New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

Restaurants to love for Hispanic Heritage Month

Try these places to eat in New York City for an authentic experience of Hispanic cultures.

Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates over a dozen Hispanic cultures, and not all of them get enough recognition. Knowing food is a great connector across cultures, I asked around and set out to find some of the best Latine-owned eateries from all different backgrounds. While it will take more than the remaining nine days of Hispanic Heritage Month to eat at all of them, they’re definitely worth a try.

Rossy Caba is preparing an order at Rossy's Bakery & Coffee Shop. She is wearing a pink shirt and holding up a container with food. She is standing behind a buffet full of different dishes.
(Simon Tan for WSN)

Rossy’s Bakery & Coffee Shop | Dominican

I stumbled across Rossy’s Bakery & Coffee Shop by accident a few weekends ago. I was coming home from a run by the East River when it started downpouring, so I took the only $5 I had out of my sports bra, and embarrassedly exchanged it for a $4.50 morir soñando — a Dominican drink made from orange juice and Carnation milk. It tasted like a refreshing orange creamsicle on the rocks. Despite being called a bakery, Rossy’s serves savory meals like empanadas and relleno de papas in addition to its classic sweets like flan and tres leche cake. It even has a sign that says: “Don’t see it on the menu? Ask for it.”

Located on East Third Street, Rossy’s is the perfect place to grab a filling breakfast before starting your day or a sweet treat after hours of classes.

The interior of Arepa Lady. There are dark brown, wooden chairs and tables. There are black and white photographs on the wall, and two plants in pots. To the right of the photo there is a man wearing a brown cap sitting at a booth.
(Simon Tan for WSN)

Arepa Lady | Colombian

With a large population of Hispanic immigrants, Jackson Heights is known for its diverse food offerings. It’s also home to Arepa Lady, which makes some of the best arepas in New York. Aside from arepas, it also serves empanadas and margaritas.

According to CAS junior Laura Mosier, who was born in Colombia and raised in Michigan, Arepa Lady is a staple in the neighborhood with many recipes that have been around since it was only a food cart. Aside from the dough and arepa con queso, Mosier loves the flavorful red and green sauces.

“When you first try their food it’s clear why it’s the best-rated arepas in Jackson Heights — and arguably New York,” Mosier said.

To the right of the photo is Guinevere, a co-owner of Claudia’s by Clo Cafe, sitting on a yellow chair, wearing a black t-shirt with ‘Claudia’s’ written on the top right corner. Behind her there is a blue store sign and a blue neon sign that reads ‘Claudia’s.’
(Simon Tan for WSN)

Claudia’s | Guatemalan

Nestled in the heart of East Williamsburg, Claudia’s serves up Guatemalan cuisine with plenty of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options. Once you walk in, three colorful paintings — showcasing images like the Asunción arch — transport you to Guatemala and prepare you for a rich meal. In the mornings, you can try the Guatemalan Tradicional Breakfast of eggs, tomato, onion, black bean, plantains, crema and tortillas. And for dinner, you can try the skirt steak, called churrasco, or shuco and fries, a chorizo hot dog with avocado, ketchup, mustard and mayo. If you want to wash everything down with a margarita, stop by during happy hour, which runs every day from 4-7 p.m.

The interior of I Love Paraguay Restaurant. Two people are sitting across from each other. Jaime Issac S., a server at I Love Paraguay, is talking to them. The wall behind them is painted and there are pink flowers across it, as well as across the ceiling.
(Simon Tan for WSN)

I Love Paraguay | Paraguayan

It’s not in every city that you can find Paraguayan food, especially at the same quality level as I Love Paraguay, which is located in Sunnyside, Queens.

“Whenever my dad comes to New York, he goes to a restaurant called I Love Paraguay,” Gallatin senior Mateo Villalba Rodriguez said.

Villalba Rodriguez too enjoys the food, sharing the cuisine and heritage with his dad as they eat different meat-filled pastries like chipa so’o almidon, a salty corn-based cake with ground beef and eggs, pajagua mascada, a ground beef and yuca patty, and croquetas de carne, breaded ground beef croquettes.

Owners Nancy and Carlos Ojeda have over 30 years of experience in the culinary industry and have owned and operated I Love Paraguay for 16 years.

The entrance to a restaurant with colorful painted doors. A sign reads “Taqueria St Marks Place”.
(Kiran Komanduri for WSN)

Taqueria St. Marks Place | California Mexican

Taqueria St. Marks is modeled after California-style Mexican food. It’s divey — Christmas lights are slung around the restaurant year-round, and the drinks are strong and cheap. With margaritas and micheladas at $8 and sangrias at $9, it has competitive prices for the area. Plus, all tacos are $4.50.

Steinhardt junior Ellie Rangel is a regular at Taqueria St. Marks.

“I love Taqueria St. Marks because not only is the food banging for a cheap price, but also the restaurant is such a slice of Mexican culture in California, which hits home for me as a San Francisco Mexican American,” Rangel said. “My rec is to get their shrimp taco and nopalitos tacos. And a Corona.”

The outside seating area for the restaurant Cuba, with blue and orange leaves drawn on the walls and the name “Cuba” printed on the walls, as well as chairs and a table outside.
(Julia Smerling for WSN)

Cuba Restaurant & Rum Bar | Cuban

The Cuba Restaurant & Rum Bar is a great place near campus to unwind after a stressful week. With live music on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays you can enjoy Latin music while enjoying dinner and drinks. Happy hour runs Monday-Friday from 4-6 p.m. with $8 mojitos, sangria and cuba colada. Or, if you’re into boozy brunch, try the unlimited cocktails for only $22 on weekends from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The dinner menu includes plenty of classics you’ll be sure to love like ropa vieja, churrasco and tostones con mojo. Drinks include the Cuba Colada, which is a take on the pina colada, passion fruit sangria and a Cadillac margarita all for around $15.

Bolivian Llama Party’s storefront. It has a yellow sign that says ‘Bolivian Llama Party’ in red letters. There is a woman in a maroon dress looking up at the store sign.
(Simon Tan for WSN)

Bolivian Llama Party | Bolivian

In Sunnyside, Queens, Bolivian Llama Party offers a taste of modern Bolivian cuisine that has been serving up flavor since 2012. Bolivian Llama Party is operated by the Oropeza brothers, and has been featured in the The New York Times, Eater, Gothamist and more for its innovative takes on modern Bolivian food.

Here, you can try salteñas, which are like a mix between an empanada and a pot pie. Other stars on the menu are chicharron strips with fries, various bowls and a Cocha-BOMBA hot honey sandwich, with beer-marinated buttermilk fried chicken and hot honey.

“Bolivian Llama Party is a place in New York that feels like my grandma’s cooking,” Steinhardt junior Sarah Postelweit said. “Every time, I get an instant feeling of transporting back to my childhood, cooking salteñas in my grandma’s kitchen as we prepare for a family dinner. The food is absolutely incredible and is only made better with nostalgia. It’s one of the first places that comes to mind when people ask me for food recommendations in the city. I love it.”

Honorable mention: Antojitos Doña Fela | Peruvian

Located in Jackson Heights, on 90th Street and Roosevelt Avenue, Antojitos Doña Fela’s food cart serves Peruvian street food with a specialty in antojitos, or little cravings. The truck’s owner Doña Fela serves these Peruvian classics alongside her daughter and granddaughter.

While Doña Fela’s may appear a modest food cart at first glance, the tiny eatery has gained massive popularity with features in Vice, and the Thrillist.

Contact Carina Christo at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Julia Smerling
Julia Smerling, Photo Editor
Julia Smerling is a first-year studying photography and imaging, and is one of WSN’s Photo Editors. She is from West Palm Beach, Florida, and you can find her writing poetry, overly obsessing about films, painting art on jeans and always having her headphones on. Also, she’s secretly Peter Parker. You can reach her on Instagram @juliasmerling or her art account @jul3sarchive (where mostly her mom hypes her up and likes her posts so please give it a look — it's becoming embarrassing at this point.)

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  • J

    JanetOct 7, 2023 at 11:23 am

    Wonderful and comprehensive article on the best Latin restaurants in the area! I absolutely love Rossy’s Bakery, Arepa Lady, Bolivian Llama Party, and Taqueria St Mark’s!
    Thanks and happy Hispanic Heritage month!

  • J

    John STEPHENSONOct 7, 2023 at 11:16 am

    Great article as I have enjoyed the cuisine at Arepa Lady and Cuba Restaurant and now intend to sample the others soon!!!
    Thanks again Carina Christo!