling and not expensive and we were shocked at how the quiet and empty the place was. I have never been back, but my friend has returned several times with her fiancé. They are vegetarians and apparently this place has amazing vegetarian options.
825 Third Avenue at 50th Street, New York, NY 10022 – 212.336.5400
This is another not really authentic Mexican restaurant. It’s more of an upscale, overpriced Manhattan take on Mexican and I never actually had an entree here, but I’m sure it’s good. I’ve gone here twice. Once with a friend after work for drinks and a light meal. We ended up getting the guacamole that came with a salsa trio and chips. We had that and some margaritas. I got the prickly pear which was really good. The second time I came for a light meal with a friend and drinks of course. My friend got the empanadas made with sweet plantains while I got the chicken taquitos. Overall, it’s a nice place. Food is flavorful so despite that we ate bird portions, I still was satisfied. It is expensive though, just for 2 very small appetizers and drinks we were charged $50, but it’s Manhattan… They have multiple locations through New York City as well as ones in Florida and , check one out if you’re there.
1177 Corporate Dr, Westbury, NY 11590
Honestly, this place isn’t even real Mexican, but the quesadilla I had here was great and their drinks are on point. If you’re on Long Island by Roosevelt Field or the Source mall go check it out. You can dine outside which we did and it’s a fun place to hang out have a margarita and stuff your face.
I love food which is obvious and I just like to let people know what’s out here and share my experiences eating good food. All of the names of the restaurants have links to their websites so try them out for yourselves.