By Claire Lindsey, Journalism Intern
June is dedicated to honoring immigrants who have come to America from countries around the world. Much of America’s food, styles, and customs have been drawn from the culture that immigrants bring with them. This month, take some time to immerse yourself in the various Latino traditions that Pittsburgh has to offer.
One way to celebrate Latino heritage is to visit one of the many restaurants that have been built and run by immigrants. If you’re curious about what authentic Mexican food is really like, pay a visit to La Palapa.
Nestled in the bustling South Side of Pittsburgh, you will find La Palapa. Here, food is not only meant to enjoy, but also to show the guests the charm and warmth of Mexican cuisine. With walls decorated with lights and art, a staff who is eager to serve, and music to lift your spirits, La Palapa creates an experience that can’t be beat.
The menu offers refreshing soups, salads, and appetizers to prepare you for your meal. There is even an option to have guacamole made at your table, right before your eyes.
The entrees feature chicken, pork, fish, and beef in an array of different styles. There are also vegetarian and gluten free dishes, making sure that everyone has something to savor. After the meal, treat yourself to some churros, a slice of tequila cake, or other sweet indulgences on their dessert menu.
La Palapa is also known for their extensive drink menu. Guests have the choice of local and Mexican beers, mezcal cocktails, wine, and more.
More information about their specialties, like brunch and happy hour, can be found on their website. To experience La Palapa to the fullest extent, though, you’ll have to visit and see for yourself. They can be found at 2224 E Carson Street, and their hours are as follows:
- Monday: closed
- Tuesday-Thursday & Sunday: 12-9 PM
- Friday & Saturday: 12-10 PM
East Carson Street is home to another opportunity for an exciting, flavorful meal. Cilantro & Ajo specializes in Venezuelan street food. It was founded by a couple of talented chefs who had to leave their home in Venezuela, as the country was experiencing economic issues. They have started a new life here in the states, and have made it their goal to share the charisma of Venezuelan food with our city.
The menu includes all the powerful staples of Venezuelan food: plantains, yucca, avocados, and of course – cilantro and garlic! Whether you are a meat lover, a vegetarian or vegan, or have an insatiable sweet tooth, Cilantro & Ajo has a plate waiting for you.
The restaurant’s address is 901 E Carson Street, and their hours are:
- Sunday: 11:30 AM – 6:00 PM
- Monday: closed
- Tuesday-Thursday: 11:30 AM – 8:00 PM
- Friday & Saturday: 11:30 AM – 9:00 PM
Yet another must-try restaurant to add to your list is Casa Brasil. Owner and chef Keyla Cook offers her guests a menu of warm and welcoming flavors, with vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free options. Casa Brasil also has items to purchase that allow her customers to bring the spirit of Brazil with them when they leave, like t-shirts, their world-famous hot sauce, and pre-made dishes that you can bake in your own home!
Casa Brasil is found at 5904 Bryant Street in Highland Park. At this time, guests can make a reservation for patio dining or order takeout. The hours are:
- Sunday & Monday: 4:30 – 9:00 PM
- Tuesday: closed
- Wednesday-Friday: 4:30 – 9:00 PM
- Saturday: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Immigrant Heritage Month may be coming to a close, but these restaurants stay open to satisfy your cravings. Gather your friends and family and stop in for a bite to eat oe explore other great immigrant-owned restaurants throughout our region.
While you’re enjoying your meal, take a moment to appreciate those who have shared their culture and customs with the Pittsburgh community. Eat up!