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6 Standout Latin Restaurants in Westchester to Tempt Your Taste Buds

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Photo by Adobe Stock | paul_brighton

From Cuban and Puerto Rican to Peruvian and modern fusion, here’s where to find the top six Latin restaurants in Westchester County.

Cuban

La Bella Havana is full of endless surprises. This Latin restaurant staple, situated in downtown Yonkers, has been providing a classic Cuban dining experience since opening its doors in 2011. The food is no-frills authentic and a visual treat, beautifully displayed and teeming with vibrant colors. For an appetizer, the yuca balls stuffed with cheese and Cuban picadillo (lean ground beef hash with olives, peppers, and raisins) are sure to make your mouth water. Main courses include the Cuban sandwich (a past Best of Westchester awardee), which is loaded with the classic pork, ham, Swiss cheese, and pickles; a hearty shredded-beef stew (known as ropa vieja, or “old clothes”); and garlic-marinated pollo Cubano. The camarones en coco, coconut shrimp glazed in a delectable orange sauce, are not to be missed. Dulce de leche cortada, or sweetened caramel milk curd, provides a sweet taste of the motherland. Try the salads, which are always fresh, from the traditional Caesar to an unconventional calamari loaded with mango, pomegranate, cashews, and sweet peppers. Yet another twist is the Havana Hookah Lounge, ideal for a laid-back night out with pals.

The Cube Inn in Tarrytown is the new kid on the block, having established itself as a hot spot for Cuban food (hence the name) in 2019. The Latin restaurant itself is an aesthetic delight with dangling light fixtures and exposed brick walls lined with framed artwork. Its location along bustling Main Street is great for people watching, too. Prepare to be blown away by the food. The vegetable empanadas are always warm and crispy, with a variety of fillings, from picadillo beef and fricassee chicken for the meat lovers to sofrito or guayaba cheese for everyone else. The chicken wings are served with a zippy mojo sauce, and signature sandwiches are the go-to, with names like “El Cubano” (marinated pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, and yellow mustard) and “Chicken 1959” (a succulent marinated grilled chicken breast with lettuce, tomato, avocado, and garlic aioli), all served on flaky Cuban bread. We also recommend the burger (a classic done right) and the wings (served with spicy guava and classic mojo, mild or spicy). However, the real star is the flan, which is made by abuela in an apartment above the restaurant.

 

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Fusion 

Port Chester’s Sonora is guaranteed to make you feel at home. There’s an understated elegance to the dim lighting and spotless white tablecloths. Get ready to jet across the globe for a taste of modern Latin fusion, which is broken down by country. Everywhere you look, there is a new twist to behold. Flaky vegetable empanadas are taken up a notch with a delectable chocolate vinaigrette. Arugula salad with toasted almonds, beets, and goat cheese is drizzled with a refreshing balsamic citrus dressing. Different countries offer their own unique cuisine, though it is all reinvented. Mexican shrimp and sea scallops are served in a delectable Chardonnay with sweet corn and chipotle sauce, all this atop black bean and Monterey Jack ravioli. Then it’s off to Colombia, where the chicken relleno is stuffed with sweet plantain, chorizo, and goat cheese. Perhaps you’re interested in brunch; get some plates to share – and broaden your horizons in the process – with the goat cheese croquettes drizzled with guava sauce from Spain, the duck confit quesadilla from Mexico, or the indisputably made-in-the-USA “Tacos de Squash” loaded with roasted butternut squash, kale, sweet plantain, black beans, goat cheese, and tomatillo pico de gallo.

 

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Mexican

Opened in 2011 along the Byram River, Port Chester’s bartaco provides a great backdrop for a night with friends or colleagues. Patio-style benches are stacked with pillows for you to lounge about while sipping flights of tequila. Don’t let its laid-back nature fool you, however — there is serious food coming out of the kitchen, complemented by destination-worthy drinks. Get ready for some wild tacos like falafel (herbed chickpea fritter with traditional Greek-style tzatziki and sriracha), or sesame ribeye (sweet sesame-soy glaze marinade with spicy kimchi). The fried oyster taco is one of the best, and we also recommend the Baja fish: spicy tempura-battered cod with chipotle slaw. An unexpected item are the brown rice bowls, which are topped with pork belly, mushroom with queso fresco, and more. Not to be forgotten are the drinks: This place makes a killer margarita (with Libelula Joven tequila, Combier Liquer d’Orange, agave syrup, and fresh lime juice) and a “Caipirinha sanguina” with seasonal oranges and limes. Try “Smoke on the Water,” a Banhez mezcal with Cappelletti aperitivo, watermelon, lemon, and mint.

 

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Peruvian

Quenas Restaurant, described by locals as “the gem of Harrison,” offers authentic Peruvian food against a beautifully delicate atmosphere. Be sure to request outdoor seating, which is elevated after dark with strings of twinkling lights. While you’re sure to find plenty of Peruvian classics, Quenas prides itself on pushing the envelope and doing things a little differently. You can find the traditional lomo saltado, a beef stir-fry, or a number of Chinese-Peruvian dishes, colloquially known as “chifa.” The lo-mein-like tallarín boasts of two varieties: verde con carne (spaghetti in homemade sauce with basil, spinach, and fresh cheese, served with steak) and saltado de carne (spaghetti in soy sauce with beef, onions, peppers, and tomatoes). Have a taste of the delicate pescado en salsa de mariscos o camarones, grilled fish and shrimp in a yellow cream sauce made with garlic and a non-spicy Peruvian pepper, or the mixed ceviche in a cocktail cup, whose marinade (leche de tigre or tiger’s milk) also serves as a hangover cure. Appetizers include chupe (Peruvian shrimp chowder) and beef-heart kebab. Be sure to save room for dessert, especially the yellow squash and sweet-potato fritters drizzled with honey and served with a scoop of tropical ice cream that is famous at this Latin restaurant.

 

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Puerto Rican

You’ve never experienced anything quite like Latin restaurant Don Coqui. The White Plains eatery offers heaping plates of traditional Puerto Rican food by day and transforms to a hopping nightclub after dark. Dance music plays around the clock, but the party doesn’t stop at the ambience — the food is just as much of a celebration. Don Coqui is known for its braised oxtail, slow-roasted pernil (pork), and paella, which arrives in a wonderfully presented heap of shrimp, clams, mussels, calamari, chicken, and chunks of chorizo, topped with a half-lobster above vegetable-filled rice. Bottomless sangrias and mimosas are offered as part of “Brunch and Bubbly,” which is $45 per person on Saturdays and Sundays. Plantains abound during brunch: crispy montaditos (green plantains) and mofongo (a pickled and fried mash) are served with your choice of meat. Come nighttime, indulge in bottle service and dance to salsa and merengue while sipping on frozen drinks (which come in an assortment of flavors, from strawberry daiquiri to pina colada), or one of the punchy and brightly colored “famous cocktails.”

 

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Read More: Here’s Where to Find the Most Flavorful Mexican Food in Westchester


 

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