Robyn Lane

Robyn Lane

Robyn Lane

I have been in love with all kinds of Latin American cuisine for as long as I can remember. I especially love Cuban food. My love for authentic Cuban cuisine started about 17 or 18 years ago in Miami.

My husband wanted to visit old friends who lived in Florida, so we jumped on a plane with no real plans other than to visit these people and eventually wound up in Little Havana.

According to Google: Little Havana is Miami’s vibrant Cuban heart, with Latin American art galleries and busy restaurants. Cafes with walk-up windows sell Cuban coffee to cigar-smoking patrons. On Calle Ocho (SW 8th Street), locals discuss politics over dominoes at Maximo Gomez Park, dubbed Domino Park by locals. The historic Tower Theater screens independent and revival films, while the area’s clubs host live Latin music

What we found was an incredible food heaven I never imagined existed.

In the 9 or 10 days we spent in Miami and the surrounding areas, we found the most amazing Cuban food, drinks, and sweet treats.

We ate at so many different places, each one better than the one before.

We visited restaurants, food stands, sandwich shops, bakeries, bars, galleries, cigar shops, and spent time in Maximo Gomez Park sipping our Cuban coffee, and enjoying the culture and the wonderful people.

I am very interested in learning more about all kinds of Latin American cuisine so I can shine the spotlight on some great restaurants here in the Garden state.

I went to the foodie folks on several food pages to ask them where they go to eat all types of multi-cultural dishes. I want to include as many sub regions and cultural influences as possible. Cuban, Colombian, Puerto Rican, Mexican, Argentinian, Dominican, Portuguese, Peruvian, Salvadoran…etc.

I received hundreds of suggestions from people all over New Jersey. It took me a long time to sift through these amazing suggestions, it was actually fun to do the research.

I appreciate everyone going out of their way to turn me on to places too numerous to mention in one article. This may have to be a 3 or 4 part series.

If you want to contribute your suggestion to Part 2 of this journey, please feel free to email me at: [email protected]

Let’s take a look at some of New Jersey’s favorite Latin American restaurants, delis, and other eateries.

  • Jaimito's - 389 Lexington Ave, Clifton, NJ 07011

    Mad Max told me to hit up Jaimito’s and Lou P. mentioned this place a few years ago and found that they serve Chifa style food which is Chinese – Peruvian cuisine.
    Jaimito's Sign

    According to Wikipedia, Chifa is Chinese Peruvian culinary tradition based on Cantonese elements fused with traditional Peruvian ingredients and traditions. The term is also used to refer to restaurants that serve the chifa cuisine.

    Though originating in Peru, the Chifa tradition has spread to neighboring countries like Ecuador, Chile, and Bolivia through increased Chinese immigration.

    Lou wrote: “One of my favorite spots for Peruvian food! Arroz Chaufa, Papa a la Huancaina , yuca and wontons!”

    I took a look at the menu and made a metal note to try the Pato (Duck) Asado, and the Pollo y Camarones (Chicken & Shrimp). I’m loving this journey.

  • Mango's Cafe - : 200 Larchmont Blvd, Mt Laurel Township, NJ 08054

    Down in South Jersey, Nino B suggested we head to this place for delicious Peruvian food. I have had Peruvian rotisserie chicken, also known as pollo a la brassa, and it was a flavor explosion. I need to try this place.

     

     

     

  • Tumi Peruvian Restaurant - 600 Bayway Ave, Elizabeth. New Jersey, 07202

    Jenna C. described this place as an excellent choice for Peruvian food. On their website: Our goal at Tumi is to make the best rotisserie chicken you ever had. We do this by using local, fresh, wholesome ingredients. From the chicken we cook to the fries we serve them with – your best chicken is our priority. 

    If you live in Monmouth or Ocean County, there’s Tumi 2 Go at 1013 Route 35 in Ocean Twp. located inside International Bites.

  • Latino Flavor Grille - 31 N Main St, Manahawkin, NJ 08050

    Thanks to Pam D. and Catherine L. for letting me know there’s a place 30 minutes from my home that offers a diverse selection of Latin American and Caribbean dishes. Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Argentinian, Brazilian, and Columbian dishes are on the menu and I’m making plans to head over there soon.

    Enchiladas, Caribbean Jerk Chicken, Ropa Vieja, Pernil,  Steak Chimichurri, and more.

     

     

     

  • Tango Steak - 35 Moonachie Rd, Moonachie, NJ 07074

    Christina R. is the daughter of an Argentinian immigrant, so we can trust her to suggest a place with authentic Argentinian cuisine. They know how to make a great steak at this joint. I’d be going for the skirt steak with a nice green chimichurri. This place looks like it has a nice vibe, with lovely lighting and decor. and the passion fruit sangria is a hit. Happy Hour Tuesday through Friday from 4 to 7, with 1/2 off on signature cocktails.

     

  • Tierra Colombia - 5005 N Crescent Blvd, Pennsauken Township, NJ 08110

    The cover photo of this listicle was taken by Aaron C., the man who recommended Tierra Colombia. The dish in the photo is their signature dish called, Tierra Colombian – Rice, red beans, chorizo, steak, chicharron, avocado, egg. plantains, and a white corn cake over rice. 

    It’s a small place that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They have special combo plates with soup, and your choice of chicken, meat, or fish, and a choice of tostones or sweet plantains, all served with rice, beans, and salad.

    They also have your choice of over a dozen natural juices that include tamarindo, papaya, and limonada de coco. Don’t forget the tres leches cake for dessert.

  • The Bodega 856 - 5051 Westfield Ave, Pennsauken Township, NJ 08110

    This small corner store not only has items you’ll find in a convenience store, they serve hot food. This is another suggestion from Aaron C.  He loves the breakfast here, and the wings too. The classic Dominican breakfast platter is called El Dominicano – Fried salami, fried egg, queso de frier, and plantains.
    El Dominicano Platter from Bodega 856

    The chopped cheese seems to be a star sandwich here. It’s chopped beef, cheese, lettuce, tomato topped with mayo – ketchup served on a hoagie roll.  Make sure to check out their variety of empanadas.

     

     

     

  • Que Rico Restaurant - 31 George Dye Rd, Hamilton Township, NJ 08690

    Specializing in Guatemalan and other Latin American cuisine. It’s owned by the Guerra family since the Fall of 2021. They sold out of a week’s worth of food in just a few days when they first opened. This place is a big hit! Their Guatemalan version of ceviche is a closely guarded secret and is a big seller.

    Looking through their Instagram page is making me hungry. Every photo made my mouth water. The Pupusas are fabulous according to the large number of people who tipped me off about Que Rico. They have several vegetarian options here as well. Everything here is made from scratch.

    According to Perry, the Pernil is some of the best you’ll ever have.

  • Latin Diner - 1007 Memorial Dr, Asbury Park, NJ 07712

    Jersey Shore people, we are very lucky to have this fantastic new place in Asbury Park! The Latin Diner takes over the former location of Cuban Cafe.  Elena P. had a Cuban sandwich and said it was delicious.  My friend Tom stopped there about a week and a half ago and ordered a bunch of food that he enjoyed tremendously. 
    Goat stew, Pork stew, Oxtails, Bacalao Con Papas, Boliche Asado, Tostones, Empanadas  and so much more at this modern looking establishment. 

    Latin Diner- Asbury Park

    Empanadas at Latin Diner

  • Carmen's Cocina - 244 Atlantic City Blvd, Beachwood, NJ 08722

    I’ve been hearing a major buzz on this place that specializes in Puerto Rican cuisine since they opened earlier this year. I drove past it on my way to Barnegat this past Saturday, but I couldn’t stop because I had an appointment. Next time I’m stopping.

    If traditional Puerto Rican fare is what you crave, then come on by and order the Pernil, Carne Guisada, Empanadas, Pollo Frito, or some of your other favorites. This place is fast casual and everything is served in take-out containers.  Carmen’s also does catering should you need good food for your next gathering.

     

  • Samba Restaurant- A Taste of Brazil - 7 Park St, Montclair, NJ 07042

    Michael B. suggested this place along with several other Latin American eateries. Have a seat and enjoy this homestyle Brazilian food served in a stylish, rustic space with antique pots & vintage tableware. This place has a warm inviting ambiance and the portions are plentiful. The skirt steak and truffle fries platter looks incredibly appealing.

    Plenty of seafood, Gluten free and vegan options, plus the famous Brazilian cheese bread, churros filled with dulce de leche, and flan made with local organic ingredients.

     

  • El Nopalito - 47 Kings Hwy E, Haddonfield, NJ 08033

    A sense of family is what you’ll feel the moment you walk through the door of this authentic Mexican restaurant. Katia F was the first among many in the South Jersey area to call my attention to this place. Alex said the Birria Tacos are incredible. All Platillos are served with: refried beans & rice, homemade corn tortillas, Soup Of The Day or salad ,substitution of Tortilla Soup $1.

    There’s a dish called Fiesta El Nopalito that has Barbacoa (lamb) carne asada (ribeye steak), carnitas, pollo, al pastor, ensalada de nopal. Oh my goodness, I am in heaven!

     

  • El Salvadoreño - 6 White Horse Pike, Lindenwold, NJ 08021

    The first person to point me towards a restaurant that serves Salvadoran cuisine was Julissa Y. Julissa said to go here for the most authentic pupusas and advised me to order the Pupusas Revueltos at this cash only eatery. Everything is cooked to order. Julissa’s theory is, if an ethnic restaurant serves up food in a styrofoam box, it’s about to be the best meal you’ve ever had.  She claims that this theory definitely holds up with the pupusas at El Salvadoreño.

    Pupusas  El Salvadoreno

    Pupusa

     

  • Guaterico Deli - 526 S Clinton Ave, Trenton, NJ 08611

    Kaitlin H. says this place has great authentic Guatemalan cuisine. It’s a deli-restaurant where you can sit and enjoy your meal.  The menu says they serve Guatemalan food and Mexican tacos. The have a selection of tacos, tostadas, and various entrees on the menu, plus weekly specials.

    Jamie P. said, “This is the best Guatemalan restaurant in Trenton. Well run, great recipes, friendly staff, accurate, reliable, punctual orders. I recommend this place to anyone for take out. You will not be disappointed with any of the flavorful yet, well priced dishes.”

    Guate Rico menu

    https://roeblinglofts.com/portfolio/guaterico-deli/

  • Matiz Shore House - 100 Brighton Ave, Long Branch, NJ 07740

    Long Branch, New Jersey is LOADED  with places that serve an abundance of Latin American cuisine.  I should do an article strictly focusing on Long Branch eateries.  Tom F. said that I should hang in Long Branch because I can eat at several restaurants serving food from a whole bunch of different countries. I actually love that idea.

    Matiz has a gorgeous menu filled with Latin American gems like:  Tropical Shrimp Ceviche served in a martini glass, Bandeja: A Columbian Platter filled with Skirt Steak, Fried Pork Tenderloin, Chorizo, White Rice, Red beans, Sett Plantains, Arepa, Avocado, and a Fried Egg.

     

    MATIZ’s menu draws inspiration from the traditional cuisines of Costa Rica, Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Mexico and Colombia. All combined with outstanding wine, cocktails, and an inviting atmosphere.

  • Mar Belo Portuguese Restaurant - 611 Broadway, Long Branch, NJ 07740

    I love Mar Belo so much! I’ve written about them a few times because they are that good. Mar Belo is a beautiful space, with a couple of bars. The food is magnificent.

    If Portuguese and Spanish food are among your favorite cuisines, you MUST come here.

    Mar Belo has a perfectly curated menu and wine list. I have never had a meal here that I didn’t love.

    The baby octopus starter is always a must when we dine here. The steaks, seafood, duck, side dishes, and desserts are sheer perfection.

    If I had to recommend just one entree, I’d go with the PAELHA VALENCIANALobster, Shrimp, Scallops, Mussels, Calamari, Clams, Pork Chicken, and sausage cooked in Saffron Rice. The portion is huge, so there will be leftovers.

    The service is impeccable and the servers know the food, so if you have questions they can automatically answer them. I love everything about this place.

     

Sign me up for the WRAT email newsletter!

Join ClubRAT for access to all the perks delivered right to your inbox from Jersey's Concert Connection! Get exclusive presale codes for upcoming shows, the latest updates with your favorite rockers, contest info, and more.

*
*
By clicking "Subscribe" I agree to the website's terms of Service and Privacy Policy. I understand I can unsubscribe at any time.