October 20, 2017
25 Summit Avenue
Summit, NJ 07901
  • Opened: 2014
  • Cost: $
  • Credit Cards: All Major
  • Alcohol: None
  • Parking: Street, Metered
  • Take Out: Yes

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October 20, 2017


Latin Bistro is a wonderfully traditional Costa Rican “soda” serving breakfast, lunch and (early) dinner in Summit, NJ.

Pinto con Huevo

In Costa Rica, a “soda” is a small restaurant or lunch counter serving typical fare. Latin Bistro, a simple restaurant and bakery close to downtown Summit and Overlook Hospital, delivers the traditional soda experience.

A painted mural of pastoral Central America covers one wall. On a recent Saturday morning, a wall-mounted television was tuned to Spanish League soccer – a game featuring Real Madrid’s goalie Keylor Navas, the Costa Rican star headed to next year’s World Cup (unlike Tim Howard and the U.S. men’s team!). The handful of tables were full and the counter did a brisk take out business.

Arroz con Pollo

Latin Bistro’s extensive menu includes appetizers like empanadas, tamales, ceviche, fried yuca, and chifrijo (an addictive bowl of beans, pork and fresh salsa). There are hearty casados – beef, chicken or fish served with rice, black beans and fried plantains (the Costa Rican version of “meat plus three”); heaping rice dishes; and ample breakfast plates like pinto (rice and beans) with eggs.

Don’t leave without trying or taking home one of the homemade bakery items. Tres leches cake, arroz con leche (rice pudding), and bread pudding (budín) are all excellent options.

Not far from Latin Bistro is EthnicNJ’s favorite spot for Costa Rican food, The Banderas (which features a larger, more detailed Costa Rican mural in the dining room). It shouldn’t be surprising that Summit is an excellent destination to sample Costa Rican cuisine. While there are only about 20,000 New Jerseyans who claim Costa Rican ancestry (according to the U.S. Census), Summit is home to the largest number and the highest percentage of Costa Rican residents in the state.