8 Essential Latin Restaurants to Put On Your Bucket List

We here at Scene have always had a soft spot for out-of-the-way ethnic eats, those affordable mom-and-pop spots that open our eyes, minds and hearts to new cuisines. Lately, we've been pleasantly awash in the flavors of Latin America, from El Salvadoran pupusas to Guatemalan garnachas. Here are some of our new (and not-so-new) favorites.    

We here at Scene have always had a soft spot for out-of-the-way ethnic eats, those affordable mom-and-pop spots that open our eyes, minds and hearts to new cuisines. Lately, we've been pleasantly awash in the flavors of Latin America, from El Salvadoran pupusas to Guatemalan garnachas. Here are some of our new (and not-so-new) favorites.

By Douglas Trattner

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 Pupuseria Katarina
1409 Brookpark Rd., 216-331-6624
Pupuseria Katarina began life three years ago as a spare Salvadoran eatery in Old Brooklyn built largely around a roster of great pupusas. 
Photo by Barney Taxel

Pupuseria Katarina

1409 Brookpark Rd., 216-331-6624

Pupuseria Katarina began life three years ago as a spare Salvadoran eatery in Old Brooklyn built largely around a roster of great pupusas.

Photo by Barney Taxel
 Pupuseria Katarina
1409 Brookpark Rd., 216-331-6624
After relocating to a larger, more comfortable spot, they unveiled an expanded menu featuring those same great pupusas, of course, but also hearty main dishes like shrimp in tomato sauce, grilled steak and onions, whole fried fish and one of the best breakfast-all-day platters around. This one combines housemade chorizo scrambled eggs, rice, refried beans, a fresh farmer's cheese and a pair of warm, thick tortillas.
Photo via smelllikebooboo/Instagram

Pupuseria Katarina

1409 Brookpark Rd., 216-331-6624

After relocating to a larger, more comfortable spot, they unveiled an expanded menu featuring those same great pupusas, of course, but also hearty main dishes like shrimp in tomato sauce, grilled steak and onions, whole fried fish and one of the best breakfast-all-day platters around. This one combines housemade chorizo scrambled eggs, rice, refried beans, a fresh farmer's cheese and a pair of warm, thick tortillas.

Photo via smelllikebooboo/Instagram
 El Arepazo y Pupuseria
22799 Lorain Rd., 440-716-1961
El Arepazo y Pupuseria in Fairview Park offers guests the best of both worlds when it comes to Latin American specialties. In addition to exceptional Salvadoran pupusas, the menu here extends to cover Colombian dishes like arepas, empanadas and the classic Bandeja Paisa, an appetite slaying platter loaded down with rice, beans, plantains, meaty pork skin, sausage, steak, avocado, arepa and an egg. 
Photo
via ashn1213/Instagram

El Arepazo y Pupuseria

22799 Lorain Rd., 440-716-1961

El Arepazo y Pupuseria in Fairview Park offers guests the best of both worlds when it comes to Latin American specialties. In addition to exceptional Salvadoran pupusas, the menu here extends to cover Colombian dishes like arepas, empanadas and the classic Bandeja Paisa, an appetite slaying platter loaded down with rice, beans, plantains, meaty pork skin, sausage, steak, avocado, arepa and an egg.

Photo via ashn1213/Instagram
 El Arepazo y Pupuseria
22799 Lorain Rd., 440-716-1961
Meals are often served with fries and a trio of sauces. In addition to tamales, the restaurant prepares crispy fried empanadas filled with cheese, pork or beef.
samuelnoyola13/Instagram

El Arepazo y Pupuseria

22799 Lorain Rd., 440-716-1961

Meals are often served with fries and a trio of sauces. In addition to tamales, the restaurant prepares crispy fried empanadas filled with cheese, pork or beef.

samuelnoyola13/Instagram
 Caribe Bake Shop
2906 Fulton Rd., 216-281-8194
Caribe Bake Shop isn't new, but Cleveland's "Home of the best Cubano" recently moved into a new building on the same property and demolished the old one. 
Photo via vanna_86/Instagram

Caribe Bake Shop

2906 Fulton Rd., 216-281-8194

Caribe Bake Shop isn't new, but Cleveland's "Home of the best Cubano" recently moved into a new building on the same property and demolished the old one.

Photo via vanna_86/Instagram
 Caribe Bake Shop
2906 Fulton Rd., 216-281-8194
Step into Caribe today and you're greeted by a bright, open and modern space outfitted with 20 feet of hot and cold food stations. There's heavenly roast pork, a stew of meltingly tender chicken, carrots and potatoes, pitch-black morcilla (blood sausage), and some of the city's crispiest fried chicken. A small heated display case is filled with crispy empanadillas and plenty of new seating welcomes hungry guests.
Photo by Emanuel Wallace

Caribe Bake Shop

2906 Fulton Rd., 216-281-8194

Step into Caribe today and you're greeted by a bright, open and modern space outfitted with 20 feet of hot and cold food stations. There's heavenly roast pork, a stew of meltingly tender chicken, carrots and potatoes, pitch-black morcilla (blood sausage), and some of the city's crispiest fried chicken. A small heated display case is filled with crispy empanadillas and plenty of new seating welcomes hungry guests.

Photo by Emanuel Wallace
 La Morenita
3156 West 25th St., 216-350-6633
A newcomer on the near-westside, La Morenita is a cheery little eatery that dishes up home-style Dominican fare for breakfast, lunch and early dinner. A heated display is filled with quick-serve foods like golden brown empandillas filled with ground beef, chicken or cheese, and tostones, crunchy, creamy fried plantains. Los Tres Golpes, a Dominican breakfast platter, contains fried eggs, fried cheese, fried salami and mangu, which is boiled and mashed plantains. 
Photo by Douglas Trattner

La Morenita

3156 West 25th St., 216-350-6633

A newcomer on the near-westside, La Morenita is a cheery little eatery that dishes up home-style Dominican fare for breakfast, lunch and early dinner. A heated display is filled with quick-serve foods like golden brown empandillas filled with ground beef, chicken or cheese, and tostones, crunchy, creamy fried plantains. Los Tres Golpes, a Dominican breakfast platter, contains fried eggs, fried cheese, fried salami and mangu, which is boiled and mashed plantains.

Photo by Douglas Trattner
 La Morenita
3156 West 25th St., 216-350-6633
Entrees, which come with rice and beans, are built around roasted pork, beef stew, roasted chicken, and whole fried fish. Available on Saturdays, mondongo is a rich tripe stew with tomato, carrots and potatoes. Sancocho, available on Sundays, is a celebratory dish filled with various meats and root vegetables.
Photo by Douglas Trattner

La Morenita

3156 West 25th St., 216-350-6633

Entrees, which come with rice and beans, are built around roasted pork, beef stew, roasted chicken, and whole fried fish. Available on Saturdays, mondongo is a rich tripe stew with tomato, carrots and potatoes. Sancocho, available on Sundays, is a celebratory dish filled with various meats and root vegetables.

Photo by Douglas Trattner
Las Americas
25626 Aurora Rd., Bedford, 440-439-9378
This summer, the business relocated to a new space in the same plaza that features a greatly expanded Latin foods market and attached restaurant. 
Photo by Douglas Trattner

Las Americas

25626 Aurora Rd., Bedford, 440-439-9378

This summer, the business relocated to a new space in the same plaza that features a greatly expanded Latin foods market and attached restaurant.

Photo by Douglas Trattner
Las Americas
25626 Aurora Rd., Bedford, 440-439-9378
Fans will recognize the same menu and pricing as before, but with options for take-out or full-service dining. Burritos are stuffed to the breaking point, quesadillas are cooked on a flattop until hot and melted, and those authentic street tacos are as good as they get.
Photo by Douglas Trattner

Las Americas

25626 Aurora Rd., Bedford, 440-439-9378

Fans will recognize the same menu and pricing as before, but with options for take-out or full-service dining. Burritos are stuffed to the breaking point, quesadillas are cooked on a flattop until hot and melted, and those authentic street tacos are as good as they get.

Photo by Douglas Trattner
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