Even though Hispanic + Latinx Heritage Month may be over, that doesn’t mean we can’t continue to enjoy Latin food. And let’s face it, there is nothing better than a warm basket of chips paired with salsa before a meal. Whether we’re talking pupusas, arepas, empanadas, yuca frita, or sizzling fajitas, there are so many delicious ways to enjoy Latin cuisine. We’re so lucky to have great options in the North Jersey area — and lucky for you, we’ve rounded up some of the best Latin food venues for you to try out. Read on for a guide to Latin cuisine in Essex County and beyond.
Benji’s Taqueria Mexican Grill | 14 Main Street, West Orange + 408 Bloomfield Avenue, Caldwell
Benji’s Taqueria Mexican Grill serves flavorful quesadillas, tortas, burritos, and tacos, full of cheese, chicken, and chorizo. It also offers agua frescas and Mexican bottled soda as well as flan, tres leches, and churros. We suggest ordering the chorizo tacos with a size of rice + beans.
Bodeguita Deli | 81 James Street, Bloomfield
(Photo credit: @bodeguitadeli)
Bodeguita Deli, one of Bloomfield’s hidden gems, is a Cuban-style classic corner deli. The spot has all-day breakfast, salads, burgers, wings, sandwiches, pizza, empanadas, and more. In addition to prepared food, Bodeguita is also a convenience store. We suggest ordering the Cuban pork tamal with a side of chicken soup.
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Cuban Pete’s | 428 Bloomfield Avenue, Montclair
Think vacation in Havana: salsa music playing, palm trees lining the walls, live performances, vibrant colors, and authentic Cuban food. The outdoor dining area here will transport you to a tropical oasis. Bring a dry wine or rum, and Cuban Pete’s has all the sangria and mojito mixers anyone could want. Here, you get the bang for your buck with large portions and affordable prices. Known for the tapas, opt for the empanadas, garlic shrimp, chicharron de Pollo (crispy chicken lollipops with mojo sauce), masitas de Puerco (bite-size crispy pork), platanos Rellenos (stuffed plantain with ground beef and white cheese), or the hazelnut-stuffed goat cheese fritters with a sweet honey vinaigrette.
Cubita Cafe | 234 Franklin Avenue, Nutley
(Photo credit: @cubitacafenj)
Nutley’s Cubita Cafe is a Latin eatery offering coffee, tea, antojitos, sandwiches, empanadas, desserts, and more. It also has student specials. We suggest ordering the Cuban dawg, which is a hotdog with ham, Swiss, pickle relish, and guava mustard. Pair your sandwich with one of their antojitos, which are little bites.
Deleite Mixto Restaurant + Deli | 20 Passaic Avenue, Fairfield
(Photo credit: @deleitemixto)
Deleite Mixto is a Dominican restaurant serving up a delicious assortment of Latin American pasta, sandwiches, and entrees. Breakfast options include pancakes, omelets, and scrambled eggs. When it’s time for lunch and dinner, you can choose from so much more. In the mood for empanadas? It has them. Want a side of tostones? It has that too. Of course, you’ll have to pair that with one of the natural juices.
Empanada Lady | 20 Grove Avenue, Verona
(Photo credit: @cyndieempanadalady)
If you are looking for crunchy and crispy empanadas, then the Empanada Lady in Verona is your answer. Stop by and grab three empanadas for just $12.50. There are savory options like BBQ pulled chicken, spinach + feta, and pizza, as well as sweet flavors like strawberry Nutella and apple pie. Check out their rotating daily specials which come in a small or large options. We suggest ordering their House Special as it comes with two empanadas and your choice of sides.
Guanaticos Restaurant | 261 Irvington Avenue, South Orange
Guanaticos Restaurant specializes in traditional Costa Rican cuisine as well as that of Central America. It offers empanadas, huevos rancheros, salad, soup, and numerous seafood and steak dishes. We suggest ordering the Arroz con Camarones with a side of sopa de res, or beef soup.
Jose Tejas | 647 US Highway 46 West, Fairfield + 700 US Highway 1, Iselin
Since 1996, Jose Tejas has been serving Mexican food and drinks to the Fairfield area. When seated, the team serves you warm chips and salsa that you can keep refilling throughout the meal. Their menu includes pastelitos, quesadillas, fajitas, enchiladas, tacos, jambalaya, and empanadas. We suggest ordering the chicken quesadilla because it is just so good and it comes with sour cream, lettuce, and salsa. You also can’t miss with the fajitas — which come out on a sizzling skillet with warm tortillas and lots of fresh toppings. While not in Essex County, there’s also a location in Woodbridge Township.
La Celeste Bakery + Restaurant | 292 Main Street, West Orange
(Photo credit: @lacelestebakerynj)
La Celeste Bakery & Restaurant is serving up pastries, pies, coffee, and more inspired by Uruguayan, French, and Italian cuisine. Open six days a week and located near West Orange’s historic Tory Corner, this venue is perfect for those who love the Main Street area. In addition to their custom made cakes, it also serves bizcochos, alfajores, torta frita, croissants, and more.
La Villa Mexican + Salvadoran Food | 261 Irvington Avenue, South Orange
La Villa Mexican and Salvadoran Food in South Orange serves Mexican and Salvadoran cuisine such as tostados, empanadas, and pupusas. The venue has indoor and outdoor seating and is open every day of the week except Sundays. When you dine, we suggest ordering the Pollo Asado and paring it with a side of platano frito.
Miti Miti Latin Street Food | 10 Sloan Street, South Orange
(Photo credit: @mitimitinj)
Located in downtown South Orange, Miti Miti is serving up authentic Latin Street food for all. Breakfast is offered from 8AM until noon with options of tacos, empanadas, avocado toast, huevos rancheros, and more. Lunch and dinner options include salads, arepas, empanadas, quesadillas, soups, ceviche, dessert, and such. We suggest ordering the arepa de choclo and top it with chorizo and guacamole.
Noches de Colombia | 19 Elm Street, Montclair + Various North Jersey Locations
Noches de Colombia serves Colombian baked goods, seafood, sandwiches, soups, and more. Delicious baked goods include their pandebonos, empanadas, arepas de choclo, and pasteles de espinaca. Dishes such as their arroz con camarones, Pollo salteado, avocado salad, and crunchy arepa con Pollo are available for dine-in, take-out, or delivery. This venue is perfect for large groups and for catered events.
Pepe’s BBQ | 977 Pleasant Valley Way, West Orange
(Photo credit: @pepes.bbq)
Pepe’s BBQ is an authentic Peruvian restaurant offering traditional dishes and barbecue favorites. If you are feeling like Peruvian specialties, then check out the lomo saltado or Arroz chaufa. If you are looking for something off the grill, check out their porterhouse steak, beef ribs, or fried fish sandwich. These flavorful dishes are perfect to pair with a side of yellow rice, yuca frita, or sweet plantains.
Puebla de Noche | 6 Park Street, Montclair
This more recent restaurant opened during the pandemic and serves authentic Mexican bites plus a rotating cast of seasonal menu items to try. From guacamole to flautas, barritos, tacos, and enchiladas, you really can’t go wrong here. Plus, it’s BYOB — and the team will make horchata from the alcohol you bring.
Restaurante Salvadoreno Las Canastillas | 326 Broad Street, Newark
Newark’s Restaurante Salvadoreno Las Canastillas has been serving authentic Salvadoran food for nearly three decades. They serve pupusas, fajitas, rice, chicken dishes, seafood dishes, salads, and more. Their drink menu includes numerous beers and a variety of cocktails such as Pina Coladas, mojitos, and sangria.
Rombiolo Bakery Cafe | 119 Broughton Avenue, Bloomfield
(Photo credit: @rombiolobakerycafe)
Open six days a week, this Argentine bakery in Bloomfield is serving up pastries, cookies, and bread. The spot serves chaja, pastafrola, bizcochos, and more. The smell of their warm baked goods and their decorative walls create an inviting feeling for all. We suggest ordering an alfajor, a sweet pastry made of flour, honey, and nuts, and pairing it with a cappuccino.
Sabor de mi Tierra | 640 Bloomfield Avenue, Verona
Colombian Restaurant, Sabor de mi Tierra opened up in Downtown Verona earlier this year and has already become an area favorite. Their menu includes photos of all their main dishes allowing you to get a full picture of what you are ordering before you do. They have plentiful meat, seafood, and chicken dishes with several sides. We suggest ordering shrimp ceviche with a side of sauteed mini corn cakes and one of the numerous natural juices.
Sabor Peru | 373 Bloomfield Avenue, Caldwell
(Photo credit: @saborperunj)
In downtown Caldwell, Sabor Peru is serving up amazing flavors and experiences for all their guests. With an incredible interior and hospitable service, this Peruvian restaurant will almost transport you to the Andes. This is a great spot if you are looking for somewhere to host a baby shower or wedding anniversary. Their menu includes dishes such as tallarines, tacu tacu, calamar, jalea, and apanados. We suggest trying the bistec a lo pobre, a grilled steak topped with eggs, rice, beans, French fries, sweet bananas, and salsa criollo.
Saveur Creole | 131 Grove Avenue, Montclair
Saveur Creole is a Haitian restaurant in Montclair serving up bold and vibrant flavors. You can enjoy lambi bouki, mambo gumbo, or conch creole, either inside or outside. We suggest ordering the Trini chicken, which is chicken breast sautéed in coconut curry sauce, and pairing it with a side of basmati rice.
Samba | 7 Park Street, Montclair
Samba is a fully gluten-free Brazilian restaurant in downtown Montclair. Here, traditional Brazilian cuisine is served in a stylish space with vintage pots, antique decor, and lavish plants. From brunch to lunch to dinner, the menu is filled with fresh fruits, flavorful meat, and warm bread. We suggest starting the meal off with an order of the salgadinhos sortidos, this appetizer includes three pastries each filled with chicken, cheese, and meat and a dipping sauce. After that, it’s up to you to decide what to get.
Scratch Taco | 147 Maplewood Avenue, Maplewood
(Photo credit: @scratchtaco)
Scratch Taco is serving up exciting flavors at its Maplewood location. Its creative chefs from Ecuador, Cuba, and Mexico inspire all the dishes with elements from their homeland, but also add a twist. They offer classics like tacos, empanadas, and burritos. Their taco of the month is a Buffalo Chicken taco which includes Buffalo chicken, house ranch, and pickles. Last October, the spot featured a Mac the Ripper taco — which included a hotdog, ketchup, and mac + cheese.
Sweets + Cortaditos | 138 Washington Avenue, Belleville
(Photo credit: @sweetscortaditos)
For over a decade, Sweets + Cortaditos has been serving Cuban goods such as pastelillos, empanadas, cake, and sandwiches. We suggest ordering the guava and cheese empanada and a ham croquette, and of course, you’ll also have to order one of the coffees here.
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Taino’s Kitchen | 849 Mount Prospect Avenue, Newark
Tainos Kitchen is a restaurant serving Caribbean and Puerto Rican cuisine in Newark. The spot has many chicken, seafood, and pork dishes as well as empanadas, salads, and sandwiches. We suggest ordering mofongos de Pollo, a Puerto Rican dish made of boiled or roasted plantains mashed together with spices and oil.
Yelta’s Restaurant + Deli | 342 Pompton Avenue, Cedar Grove
Open six days a week, Yetlas is a takeout and dine-in Mexican restaurant + deli in Cedar Grove. The colorful interior and inviting staff add to the experience. The spot serves up sandwiches, tacos, burritos, burgers, fajitas, drinks, and desserts. We suggest ordering the tacos, which come with lime, radish, and dipping sauces, and are offered in chicken, chorizo, fried pork, marinated pork, vegetable, and beef tongue options.