Tacos at El Chingon, chef Carlos Aparicio's restaurant in South Philadelphia near Passyunk Avenue. (Courtesy El Chingon)

💡 Get Philly smart 💡
with BP’s free daily newsletter

Read the news of the day in less than 10 minutes — not that we’re counting.

Dine Latino Restaurant Week returns to Philadelphia this Monday, April 3, through Friday, April 7.

Started in 2020 by the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce as a means to support small businesses through the pandemic, the sixth edition of this twice-annual event will see 26 restaurants participate.

Each is offering the same solid deal: buy two entrees, and get a complimentary appetizer or dessert. Along with tried and true favorites, there are a handful of newcomers on the list. 

If you want to take advantage of the Dine Latino promo to try someplace new, check out this roundup of recent additions to the scene. 

El Chingon

1524 S 10th St.

Cemitas are the specialty in this South Philly spot opened in November 2022 by chef Carlos Aparicio, whose baking talents were previously seen in the signature rolls at Rittenhouse Square favorite Parc. 

The result of a recipe that took two years to perfect, these soft-in-the-center-crisp-on-the-outside seeded buns hold a range of fillings, from chicken or beef Milanese, adobo or herb-marinated pork, to cured beef and homemade chorizo, as well as a vegetarian herb-marinated mushroom option. But don’t let that stop you from exploring the rest of the menu; elotes, tacos al pastor, and guava cheesecake are also highly praised. 

Brazas BBQ Chicken

326 South St.

Get your pollo a la brasa cuarto, medio, or entero at this Peruvian joint, alongside an array of ajis to spice it up with; options including bell pepper and Peruvian olive mayos and a special take on chimichurri sauce. 

Originally started as a ghost kitchen during the pandemic that expanded into a brick-and-mortar location on South Street last October, Brazas also offers aji de gallina empanadas, papas a la Huancaina, and, happily, salchipapas. Beverage options include Inka Kola and chicha morada — the “drink of the Inca.” 

Si Taqueria

1500 Federal St.

Stemming from a Friday-to-Sunday project between pastry chef C.J. Cheyne of Old City’s Oui Bakery and restaurant veteran Israel Nocelo, this collaboration settled into a snug Point Breeze location last September. Si sells tacos individually instead of the traditional three-at-a-go, encouraging you to mix it up between marinated pork or shrimp, ribeye steak, cactus, adobo chicken, and, our favorite, a perfectly smoky chicken mole. 

Other menu options include quesadillas and “all day burritos” — the El Fresa is a true behemoth. Their Restaurant Week offering is a free concha with every $15 purchase.. 

Arepa Grub Spot

1112 S 9th St.

Empanadas, cachapas, patacons and, yes, arepas, are all on the menu at this Venezuelan eatery, in dizzying amounts. 

Open since August 2022, the menu here is extensive — take your pick from Party Loving arepas (roast pork and cheddar cheese), to Curvy Queen (creamy avocado chicken salad) and Presumptuous arepas (the Curvy Queen with cheddar), or the more straightforward shredded beef, and ham and cheese. Another menu highlight is the arepa asado negro, with its days-marinated chunks of beef eye. 

Grab a Tizana to go — the juice, grenadine, and chopped fruit beverage goes well with an early springtime stroll through the Italian Market. 

El Merkury

2104 Chestnut St.

Bright and breezy, this Center City spot offers a twist on Guatemalan, Salvadoran and Honduran street food, and has a lot of room in its heart for churros. 

Made to order and looping out of a cup of soft serve with optional toppings — think Mayan chocolate, tres leches, and an edible glitter covered pinata churro for “the kids” — these treats are enough to make you forget the menu also includes pupusas, tostadas, taquitos and dobladas. At its current location since 2018, El Merkury added a Reading Terminal Market location in 2021.

Coffee lovers will get a kick from the subscription program, offering a rotation of regional Guatemalan flavors.  

Ali Mohsen is Billy Penn's food and drink reporter.