Bushwick’s large Latinx population makes it a go-to neighborhood for anyone searching for some Latin American cuisine. New York is hardly lacking in Latin American restaurants, but out here in Bushwick, you can find some real authentic culture waiting for you at one of the various restaurants listed below.
When talking about food authenticity, what do we mean? Authentic food can mean the exact replication of a dish, the manifestation of traditional flavors and ingredients into a reimagined variation, or it can refer to the identity of an establishment’s staff and owners. In any case, authentic Latin American food can be boiled down to Latinx people proudly bringing their cultural dishes and flavors to the table (pun intended).
Being Latinx myself, I find comfort in eating Latin American food, no matter the country that it’s from. Growing up Paraguayan in the United States means that I rarely find Paraguayan food when out and about, but it has taught me to appreciate other Latin cuisine and the uniqueness that each one has to offer. So, read on, and find a new spot in Bushwick and its surrounding areas to make sure that you too know where to go to find some authentic Latin flavor.
If you’re craving Mexican and feeling fancy
Guadalupe Inn, 1 Knickerbocker Ave.
Guadalupe Inn stands out among Bushwick’s many Mexican restaurants because of its ability to present quality versions of staple Mexican dishes, while also presenting these same classic flavors and ingredients in an elegant and imaginative fashion. Beautifully decorated, the atmosphere inside of Guadalupe Inn is as good as their delicious meals. While their menu is on the pricier side for what one typically expects for Mexican cuisine, on most nights you can expect a show with dinner. The restaurant’s owner and chef, Ivan Garcia, was born and raised in Mexico City and opened various Mexican restaurants once coming to the United States. He prides himself on his ability to present menus that respect Mexico’s culinary traditions, while also being unafraid to try something creative. Each dish on his menu is filling, delicious and as promised, authentically Mexican.
If you’re craving Venezuelan
Arepera Guacuco, 44 Irving Ave
As the name suggests, this places knows a thing or two about arepas. This Venezuelan restaurant is owned by Leonardo Molina, but his mother Carmen, an experienced chef from Venezuela, takes charge of most of the cooking. While delicious arepas may be the main focus on this restaurant’s menus, it has much more to offer to any hungry customer searching to satisfy a Latin craving. Highlights include the arepa pabellon and arepa guayanes. Arepera Guacuco offers a number of different empanadas and an expansive number of Venezuelan dishes suitable for brunch, lunch or dinner. Mom is always the best cook, but Carmen’s Venezuelan cuisine does not disappoint.
If you’re craving Ecuadorian
Super Pollo, 865 Woodward Ave.
This Ecuadorian gem falls slightly out of Bushwick borders, lying in Ridgewood territory. Super Pollo is one of those Latin American restaurants where you don’t have to spend much to satisfy your hunger and you know whatever you order is going to satisfy you. Ecuadorian cuisine includes chicken, beef, and fish and all three of these meats can be found in the dishes at Super Pollo. As the name implies though, chicken is its speciality, and you can get a full roast chicken for $12. Ecuadorian food is also super plantain-friendly, so almost every dish you order will come with a delicious side serving of plantains. While delivery might be tempting in cold weather, going out to this spot in person is worth it, as they also have a full bar and outdoor seating to be taken advantage of once warm weather reemerges.
If you’re craving Salvadorian
Bahia, 690 Grand Street
This spot borders on Williamsburg territory, but to exclude it from this list would be a shame. Bahia is a cozy environment with even tastier food that won’t break your budget, but will be sure to keep you full. It wouldn’t be a Salvadorian restaurant if they didn’t serve puposas, and here you can find ten versions of it. If you find yourself craving seafood, this is the place to go. Fish is a huge part of Salvadorian cuisine due to its geographic location and Bahia’s menu showcases a variety of fishy dishes. Their food is decently affordable and incredibly delicious.
If you’re craving Dominican
Rico Pollo, 3352 Fulton St.
Did you wake up this morning and just think, man, I really want something Latin for breakfast? Rico Pollo should be your go-to place. Nothing on their breakfast menu is over $5, which is incredible given the average price for breakfast at some restaurants. Some highlights on the breakfast menu include mangu with egg and cheese or tortilla hispana. You can also order yuca or guineo alongside your egg. While Rico Pollo might be primarily Dominican, they serve some Puerto Rican dishes like mofongo (ten different versions of it) and plenty of dishes featuring meat and seafood. If you’re into soups, definitely take a peek at what this place has to offer. Some of the soups they advertise include tripe soup, goat stew, and Spanish soup. The price is right here, with an affordable price range and daily specials for plenty of meals under $10!
If you’re feeling indecisive
La Isla Cuchifrito, 6 Graham Ave.
With three different locations in Brooklyn, La Isla Chuchifrito not only serves various neighborhoods, but pays homage to various Latin American countries. Their menu is primarily Puerto Rican, is sprinkled with foods with various origins and presents each and every dish authentically and with dignity. This restaurant in particular has been in Brooklyn since 1960, and its ability to withstand its competitors over the years indicates the quality of their cuisine. Stop in for a hearty lunch or dinner, with your choice of dishes like chicharron, mondongo and many more. Best part? It’s open 24 hours. Satisfy those cravings, any time.
Cover image courtesy of La Isla Chuchifrito