Some of the best Latin food in the county can be found at these homey (and often inexpensive) places. Here are 21 eateries to check out.
Track down the seasonal Two Brothers Fast Food cart (Ossining) for some of the county’s best savory arepas (Venezuelan/Colombian ground corn cakes), filled with cheese, shredded beef, chicken, or ham and pineapple. Farther south, Asi Es Colombia (Port Chester) makes both the savory and sweet yellow kind.
Los Andes Bakery (Sleepy Hollow) has a pretty and abundant selection of Chilean and other Latin baked goods, many (such as chilenitos, cuchuflis) filled with dulce de leche. The tres leches cake is outstanding, topped with mountains of whipped cream.
The best Mexican desserts await at El Trigal Mexican Bakery (New Rochelle). Grab a round metal tray and a pair of tongs and head to the back, where stacks of trays higher than your head hold a seemingly endless array of churros (some of the county’s best), guava-filled donuts, and conchitas. Up front, find candied fruits and fantastic flan.
A tray of Chilean custard pastries at Los Andes
Karamba Tropical Restaurant (White Plains) is your go-to for Dominican food, including the breakfast of mangu (mashed boiled plantains), egg, fried cheese, and salami. But don’t miss the batidos, a smoothie-like drink made with fruit, milk, and sugar (get the mango)—thick and bursting with flavor. Oh—you were looking for the batidos with rum? You’ll find those at Havana Central (at Ridge Hill, sister to two others in the City).
More Karamba: Restaurant Review
Anton (Croton-on-Hudson), an American restaurant with a number of Latin specialties, makes my favorite Cuban sandwich—warm, crusty bread with just the right combination of fresh-roasted pulled pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, and chipotle mayonnaise.
Beef: Gaucho Grill’s (White Plains) flaky, semicircular, ground-beef–filled empanada, served with chimichurri, is the best of this kind I’ve tried so far. Los Andes Bakery (Sleepy Hollow) makes another—also delicious—type, which is bready and filled with stewed beef and onions, with part of a hard-boiled egg tucked in. Wash it down with Inca Kola, much like cream soda.
Chicken: Asi Es Colombia’s (Port Chester) tall, round chicken-and-vegetable empanada is almost as filled up as a chicken pot pie.
Anton (Croton-on-Hudson) specializes in this Chinese-Peruvian stir-fry with rib-eye steak, onions, and tomato seasoned with soy sauce, and you’ll also find an excellent version at the Spanish-Peruvian hybrid Patrias (New Rochelle). Deli Peruano (Port Chester) turned me on to its tasty chicken saltado (somewhat like chow mein in flavor), which came with rice and freshly cooked white beans fragrant with thyme.
Paleteria Fernandez (Port Chester, Mamaroneck) is the place to get these water- or milk-based ice pops in a panoply of flavors, such as lúcuma (a subtropical fruit native to Peru), rice pudding, pecan (with whole nuts), and pico de gallo. The Port Chester location makes a very special champurrado, spiced hot chocolate with masa.
Paletas from Paleteria Fernandez include (from top) hibiscus flower, avocado, pineapple with chamoy, and guava.
Sate your carnivorous cravings at Gaucho Grill (White Plains) with this Argentinian platter of meat a la parilla (grill): skirt steak, hanger, sirloin, pork, and thin sweet sausage, served with yuca and potato. You’ll like some cuts more than others, but that’s half the fun.
Pollo a la brasa
Go to Pollo a la Brasa – Misti Restaurant (Port Chester) for some of the best chicken you’ve ever had—Peruvian rotisserie chicken, glazed with mustard, vinegar, lime, paprika, rosemary, cumin, and garlic. A quarter order with rice and salad is only $5.50. The eatery does a brisk takeout business, but sit down and have a Cusqueña beer or chicha morada, a beverage made from purple corn.
At La Pupusa Loca (Port Chester, Yonkers), make a meal of these substantial Salvadoran masa cakes with your choice of filling and especially good cabbage slaw—I like the classic filling of loroco (a flower bud) and cheese—or sample them at the $6.50 all-you-can-eat lunch buffet.
Little Mexican Cafe’s (New Rochelle) LMC Real Deal Quesadilla boasts a thick handmade tortilla stuffed with Oaxaca cheese, mushrooms, zucchini, and green peppers, to which you can add meat for $1. El Tio’s (Port Chester, New Rochelle) tortilla is thinner but bursting with mushrooms, broccoli, carrots, green peppers, and cheese; order it “with everything” for guacamole, rice, and beans.
The chalkboard at Tomatillo lists the local purveyors they use. ï»¿
Roasted poblano soup from Dobbs Ferry’s Tomatillo
Soups and vegetarian burritos
Tomatillo’s (Dobbs Ferry) roasted poblano soup, green and unabashedly spicy, is filled with corn kernels and whole pieces of poblano; stir in the dollop of sour cream on top and go to town. They use produce from nearby Hilltop Hanover Farm for their “farm-to-taco” food, so get your vegetarian burritos (smoked tofu, seitan) here, with local beer on tap.
Blink and you’ll miss Ambar Restaurant (Sleepy Hollow) in a little gray building with no sign. Their stews (beef, oxtail, goat) simmer all day, yielding tender meat and tons of flavor ($10).
Restaurant Tecalitlan (New Rochelle) has some of the best tacos around. The house specialty birria—slow-cooked shredded beef, delicately seasoned—is a true bargain at $2.50, and they won me over with an amuse bouche taco of steak with refried beans and crumbled chorizo. They also have a truck on Fifth Avenue in New Rochelle.
Los Gemelos Restaurant & Totilleria (Port Chester) makes its own tortillas, and you can taste the difference in the soft, lime-y, double-rolled tacos. They have the best selection of offal fillings, but there’s also chicken and fish. Salsas are practically drinkable.
Tortas and Cemitas
Mariachi Loco’s (White Plains) generosity is apparent in the number of “oversized” dishes. The torta (a griddled sandwich on a Portuguese roll) isn’t labeled oversized, but the hulking hoagie almost overflows with whatever fresh filling you order.
But the king of tortas is the torta ahogada at Tlaquepaque Restaurant (New Rochelle)—a sourdough roll smeared with refried beans, stuffed with the choicest pieces of homemade pulled pork, and smothered in tomato sauce, topped with lime wedges and marinated onions and served with homemade spicy sauce and pickled jalapeños. This is eaten with bare hands at Guadalajaran soccer games, but I suggest you use the knife and fork provided.
Make Little Mexican Cafe (New Rochelle) your new default sandwich run for their cemita, a sesame-seed bun stuffed with cheese, avocado, onion, lettuce, cilantro, and whatever else you want, with chipotle mayo.