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Jul 27, 2012 02:59 PM

Best latin food in Chelsea

Chelsea abounds with latin restaurants, from Mexican to Peruvian. Does anyone have any suggestion about where to start?

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  1. Likes me some Pollos a la brasa El Chalan.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ScotchandSirloin

      We really like El Chalan's pollo. I decided it was actually better than the Macchu Pichu pollo but MP is sooo much closer for us.

    2. Have you tried a search? I know galangatron and itaunas - whose recommendations I would follow without a moment's hesitation! - have posted a number of times...

      1. Sorta like asking what's the best Chinese food in Chinatown... heck, there's a lotta good Latin food in Chelsea; what do you like, give us more info... do some searching and ask a question or two.

        1. I think its pretty reasonable to ask for some ideas to start as Chelsea is less well covered than other neighborhoods and a lot of restaurants there change with time. I haven't done much eating in Chelsea in the last 2 years and what I have was mostly limited to chopped liver, corned beef, hot salami, and Dr brown's from Arthurs so I am going to skip some which may not still be around.

          I like Las Carnitas de Montecristo for overall Salvadoran food. They do a really nice job pounding out flap meat for carne asada, have good beans, great gorditas, good chicken tamales, and everything is good overall although I don't like how they do chicarron. That is ok, because a few doors down is Latino Restaurant which is just a storefront serving Dominican food which has decent chicharron de puerco and is decent for inexpensive takeout (yellow rice, gallina, guisado de cabrito), but its pretty much a greasy spoon. Although these are a bit further from other options, there is also a nice Guatemalan bakery on the same block too (and a hip hop/latino club nearby).

          El Charrito across from Pollo Campero may have the largest Salvadoran menu so I end up there a lot, particularly for a salvadoran breakfast The offer carne deshilada con huevo (shredded beef which is one of my favorite salvadoran dishes), as well as a nice selection of beans including pureed small red salvadoran beans (the waitress called them frijol color, but I haven't heard them called that anywhere else). They also probably have the best Salvadoran chicarron of what I have tried in Chelsea but I prefer Montecristo in Somerville for that.

          Speaking of Pollo Campero that is definitely worth inclusion on your list, although its no longer the only local outlet. I also enjoy El Chalan and they are setup to grill over charcoal in Chelsea, although I have seen them sitting prepared and reheated before. I also have done better overall with meats with their East Boston location, but its pretty good overall particularly for the pollo. I would keep your eyes out for salvadoran restaurants soup specials like "caldo de gallina india" which would be made more with a fresh chicken, and I think El Santaneco has a few soups on weekends (but not the gallina) as well as more small bites -- its not my favorite overall, but does have an interesting selection. They do have Salvadoran chilaquiles among other antejitos, juices, sweets. Chilindrina was one that I thought looked really interesting, but never made it back there but galangatron has for their Honduran specials which sound really good. Nazaca (Peruvian) is something that was new on my most recent visit and I plan to check it out soon. Las Palamas is fine for Columbian food, but there are better options elsewhere in the area.

          I enjoy Bella Isla and it has the advantage of easy parking. They have some inexpensive lunch plates, but I usually go for a few slices of pernil, a mofongo, maybe chicharron de pollo (Latino Restaurant is better for puerco/cerdo and I go there more often).

          Most of the places I knew having specific Mexican entrees as opposed to Salvadoran, Gutemalan, Hondoran have closed -- but there are usually a few. Sabor Especial and King Tacos are reasonable for basic tacos, pupusas but I haven't tried much more. Casa Mariachi has something from a wide range of central and south american countries, but I think its either Guatemalan or Salvadoran owned.

          6 Replies
          1. re: itaunas

            Agree that East Boston El Chalan may be slightly better than the one in Chelsea.

            1. re: itaunas

              Thank-you iguanas: Your varied suggestions were exactly what I was hoping for.

              I've tried Pollo Campero, which rivals Pollo Tropical in Florida for 'fast' latin food. Also, Tu Casa on Broadway, fresh and flavorful. I surprising,really liked Taco Mex at Maverick Station. I had a Colombia breakfast with great rice and beans, eggs with tomatoes and grilled sausage.

              Do you have any ideas about Puerto Rican or Cuban food in Chelsea or East Boston?

              1. re: Lu Bing

                Lu Bing thanks for the new ideas. Not certain about East Boston, but Chelsea/Everett has Bella Isla and Don Frito. I cover some of the differences between them in the thread below.


                1. re: itaunas

                  Hi ituanas: We just tried El Nazca cafe on fifth st in Chelsea. Very good. We had a nice selection of Peruvian appetizers and a main dish of of seafood marinated as ceviche then lightly fried, tasty. I loved the Mate tea i had, also. I thought the mofongo (more Puerto Rican than Peruvian) was great.

                  Lu Bing

                  1. re: Lu Bing

                    Lu Bing I also ate ate Nazca last week and started a post but haven't finished it. The takeout menu is a mix of Puerto Rican/Caribbean and Peruvian, but they have a larger a la carte Peruvian menu at the restaurant so we just ate off that. I like that they offered the ceviche fried as well as a bunch of combinations of different orders, but had some mixed luck with the jalea... but great fried fish (in my case not marinated, the waitress said she had some nice fresh pescado).

                    1. re: itaunas

                      Oh cool! Will have to give this a try --- always exciting when there is more Peruvian food in the Boston area. itaunas, have you tried Mixtura in Somerville?