Neighborhood Kitchens

Neighborhood Kitchens Visits Orinoco

By Margarita Martinez

June 13, 2012


Margarita with Chef Carlos Walter Rodriguez (Photo: Patricia Alvarado)

BOSTON — I had the absolute pleasure of visiting Orinoco for the first time a few weeks ago. The food was outstanding. You can almost taste the love and creativity that goes into each dish! Yet, what I was most taken with on my visit was not so much the food, but that over the course of just six years, Orinoco has become a neighborhood institution.

An artful gift from the South End Knitters. (Photo:Patricia Alvarado)
As we walked over to the restaurant with our camera, a mother of three stopped us and asked us what we were shooting (a common occurrence with Neighborhood Kitchens). When we told her we were there to visit Orinoco, she replied, “I love Orinoco! We live in the neighborhood and it is one of our favorite restaurants.” Okay, sure. This is one family’s regular chow spot.

Then later on as I was getting to know Manager Andres Branger and Executive Chef Carlos Rodriguez, on the corner across the street from the restaurant, countless pedestrians walked up to us and told Andres and Carlos about their favorite dishes and how much they love coming to the restaurant. I noticed a beautifully knitted sleeve on the Orinoco lamppost and learned that the South End Knitters made it as gift of appreciation. Even the local dogs love and know Andres! Always the gentleman, Andres told the exuberant and disappointed pooch that he could not play today as he was visiting with me.
Andres and Carlos have so many stories about their regular community patrons, including a very special marriage proposal. I’ll let Andres tell you the story when you next visit Orinoco, but I will say that it did include some of the family pictures hanging on the wall of the restaurant. I suppose that captures the essence of Orinoco for me. The food is exciting and different, but you feel like you are getting to try it as the welcomed guest in the home of your neighbors Andres and Carlos.


South End
477 Shawmut Avenue
Boston, MA 02118
(617) 369-7075

Harvard Square
56 JFK Street
Cambridge, MA
(617) 354-6900

Brookline Village
22 Harvard Street
Brookline, MA 02445
(617) 232-9505


Watch Neighborhood Kitchens online to find out more about Orinoco and the South End.


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About Neighborhood Kitchens

Building on a 35-year history of producing Latino and multicultural programming, WGBH’s award winning La Plaza team has a new offering — Neighborhood Kitchens, a series about the exploration of culture through food. Every week the show offers a unique window into immigrant communities in New England.

Saturdays at 4pm on WGBH 2
Fridays at 7:30pm on WGBH 44

About the Author
Margarita Martinez Margarita Martinez
Margarita Martinez grew up in the Bronx, NY and Ossining, NY with a Puerto Rican father and a Franco-American mother. She now calls New England home. Margarita has always had an insatiable appetite for travel and food. She made her first empanada as a teenager visiting Argentina, satisfied her sweet tooth with poffertjes and stroopwafels while studying in Holland, engorged herself on Thai street food for a month in Bangkok, and continues to search for authentic international cuisines in the Northeast. Margarita loves to discover new ingredients, flavors, and cooking approaches that she can bring to her own home kitchen.

On the Go

In each episode, host Margarita Martínez visits a different ethnic restaurant and learns three delicious recipes from the chef. She also explores the restaurant’s neighborhood, discovering hidden gems along the way. Join her as she learns about new ingredients, new cultures, and new neighborhoods. ¡Hasta pronto!

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Find a Neigbhorhood Kitchen
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Margarita's Neighborhood Visits

»Boston: Bristol Lounge
»Boston's South End: Orinoco, Teranga and Oishii
»Boston's Back Bay: Casa Romero
»Boston's North End: Taranta
»Roxbury: Merengue
»Boston's Beacon Hill: Scampo
»All Around Boston: Mei Mei Street Kitchens
»Cambridge: Muqueca, Oleana, and Sandrine's
Somerville: Dosa Temple
»Lawrence: Cafe Azteca
»Lowell: Simply Khmer

»Fresh from the Fish Market
»Jamaica Plain: Tres Gatos
»Dorchester: Pho Le and Cafe Polonia
»Medford: Bistro 5
»Portland, ME: Emilitsa
»Newport, RI: Tallulah on Thames
»Pawtucket, RI: Rasoi


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