Dine Latino Restaurant Week is returning to Philadelphia from Wednesday, May 5, until Sunday, May 9, allowing the city’s food lovers to explore the diversity of Latin American culinary offerings. This year, customers receive a free appetizer or dessert with the purchase of two dinner entrées at more than two dozen Latino restaurants participating in the event.
Along with celebrating Latino cultures, this restaurant week event organized by the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce aims to support Latino-owned businesses during the pandemic. The GPHCC is providing access to resources, expert advice, networking, and educational opportunities for these businesses, in hopes that participating restaurants garner new patrons.
“We initially launched Dine Latino Restaurant Week as a one-time-only campaign in 2020 in response to the pandemic, and we saw that it was very successful in not only boosting sales, but in creating additional exposure for the diverse set of Latino owned businesses in Philadelphia,” said Jennifer Rodríguez, GPHCC president, in a press release. “The 2020 initiative yielded so much success that we’ve decided to bring it back for 2021, and adopt it as a permanent initiative for the chamber.”
After the last Dine Latino Restaurant Week, in September, the GPHCC was able to gift $15,000 in micro-grants to help Latino restaurant owners navigate new ways of doing business. As part of this year’s effort, the GPHCC is partnering with Visit Philadelphia to provide professional photography services to participant restaurants, and has launched an Instagram account (@DineLatino_PHL) dedicated to promoting the Dine Latino project in the Philadelphia all year-round.
Here are some of the participating restaurants:
With dishes that go beyond borders, including churrasco Argentino, traditional Cuban ropa vieja, the iconic Colombian bandeja paisa, and the paella Valenciana, Mixto illustrates what Dine Latino wants to represent. Executive chef Jonathan Alexis Viruet Vega features a mix of flavors across Latin America and the Caribbean.
The restaurant, which is a newcomer to Dine Latino Restaurant Week was founded in 2001 by the same owners of Tierra Colombiana, a stalwart among Latino families in North Philadelphia. Mixto in Center City gives a more formal twist to classic Latin American flavors, said co-owner Mercy Mosquera.
During Dine Latino Restaurant Week, you can enjoy two entrées at Mixto with complimentary appetizers like their beef-, chicken-, or cheese-filled empanadas or maduro relleno, a sweet plantain topped with Cuban-style beef and melted mozzarella cheese.
“The pandemic hit us very hard, causing us to close Mixto for some months,” Mosquera said. “So, we are very happy to be participating in this initiative to help each other in these tough times of the pandemic. We really like the message of supporting Latino-owned restaurants together, and we invite everyone to come here, enjoy and relax.”
1141 Pine St. Open for indoor and outdoor dining and takeout 4-9 p.m. Tue.-Fri.; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sat.-Sun. Reservations recommended. mixtorestaurante.com; 215-592-0363.
Also participating for the first time in Dine Latino Week, Izlas Latin Cuisine brings a mix of Puerto Rican and Cuban dishes infused with a Mexican twist to North Philadelphia.
“Founding Izlas is a dream I’ve had for some years now,” said owner Wilfredo Baez, who has over 20 years of experience in the bar industry and opened Izlas Latin Cuisine in 2019. “I always saw how they were some Latin-inspired restaurants downtown and I wanted to bring one to North Philly to honor my Puerto Rican roots as a native Philadelphian.”
Among the specialties made by executive chef Jorge Reyes at Izlas is the Salmon Chino Latino — a salmon dish with Chinese-styled fried rice. Izlas will offer new items during restaurant week, including octopus a la parrilla, a rib-eye dish, and Peruvian-style baked chicken.
2725 N. American St. Open 3-11 p.m. Tue.-Sat. for indoor and outdoor dining. Visit izlaslatin.com for more information. Reservations: 267-314-5644.
During this Dine Latino, customers at Jezabel’s will get a free pavlova with passion fruit custard to share when ordering two or more lunch specials. The lunch specials include a choice of two empanadas with their salad of mixed greens and seasonal pickled vegetables.
The Argentine bakery also is offering a range of baked goods during Dine Latino and any other week. “I always suggest people to come with an open mind and order whatever just came out of the oven,” said owner Jezabel Careaga, who wanted to bring the spices and punch of flavors of her native northwestern Jujuy province to Philadelphia.
206-208 S. 45th St. Jezabel’s is open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Thu.-Mon. Visit jezabelscafe.com for more information.
During this week, customers of Bar Bombón who order two main dishes will receive a free dessert of pastelillos, a puff pastry filled with dark chocolate and caramelized bananas, and drizzled with a vegan chocolate sauce, powdered sugar, and hazelnuts.
The 100% plant-based restaurant brings a taste of Old San Juan with some modern twists to a corner of Center City with a view of Rittenhouse Square on 33 S. 18th St.
Some traditional foods can be found on the menu including Spanish rice, Cuban black beans, sweet plantains, and tostones — but their executive chef Adrian Jeronimo also serves vegan twists like their Buffalo cauliflower tacos.
“It is an homage to my Puerto Rican roots,” said Nicole Marquis, owner of Bar Bombón. “My mother was born and raised in Puerto Rico and it’s such an important part of my life and culture.”
Bar Bombón serves small, Latin-inspired vegetable plates while also offering a full margarita bar, tequila, and mezcal bar.
On the first day of Dine Latino — Cinco de Mayo — Bar Bombón will offer a special menu including El Guero Tacos, blood orange and guava margaritas, Mexican street corn, fresh guacamole topped with tropical fruit, and more. They will offer $5 tacos, $9 margaritas, and free tortilla chips and salsa roja for guests who order two margaritas or a pitcher.
33 S. 18th St. Open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sun.-Thu.; 11 a.m.-11:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat. Reservations: barbombon.com.
Visit the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce website for a list of participating restaurants.