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Alegria Cocina Latina Review - Latin Cuisine and Salsa Dancing in the heart of Long Beach

By Jeff Rector

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Alegria Cocina Latina is one of Long Beach’s most unique and dynamic restaurants.  Featuring a dizzying array of tapas (perfect for sharing), numerous Latin American lunch and dinner selections, soups made daily from scratch and entrée salads; the menu has earned critical acclaim for its bold flavors, exquisite textures, originality and ability to satisfy the palates of discriminating diners. 


Executive Chef Walter Cotto puts the final touches on a sumptuous Buffet

I enjoyed a delicious assortment of appetizers served up by the friendly, knowledgeable and energetic staff. These sumptuous delights included, Carnitas de Pato (Roasted duck carnitas on a sweet ripe plantain tortilla and topped with feta chesse), El Pepinto (Ahi Tuna tartar flavored with Harissa in a stuffed cucumber), Hole Mole (mini corn tortilla topped with shredded chicken in a mole sauce). But my personal favorite was the Humitas Chilenas (sweet corn tamale soufflé, topped with a sautéed shrimp in a corn cayenne pepper sauce). Yummy.


Alegria Cocina Latina is famous for its award winning sangria recipe that has been celebrated since the restaurants opening in 1994 and features carefully selected red wine, delicate Brandy, and a touch of sweet vermouth. The sangria is then infused with delectable fresh fruit including pears, apples, and oranges and then aged for two weeks to seal in the flavor. When you finish the sangria, you can then treat yourself to the amazing wine infused fruit. Delicious.


Alegria is designed with an eclectic Latin/Mediterranean flavor with charming décor, including fanciful painted masks reminiscent of Carnivale in Rio De Janiero or New Orleans famous Mardi Gras. As a beautiful accent, the floors are made of multi-colored, hand-cut mosaic tile and add a festive ambience to the surroundings. The 170-seat eatery features both indoor and out door patio dining.  If you want to enjoy California’s beautiful year-round weather or catch a glimpse of downtown Long Beach’s bustling nightlife, the street-side outdoor patio is perfect.


The streetside patio at Alegria

Executive Chef Walter Cotta creates amazing, unforgettable, gourmet cuisine at two of Long Beach’s most beloved and critically acclaimed dining establishments, L’Opera Ristorante and Alegria Cocina Latina. Walter Cotta has his hands full ensuring that guests’ expectations are exceeded with every meal.  Though never formally trained, the El Salvadoran native worked at numerous Southern California restaurants including Barsac and La Loggia in Studio City and Sostanza in Santa Monica . When Alegria made its debut in 1994, Cotta was tapped by owners Enzo DeMuro and Terry Antonelli to develop the menu of tapas and Latin American lunch and dinner selections.  The restaurant went on to earn favorable reviews for its bold flavors, exquisite textures, originality and ability to satisfy the palates of discriminating diners and Cotta was recognized for his extraordinary talent.


In addition to award-winning cuisine and Latin libations, Alegria is also known for its nightly live entertainment that frequently features Flamenco guitarists and dancers who invite guests to join them on stage for lively performances.  The restaurant also boasts Salsa nights on Tuesdays featuring complimentary dance instruction by Astro from 8:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.  On Friday evenings, Alegria becomes Club Euro complete with top-notch live entertainment and ½ off Sangria from 10:30 p.m. – midnight.



Sunday-Thursdays, enjoy Alegria’s Late Happy Hour from 9:oopm –Close with ½ off appetizers and $5 specialty drinks including Capirinha a traditional, light, sweet and refreshing Brazilian drink made with Cachracha (imported from Brazil), cane sugar and served with a splash of soda water and fresh-crushed limes. Fresh Mojitos are also a favorite along with a full bar and an extensive selection of premium wines. Whether you’re looking for a great Happy Hour, exciting nightlife, or just a delicious meal with family or friends, Alegria is the ticket.


Alegria is located in the heart of downtown Long Beach at 115 Pine Ave. For more information, complete menu and a schedule of nightly events, call (562)-436-3388 or visit the website at www.alegriacocinalatina.com


Published on May 16, 2011

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