There’s something very special about Latino food. The comida of our neighbors to the (far) South has become as much a part of our culture as the people themselves, integrating into even the most basic menus and drink offerings. So it’s no surprise that almost everyone has a favorite place to go for their cravings, whether it be mofongo like your mami used to make, or the 'Taco Tuesday' at your local pub.
And what better cross-section of opinions is there than that of our fellow WGBH employees? From native Venezuelan’s to life-long Bostonians, there’s a restaurante for everyone – it’s just up to you to try them all to find your favorito.
Mexican is probably what most think of when they think of Latino food. But this ubiquity isn’t just because our border crossed over their land at some point – from pozole to carnitas, Mexican food is muy rico.
“As a transplant from Southern Arizona, I am never not looking for Mexican food,” Emily Tingle, from National Corporate Sponsorship tells us. “It’s tied with my family for the thing I miss most about Tucson, and Taqueria Jalisco in East Boston is the best Mexican food I’ve found in the area…. their carne asada is my absolute favorite. [And] they also sell a lot of Mexican candy that I haven’t seen elsewhere in New England!”
291 Bennington St. Boston, 617-567-6367
Closer to the Northwest of Boston? Maria Uribe in Finance has you covered: “Acitron Arlington [pictured above] has awesome food and drinks – and the owner is amazing! 'Taco Tuesday' is great, especially the cochinita pibil.”
473 Mass Ave., Arlington, 781-777-2839, acitronrestaurant.com
“I’m Venezuelan, so there is a special place in my heart for Orinoco… it’s like a visit home.” Ely Delman from Local Development says. “[The] atmosphere, smelling the food on the grill, seeing the Venezuelan décor… has a way of transporting me back to where I was born and grew up.”
If you live in Boston, there’s probably an Orinoco near you – they have locations in Brookline, Cambridge, and the South End. Already grabbing your coat? Espere, por favor. Ely has one last tip for you:
“For an appetizer, I’m a huge fan of their tequeños, which are crisp little doughs filled with guayanés cheese, dipped in a smokey chipotle sauce. I wish there would be 17 to a serving. Alas!”
Various locations, orinocokitchen.com
Not only is Emily Balk in Communications a writer for WGBH Food, pero she’s also a huge fan of ceviche, the cold, marinated fish meal that serves as the national dish of Peru.
“When I have a hankering for ceviche, I head to Celeste in Union Square,” Emily shares. “The ceviches are bright and satisfying and the causas, a cold layered potato dish, make for great shared dish and introduction to Peruvian potato ingenuity. I can’t wait to go back and try the lomo saltado.”
Neither can we, Emily.
21 Bow St., Somerville, 617-616-5319, celesteunionsquare.com
With Massachusetts having one of the largest populations of Puerto Ricans per capita (in Holyoke), it would be a huge oversight if we didn’t include some Boricua comida in our list. Lucky for us, Carlos Colon in Broadcast Editorial was ready to dish:
“I [have] to mention the Puerto Rican restaurant Vejigantes, in South End,” he told us. “As a Puerto Rican myself, I find it warm and comfortable to go there once in a while when I want to feel a real taste of home… the atmosphere, music, and decoration makes the perfect illusion of having a meal in Old San Juan.”
And it’s not just the ambiance that Carlos loves – the food is no small part of Vejigantes appeal. “My favorite dish is the Mofongo Sampler. [It] has three small portions of mofongo, one filled with churrasco, one with lobster, and one with shrimp…In my three years in Boston, I have [yet] to find a mofongo as juicy/authentic as Vejigantes.”
We’re drooling already.
57 West Dedham St., Boston, 617-247-9249, vejigantesrestaurant.com
Guatemalan, Salvadoran & Mexican
Like Carlos, Tatiana Espinal from WGBH’s Development team has a place that fires off her nostalgia.
“Mi Pueblito Restaurant in East Boston is family-owned and casual – and they make really good traditional foods that remind me of home [the Honduras],” she says. And with classic dishes like marinated grilled chicken, venison, and tripe soup, and sides of frijoles, arroz and platanos maduros, we can see why – it’s like dinner at your abuelitas house. And like Vejigantes, Mi Pueblito also brings that homey feel with their own ambiance.
“Every time I've been there, their TVs are showing a soccer match,” Tatiana laughs. “I love it!”
333 Border St., East Boston, 617-569-3787, mipueblitorestaurantboston.com
Brazilian steakhouses have been rising in popularity in the last few years, popping up all around the Greater Boston area. But with the number of options – and the ease with which a good steak can get too salty or dry – where should you be sating your red meat craving?
“Oliveira’s Restaurant in Everett is a Brazilian steakhouse dedicated to serving the most traditionally delicious meats you can think of,” our Digital co-op Javon educates us. “From their appetizers like the Picanha na Chapa – mouth watering beef strips served with crispy yucca fries – to my personal favorite entree, File a Milanesa, a breaded sirloin steak, every dish is straight from a meat lover’s dream.”
We believe him.
749 Broadway Everett, 617-389-8615, oliveirasrestaurant.com
Tacos, Burritos, Pupusas and more!
Finally, it’s one of the most hotly contested questions: Who makes the best taco/burrito/pupusa in Boston? Not only is the city positively sprinkled with delightful restaurants that make excellent versions of each, but we at WGBH are lucky enough to have four great offerings near our offices in Brighton. But that doesn’t necessarily make our decision any easier.
Kendall Todd in Classical starts off the conversation with a killer endorsement for Los Amigos in Brighton Center: “I cannot recommend the plantain burrito from Los Amigos Taqueria highly enough. There are a few of us in the WCRB offices who… get one every Friday for lunch; I’m from San Diego, so I know burritos, and this is one of the best I’ve ever had.”
Various locations, amigosburritos.com
But Sadie Roosa in our Media Library and Archives has an equally great promotion: “My favorite Latin American restaurant is El Carrizal Taqueria in Allston, which serves Mexican, Guatemalan and Salvadorian food. The Combinacion Salvadorena, which comes with a pupusa, salvadoran enchilada and a chicken tamales is really, really good.”
254 Brighton Ave., Allston, 617-779-0022, taqueriacarrizal.com
Neither of those grabbing your attention? It may intrigue you to know that a favorite of the dot org team (y muchos otras in the foundation) is Lone Star Taco Bar (pictured above), right at the intersection of North Beacon and Cambridge Streets in Allston.
Mallory Salvaggio from our Local Development team says: “The guacamole is out of this world, I truly mean it... They mash up chunky and delicious avocados and serve in a large granite mortar which makes for great presentation to serve alongside (the best part) hot, freshly fried, handmade, peppery tortilla chips from tortillas they make in house.”
Not to mention their oh-so-delicioso Margaritas…
Locations in Allston and Cambridge, deepellum-allston.com/lonestar
But let’s be honest; there's no conversation about tacos and burritos in Boston without the reliable Anna’s Taqueria. “Cheap, fast and delicious!” Jeff Burke, a coworker in Digital declares. “[I’ve] been going there for nearly 20 years and the food has stayed consistently excellent! My personal favorite is the Super Chicken Burrito.”
Various locations, annastaqueria.com