Latin Flavors in the Bronx

I have lived in the Bronx for 18 years, and I absolutely love it here. My neighborhood is mainly Italian, and there are some pretty good Italian restaurants not too far away. But since the Bronx is so diverse, there is also a never-ending supply of cuisines from all around the world. I love latin food, so here are a few meals I have enjoyed and gladly recommend!

Brunch at Traviesas

Traviesas is located on East Tremont Avenue in Throgs Neck here in the Bronx, and actually serves a latin fusion cuisine. The food is traditionally Spanish with influences from all around the world. My daughter, her BFF Ashley and I rolled up on an early Sunday afternoon, hungry and definitely in the mood for Mimosas. The place is small, but not too small, the music is latin, the vibe lively, the lights colorful. I instantly liked it.

The 35.00 dollar Brunch deal consists of a two course meal and one 750 ml carafe of either Mimosa or Sangria (with an extra long straw). Honestly, they had me at Mimosa. I loved the idea of a carafe. Our first courses were Tortilla Española, a traditionally Spanish style egg and potatoes torte topped with olive oil, and Bacon Egg and Cheese Buns with an Asian twist. Second, Sasha had Amanecer En Colombia, a grilled steak with a fried egg, maduras and chicharron served with rice and beans, served in the cutest little Bento Box. I decided to have a Cuban Cheese Steak made with Ropa Vieja, onions, peppers, Cheddar and Provologne cheeses on a hero with parmesan fries. Ashley had the Hang-Over Quesadilla with Steak, chicken, bacon and three cheeses. Not only was this meal delicious and different, it was just so much fun. Just what someone would envision for a fun Sunday Brunch…

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Lunch at Havana Cafe

Not too far from Traviesas, on the same street, you will find Havana Cafe. This Cuban spot is very popular, and for good reason. Bustling even at lunchtime, you are greeted in friendly manner and seated quickly in the rustic dining room. It is bright with large windows everywhere. Lunch prices are sinfully low. Starting at 7.00 dollars up to 16 dollars you will eat like Cuban royalty. There is nothing I don’t like about their food.

Our starter was an order of Tostones with a touch of pico de Gallo, crispy and delicious. We followed with an order of Mofongo, made of green plantains, double smoked bacon and pork, just amazing. We demolished a plate of Pallomilla, a thinly sliced cuban steak with caramelized onion, and an order of Ropa Vieja. I have to add that Ropa Vieja is one of my all time favorite dishes, and I eat it wherever I can find it, and this is without question the best I ever had. This place would have a long waiting list in Manhattan.

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Dinner at Escape Latino

This lovely place is located in the Pelham Bay section of the Bronx on Hobart Avenue, parallel to Westchester Avenue. It is fairly new, and I’m so glad I stumbled upon it with my girlfriends on a Saturday Girl’s Night out. It is dimly lit with bamboo on the walls, the music playing is classic Salsa. On a Saturday night, dinner will be served in a cozy setting, but then by about 11 pm, the lights go dark, the music gets louder, and you will find yourself in sort of a club atmosphere, yet not overwhelmingly so. The crowd ranges from 20’s to 40’s, and it is fun without being rowdy. To me, this was a perfect Saturday night experience.

The menu is very traditional Latin, ranging from Puerto Rican to South American. Our Appetizers were Clams Casino (baked in butter lemon sauce), Empanada Trio (beef, chicken and spinach & cheese), and Fried Calamari. I went with the Arroz Con Pollo, one of my favorite dishes, which was a huge serving, and it was loaded with Caribbean chicken and saffron spices. Sandra chose the Ropa Vieja (you see the trend here), which was served with yellow rice and sweet plantains. Daisy had the Seafood Paella, served with mussels, clams, shrimp, calamari and lobster. This was hands down enough to feed two hungry people. Everything was seasoned perfectly, the specialty drinks had us upbeat, the atmosphere kept us there longer than anticipated. It was a great night!

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Author: Gotham Foodie

Hello there, fellow foodies! My name is Erica, I was born and raised in Germany, and moved to the US, New York City to be exact, in July of 1987. I have worked most of my time here in the Big Apple as a bartender, but my true love is food. I cook just about every day, I search for good food everywhere, and pretty much always find it. I don't consider myself a food critic, I don't have the culinary background for that kind of expertise. I do however know good food, good chefs and good restaurants. I report back about my culinary adventures, and I choose to leave out my unsatisfactory experiences. We have enough negativity in our daily lives, I don't want to add to that. All the recipes in my FROM MY KITCHEN and DOTW blogs are cooked and prepared by me. All pictures are taken by me. I don't always eat everything you see in my pictures, but you bet your buns, I do try everything. Last but not least, you should know that I am a huge Top Chef fan. I have never missed an episode of the Bravo TV show. I have at this point visited almost 20 restaurants run by Top Chef contestants, and I'm continuously impressed by their skill, drive and passion. So I will continue to seek them out, and I hope you join me in my journey!

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