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11 Great Restaurants In Philadelphia's El Centro de Oro Neighborhood

Amazing food in the heart of Philadelphia's hub of Latinx culture...

Taqueria La Raza Photo by Neal Santos

Travel Responsibly: As the region recovers from COVID-19, safety guidelines have evolved at attractions, restaurants, shops and hotels. Advance tickets or reservations remain recommended or necessary at many spots. Your best bet: Check online or call ahead.

El Centro de Oro, centered at Fifth Street and Lehigh Avenue in North Philadelphia, is a major hub of Latinx culture in Philadelphia.

Peppered with faux palm trees and “golden” details on the sidewalks, the distinctive block is home to residents from almost every Latin American country (with a strong concentration of Puerto Rican families), nonprofit organizations and Latinx-owned businesses — including many excellent restaurants, cafes and bakeries.

Note that dining in Greater Philadelphia is a little different at the moment. Most restaurants are open. Some are offering outdoor seating with safety guidelines in place, while others are doing takeout, pickup or delivery only. Your best bet: Check online or call ahead to see what to expect.

Here are some of the best and most-popular Latinx dining destinations to experience a rich array of flavors and traditional plates in El Centro de Oro and just beyond in Fairhill and nearby North Philadelphia neighborhoods.

Note: This article — which was last updated on January 4, 2021 — is arranged in alphabetical order.
01

El Bohio

For 20 years, this spot has served authentic tastes of Puerto Rico, dishing out salads, sandwiches and small plates, including fried plantain chips, fried cassava root, beer-brined wings and croquetas.

Where: El Bohio, 2746 N. 5th Street

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02

La Caribeña Bakery

— Photo by N. Santos

Lovers of freshly baked carbs with a Caribbean twist, rejoice: There’s a place for you to fill up with doughy, flakey, saccharine goodness close by to El Centro de Oro. Visitors and residents from Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Cuba and all around Philadephia travel to this bakery because it produces hard-to-find traditional pastries and breads (like pastelitos de guayaba and pan sobao).

Where: La Caribeña Bakery, 3447 N. 2nd Street

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03

Delicias Bakery & Delicatessen

Food at Delicias in Philadelphia Food at Delicias in Philadelphia
— Photo by N. Santos

More than just traditional wedding or birthday cakes, Delicias specializes in building colorful, imaginative, even jaw-dropping custom cakes that taste, as the name implies, delicious.

Where: Delicias Bakery & Delicatessen, 2861 N. 5th Street

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04

Freddy & Tony’s Restaurant

Traditional Puerto Rican home cooking at this friendly diner includes standout mofongo — mashed green plantains stuffed with pork, smothered in gravy and served in a mortar and pestle — along with rice and beans, deep-fried empanadas, and homemade flan.

Where: Freddy & Tony's Restaurant, 201 W. Allegheny Avenue

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05

El Principe Restaurant

Dominican residents in Philadelphia who yearn for an authentic taste of home flock to this spot to get their craving fix. Expect plates packed with hearty mangú, rice, queso frito, beans and salchichón, best enjoyed with a fresh-squeezed jugo de parcha.

Where: El Principe Restaurant, 115 W. Lehigh Avenue

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06

La Sierra Restaurant

La Sierra Restaurant, with its popular trays-to-order stuffed to the brim with snacks, appetizers or main courses, is a one-stop shop for Dominican food served in generous portions. Paella, mofonguitos, longaniza, chicharrones, moro de habichuelas rojas, tilapia frita — La Sierra’s got it, be it a personal serving or platter for large groups.

Where: La Sierra Restaurant, 3401 N. Front Street

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07

Taqueria La Raza

Food at Taqueria La Raza in Philadelphia Food at Taqueria La Raza in Philadelphia
— Photo by N. Santos

Hungry diners searching for fresh, non-Americanized or “Tex Mex” Mexican food can find it at this spot that not only specializes in tacos, chilaquiles, burritos and chimichangas, but also serves house-made horchatas and mango shakes. Bonus? Complimentary salsa and chips come with every order.

Where: Taqueria La Raza, 227 W. Allegheny Avenue

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08

Vivaldi Restaurant

This hole-in-the-wall tucked on Fifth Street may not serve its Dominican dishes with frills, but that doesn’t mean that seasoning or tang is compromised. Expect a breakfast, lunch or early dinner that packs a lot of flavor — such as arroz con gandules, a customer favorite  — and is generously portioned at an affordable price.

Where: Vivaldi Restaurant, 2920 N. 5th Street

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Nearby Flavors

09

El Coqui Panaderia y Reposteria

Food from El Coqui in Philadelphia Food from El Coqui in Philadelphia
— Photo by N. Santos

Named after the teeny native Puerto Rican frog that croaks the sound coquí at night, this restaurant located just outside the Fairhill neighborhood features almost every delicious bite that makes cuisine from La Isla del Encanto truly enchanting. Sandwiches, pastries and savory alcapurrias can all be found here.

Where: El Coqui Panaderia y Reposteria, 3528 I Street

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10

Porky’s Point Restaurant

Porky’s serves up sweet, hot and zesty eats (like their signature pulled barbecue pork sandwich) at this popular spot just a few blocks north of El Centro de Oro. Crunchy, garlicky tostones stand in for the typical potato-based fries, adding a pleasant bonus to a tasty meal.

Where: Porky's Point Restaurant, 3824 N. 5th Street

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11

Tierra Colombiana Restaurant

Four tropical drinks with straw Four tropical drinks with straw
— Photo courtesy Tierra Colombiana

Authentic international Latin and Caribbean cuisine draws patrons to this cozy, tropical space just north of El Centro de Oro from 8 a.m. through late night. Guests can enjoy musical performances, bottle service and more upstairs at Tierra Nightclub — a top spot for Latin night life — when the City of Philadelphia’s COVID-19 mitigation protocols allow.

Where: Tierra Colombiana Restaurant, 4535 N. 5th Street

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El Bohio
La Caribeña Bakery
Delicias Bakery & Delicatessen
Freddy & Tony’s Restaurant
El Principe Restaurant
La Sierra Restaurant
Taqueria La Raza
Vivaldi Restaurant

Nearby Flavors

El Coqui Panaderia y Reposteria
Porky’s Point Restaurant
Tierra Colombiana Restaurant
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