July 14, 2023 By Amanda Salazar
As the summer is heating up and people are going out more, there’s no better time to find some new local restaurants to check out.
Whether you’re looking for a place to go to for Taco Tuesday, an upscale eatery for date night or want to try something culturally authentic, here are 10 Latin restaurants to try in western Queens.
Sandro’s Latin Food | 27-03 23rd Avenue, Astoria
An Ecuadorian and Colombian fusion restaurant with an extensive menu, Sandro’s Latin Food is a good choice for anyone looking for an authentic meal. Their long menu offers around 81 meals, according to the website, which include stews, platters, soups, sandwiches and ceviches, an Ecuadorian citrus seafood dish. There’s also a small burger menu for that one picky eater at the table. You can wash your meal down with a milkshake, beer or an Ecuadorian morocho, a spiced-corn drink.
Citrico Café | 32-90 36th Street, Long Island City
Located right near Kaufman Studios, Citrico Café sells Mexican LA-style street tacos. The restaurant is open for brunch, lunch and dinner, with a separate menu for each. The dinner menu sports a raw bar with shrimp and oysters, eight unique kinds of tacos and a list of vegetarian appetizers. For lunch, customers can also choose from burgers or lunch box meals. Bruch, only available on weekends and holidays, offers Latin inspired breakfast meals such as chilaquiles and breakfast burritos, in addition to tacos. Citrico is also an agaveria, meaning it sells spirits made from the agave plant, like tequila.
Ricas Pupusas & Mas | 47-55 47th Street, Sunnyside
Ricas Pupusas & Mas is a family-owned business that has been around since 2018. A pupusa is a Salvadoran corn-flour tortilla, often filled with meat, beans or cheese. At Ricas, diners have 12 choices of fillings, including beans, cheese, mushrooms, squash, onion, chicken and pork. In addition to pupusas, the restaurant sells burritos, tacos, tamales, quesadillas and chicken flautas. To go along with the meal, they also sell Salvadoran horchata — a drink made out of morro seeds, white rice, sesame seeds and more — juices and smoothies.
La Vecina | 30-66 Steinway Street, Astoria
Family owned and operated since 2017, La Vecina is a Colombian restaurant that also sells Latin fusion. Happy hour here runs every day from noon until 7 p.m., with different specials on drinks changing by the day of the week. Their extensive drink menu is only topped by their long food menu. There’s a soup of the day section, a lunch menu, a ton of appetizers, salads, specialty plates and even a build your own arepa category.
Blend on the Water | 45-40 Center Boulevard, Long Island City
Inspired by all Latin countries, this Latin fusion restaurant is situated on the waterfront, with 60 outdoor patio seats looking out at the Manhattan skyline. The upscale restaurant has near-panoramic 10-foot windows, so the 160 diners inside can share in the view. The menu has plates to share — including chorizo mac and cheese, crispy arepas and chicharron de pollo skewers — as well as seafood, tacos, sides and a long list of entrees.
Salvatoria Kitchen and Bar | 31-18 Broadway, Astoria
Salvatoria Kitchen and Bar serves traditional Salvadoran food and specialty drinks for lunch and dinner every day, as well as brunch on weekends. The menu boasts picadas, tacos, pupusas, sandwiches, burgers, soups, salads and meals. A sampling of the entrée menu includes carne asada, pechuga salteada and more, with meat, chicken and seafood options. This restaurant is a good option for anyone looking for a place that welcomes customers as family.
I Love Paraguay Restaurant | 43-16 Greenpoint Avenue, Sunnyside
Serving handmade, traditional and authentic Paraguayan food, I Love Paraguay Restaurant offers meals that stem back to the indigenous cultures that live in Paraguay, and uses native words to describe the foods. Customers can order salty corn cakes called chip almidon, cheesy yuca flatbread called mbeju, cheesy corn souffle called chipa guazu and a fried yuca and egg dish called madi’o chyryry. The restaurant also sells some more commonly known items, such as empanadas, croquettes, sandwiches, stews and ribs. As of 2020, the business also ships their foods and products nationwide.
Fresco’s Cantina | 12-14 31st Avenue, Astoria
Fresco’s Cantina is a restaurant with a long, winding menu and an option for everybody. Some of their most popular items are sweet plantains, cantina nachos and cantina insalada, but the menu offers a lot more than that. There are wings, taquitos, arepas, quesadillas, tacos, burritos and bowls. There’s a ton of taco options, such as chicken tinga, Cubano al pastor, sesame-ginger chicken, pastelon ground beef and vegetable tacos. The entrees include platters and burgers.
Tropical Restaurant II | 36-10 Greenpoint Avenue, Long Island City
A small Ecuadorian restaurant chain with five locations in Queens, Tropical Restaurant mixes traditional flavors with soulful cooking. The restaurant chain was even awarded a proclamation from the City Council for being a “cherished asset to the community.” The second location is the only one in Long Island City. The menu includes daily specials and signature dishes, like bandera, seco de gallina, guatita and chaulafan.
Acento Latin Kitchen & Bar | 33-06 Ditmars Boulevard, Astoria
Inspired by the owners’ grandmothers, Acento Kitchen & Bar is dedicated to serving its customers homestyle cooking. A long appetizer menu includes tostones, quesadillas, tortilla chips and arepas, while the dishes menu lists ropa vieja, alambre, fajitas and bandeja paisa. Happy hour is from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and on Monday mojitos are only $6 all day long.
*This article was originally published in BORO magazine