Puerto Rican Chicken and Empanadas From Isla Nena

I wanted to do a little pork taste testing in the North of Kensington area, comparing El Principe, a Dominican restaurant I enjoyed a while back, to Isla Nena, a Puerto Rican spot the next block over. Isla Nena’s slogan “sabor Boricua pa’que tu lo sepas” let us know to expect authentic Puerto Rican food. Two steam tables are on your right when you enter, but there are tables in the back for waiter service. On the menu you will find fried side dishes and meat and seafood entrees.

Starting with the empanadas is the right way to go (3 for $4.50). The beef and chicken versions were jam packed with an extremely moist meat mixture.

I ended up pointing at things from the steam table rather than ordering from the menu. So we ended up being very surprise at how cheap the bill was given that most entrees are listed from $7-9 dollars. Maybe there were some side dishes we missed out on by not ordering the platter, but instead we got a sampling of their meat entrees.

Chicharones were cheap at $3 but a little tough; I have had better.

The pernil was also shockingly cheap at $3 for a large plate. While  the meat was tender, it was extremely salty, and this is coming from a girl who loves salt.

Both the roast pork and the chicharones were better at El Principe.

The better choice was the fried chicken, also $3. A crackly skin coated the meaty breast and leg.

If you are even in the area, get into some empanadas and chicken at Isla Nena, then check out the pork at El Principe- the best of both worlds, because you deserve it.

THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • Great empanadas and fried chicken
  • Low prices for big plates of meat

THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • Over salted pork and tough chicharones
  • Some problems with communication if you can’t speak Spanish

Isla Nena Restaurant, 177 W Lehigh Ave., 215 634-1081



Leave a Reply

You must log in or register to post a comment.