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Latino Food in Stamford/Fairfield County?

I know about the standard (but excellent) Ole Mole, Fiesta, and Brasitas, and adamclyde suggests Casa Villa, Antojitos Chapines for Guatemalan, Los Girasoles, and Mi Terruno for Columbian. Any feedback on other good places, especially the more obscure ones?
I know about Boxcar Cantina in G'wich and Viva Zapata (yuck) in Westport. What are the undiscovered gems?

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  1. Stella's Bakery is very good near the Harley Davidson store is very good.

    1. Just stumbled on a site for a Mexican place on Atlantic. Sorry to say I know nothing about it. The stamford-downtown website does say their food is cooked from scratch daily.

      Tacos Guadalejara:

      Also - ST, have you tried Valencia in Norwalk yet?

      7 Replies
      1. re: amanda3571

        I went there a long time ago and was very underwhelmed. But, it's been a good 5 years, which is about two lifetimes in Mexican Restaurant years.

        1. re: adamclyde

          oh, I just remembered another one. Bachata, which cteats (a poster here) found a long time ago: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/255995

        2. re: amanda3571

          Tacos Guadalejara is still not very good. I'll walk over for lunch when I have a desperate craving for "Mexican" food, but I'd never go for any other reason.

          The dishes are poorly prepared and not very flavorful.

          1. re: Zobot

            I figured it probably wasn't very good since I've never seen anyone mention it. Thought I'd throw it out there though.

          2. re: amanda3571

            I haven't- what's kind of pathetic is that I lived around the corner from it for a year. I guess I wasn't as into food until I started writing about Stamford, and now I'm maniacal at trying to eat in Stamford whenever possible. I'll probably head out to Casa Villa or Antojitos Chapines today!
            Bachata sounds interesting, and parking would be easy since that big parking lot is there. For Antojitos or Casa Villa, I figure I'll just park on the St. by that little playground.
            Gracias! I'm putting the restaurants on my "plan to eat at every restaurant in Stamford" list.

            1. re: Stamford Talk

              Bachata seems mostly Dominican, but I could be wrong. *I believe it is the name of a Dominican dance). It is small with perhaps 6 or 8 tables. There is a steam table with about two dozen choices. There is also a menu and kinda/sorta waitress service.

              I really love the pernil (roast pork), which appears to be a daily option (but could just be weekends, which is when I mostly go there). They also have several kinds of meat, a fish, veggies, rices and starches, etc. You tell them what you want and they put together a plate. They have a soda's and fruit juices in a fridge.

              They have a rice soup with either chicken or shrimp that is really good, rich flavorful and perfect for a cold day. One of my kids obsesses about it. You need to order from the menu for this. I haven't gone deep into the menu, but there are other pan-latin type entrees like arroz con camarones, and some sandwiches that look interesting.

              In my opinion, the food at Bachata is much better than the americanized Brasitas down the street and less than half the price.

            2. re: amanda3571

              Chalk up another vote for Valencia- love it. It's Venezuelan, in East Norwalk.

            3. Went to Antojitos, staff very nice, food good but heavy! I got a few things to sample. Grilled chicken was very good and probably one of the healthier options. The pupusa (I think that's what the cheese pancake was) was great, and its tomato sauce so tasty.
              I'm not sure what the third thing was, as I think the owner whipped it up since there were no tamales (solamente viernes y sabado!) on Thursday. It may have been a tamale though. It was basically corn cake filled with pork wrapped in a corn husk. That was heavy and my least favorite.
              I'd definitely go back to try more options, and would bring a friend there for lunch. There are about 16 seats and it was getting quite busy at 12:30!

              2 Replies
              1. re: Stamford Talk

                glad you liked it. latin lunches are definitely heavier - more so than dinner. Hence the need for a siesta!

                1. re: adamclyde

                  por cierto! I wonder if I can find lighter dishes there. But first, I have some other Latin places to try...

              2. RIO, in norwalk. i grew up in southern california and this is the most authentic baja style restaurant. the decor is great.....pinatas hang from the ceiling and all of the wait staff speak fluent spanish....it's located on connecticut ave. in the best buy shopping center....right next to the old "rag shop" store.....enjoy!

                6 Replies
                1. re: redfoxmom

                  Wow, thanks. I've noticed RIO when eating at the Post Road Diner, but it's not had enough curb appeal to actually drag me in the door. I'll have to check it out.

                  1. re: Zobot

                    i agree....for years we noticed RIO, but never went in for the same reason....but then a friend mentioned how it was her favorite restaurant and we decided to try it....omg...it is the best! my hubby's a vegetarian and he loves it too.....i reccomend everything....:)

                    1. re: redfoxmom

                      What kind of baja-centric dishes do they offer? I'm intrigued. I'd love to find a place that sells a real fish taco. I haven't found one anywhere (ANYWHERE) worth eating west of california yet. I'm hoping they exist... just haven't found it.

                      Los Cabos in Norwalk was a huge disappointment to say the least.

                      1. re: adamclyde

                        i'm not sure about fish tacos....i'm not a big seafood person, but i do love the fish tacos found on rosarita beach :) but i find the beef....ground not shredded is as good as any roadside taco hut, and the enchilladas are very california style....cheesey and yummy! they even have a statue of a federale hyway patrol guy at the entrance, just like the ones who love to pull over touristas :)

                        1. re: redfoxmom

                          I grew up eating those fish tacos in rosarito...

                          thanks. I'll have to check it out soon.

                          1. re: adamclyde

                            didn't we all :).....and we still use our many baja bought blankets....lol. how did so many of us californians end up here?

                2. Don't go to Rio's for Mexican it is terrible and always overcrowded. You should try Acapulco in SoNo, they are open spring through autumn and are pretty good. However, I think Los Cabos on Westport Ave. in Norwalk is the best.
                  Brasitas in Stamford is okay, but a little over priced (they have opened another restaurant in Norwalk on Rt. 7 & have brunch now).
                  I like Valencia on Main St. in Norwalk that is very good and reasonably priced.

                  1. We usually hit Valencia Luncheria for brunch, then the new Chavin in Stamford for dinner with decent atmosphere. Fiesta is a few stores down. Mary Ann's just opened too in Stamford and they serve unlimited chips and salsa. Mi Terruno is good for their platter if you want something filling and cheap, but atmosphere is a little lacking.

                    How about Omar's and Casa Villa - do these places have decent atmosphere?

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: krystle920

                      Neither Omar's (Peruvian) nor Casa Villa (Mexican) have any atmosphere (actually, when casa villa reopened after the car went through their store, they did improve the interior so it now has a nicer paint job, etc.). However, the food at both far exceeds Fiesta and Mary Ann's. If the Stamford location bears any resemblance to the Port Chester one, Mary Ann's is barely edible Mexican food. A bad rendition of already bad american tex mex. You are almost better off at Taco Bell. And boy, that's saying something.

                      Fiesta can sometimes be good, but the lomo saltado I had at Omar's was some of the best I've had in a while. I've only been to Omar's once, so I don't know how consistent it was, but I was definitely impressed.

                      In response to serenasilver... I don't want to come across as overly negative, but I think Los Cabos is really bad Mexican. There's much better in Norwalk, Stamford and, most of all, Port Chester. If you want accessible Mexican, Ole Mole in Darien and Stamford is better than Los Cabos. But if you want some real authentic Mexican, there are lots of other places in the area that are even better.

                      1. re: adamclyde

                        Thanks, we've been debating whether to check out Omar's or not since we love lomo saltado. As long as there are seats like Mi Terruno, it should be ok. Maybe even byob?

                        Another place I tried recently is Costa Virgen on East Main. Very early 90s looking place, reminds you of when you were a kid eating with your relatives. Not bad lomo saltado and ceviche. The place was pretty empty when we were there though.

                        I agree that the best thing about Mary Ann's was the chips and salsa. How would you compare Ole Mole, Sierra Grille, Casa Villa, El Charrito, and other Mexican places in Stamford? Usually we go for dinner so the option to have a beer/wine is important and relatively ok atmosphere that doesn't make you want to just hurry up and leave immediately. We've also already been to Los Gemelos in Port Chester.

                        1. re: krystle920

                          From best to worst:

                          El Charrito - Casa Villa - Ole Mole - Sierra Grill - Mary Ann's. Note that in this list, good ambiance is in inverse order of quality food.

                          As for Omar's if I remember correctly, it was very clean, but generic laminate tables and chairs, with white walls.

                      2. re: krystle920

                        krystle920: What type of food is Chavin and were is it? Is there any Puerto Rican food in Stamford? I know there is in Norwalk, thanks

                        1. re: nbermas

                          Chavin is Peruvian. It's located on Atlantic Street where Zody use to be (prior to Zody, it was Wish Cafe). I would rank it higher than Fiesta, but it's not as good as some of the Peruvian places in Port Chester (Misti and Inca y Gaucho). Ambience is definitely nicer than Fiesta and we had great service. And yes, it's very clean.

                          1. re: gillyweed

                            Thank you , what to order at Peruvian places. what is there signature dishes? Thanks for the clean bill of health!

                            1. re: nbermas

                              Lomo Saltado and Pollo a la Brasa would probably be considered signature Peruvian dishes, but I am no expert. We were in Peru last month and found lomo saltado at nearly every restaraunt we were in. I prefer it to the Pollo a la Brasa, which can be a little plain for my taste (though that is what the green aji sauce is for!)

                              1. re: gillyweed

                                Thank you, would you consider the food to clean as far as not alot of cloppy sauces and doused in sauces an grease? i want to watch my intake and have some intestinal issues that I MUST be careful, thanks.

                                1. re: nbermas

                                  Pollo a la Brasa is a roasted chicken - no sauce and not a lot of grease (just the skin, which you can remove). Lomo Saltado is in a sauce, but I don't find it to be "cloppy" or greasy. It's essentially a beef stir fry, though it is served over french fries.

                      3. I like Los Molcajetes in East Norwalk. It's right over the bridge from SoNo on the left side. Great authentic mexican. Fresh made tortillas & all the sauces, YUM

                        1. We'll cast a vote for Valencia Luncheria, too. Went looking for ideas on CH this morning since we needed to be in Norwalk just after lunch. Not our usual stomping ground, so somehow we had never been there. Threads in some other posts said it isn't as good as it used to be. Wow. It must have been UNBELIEVABLY AMAZING in the past, 'cause we fell in love with it today.

                          Wanting to try a little of everything, we both ordered "the works" so we could share two different types of arepas and two different types of empanadas. The arepas were brie and mango (not necessarily traditional Venezuelan but OH SO GOOD) and shredded beef (maybe our favorite). The empanadas were chicken tomatillo and beef picadillo (or was that beef tomatillo and chicken picadillo???). Also both delicious. And we agree with all the posters who said the green sauce in the bottle on the table was an absolute must-add. (Reminded us of the green sauce at the Indian restaurant - the one we called "Palmolive Soap Sauce" growing up in NJ - tasted cilantro and I don't know what else but YUM.)

                          Also agreed with posters who raved about the ceviche. The little sampling that came with our meal was delicious, as were the plantains and the rice and beans. We shared a piece of flan for dessert. Don't know how we made room for it, but we managed.

                          Crowded? Small? Yes to both. Unbelievable friendly atmosphere? Definitely.

                          A new favorite for us - maybe we'll even let the kids come along next time!!!!

                          Thanks to all CHers who raved about it.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: hungrykids

                            hungrykids: The quality is incredible and the food is so clean tasting looking and innovative. I have been about 4 times now and they are nice, clean funny and it just great food. I wish we had a place like this in Stamford and I would be there at least twice a week. I also loved the arepa with mango and brie it was very yummy. There chicken salad is very good and I am very picky about anything made with mayo. If you like roasted pork try it because it was a winner also. Also there cute muffins were excellent too. Have a great sunny day!