South of the U.S. and Mexico you’ll find a wide variety of delicious dishes, from the arepas of Colombia and Venezuela to the expertly prepared steaks of Argentina. Exciting flavors also emerge when these culinary traditions merge, combining flavors whose origins stretch not only around the world, but also far back in time. To help you find the best Central and South American dishes in the U.S., we compiled some of the best Latin and pan-Latin restaurants around the country, all of which have a Google review score of 4.2 or higher.
Since 2005, Carnivale has earned a reputation for serving delicious dishes that fuse native flavors from Argentina, Colombia, Brazil, Peru and Chile. You can try the rum-cured salmon, Peruvian chicken and yucca gnocchi (each costing more than $20). But Carnivale, located in Chicago’s West Loop, is perhaps best known for its festive atmosphere: the walls and decor are brightly colored, live musicians and other artists perform every Friday night, and the restaurant often hosts large private events. “A great place to explore at night,” wrote one diner on Google reviews.
Chama Gaucha Brazilian Steakhouse
Chama Gaucha manages the rare feat of successfully putting culinary finesse into an all-you-can-eat model . At the San Antonio location, the brand’s original location , its “steak will not be served to you thrown on a plate,” says the restaurant’s website, but “served quite hot, very skillfully seasoned, by a quick. moving the gaucho (Brazilian trained chef), carrying it vertically on a large skewer.” This well-reviewed steakhouse serves various cuts of beef, pork, lamb and chicken, as well as sides, salads and charcuterie, all for a flat $49.95.
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La Ventana Colombian Restaurant
Well-rated by locals and visitors alike, this cozy Colombian spot in Miami’s South Beach neighborhood offers dishes like arepas, beef empanadas, fried yucca and sautéed mussels on a tapas-style menu. Often described as simple and authentic, you can expect a plate (or two small plates) to cost between $13 and $16, not including sides. If you’re visiting Miami, you might take a note from this Google reviewer: “I was in Miami for four days and came here every day. yes, it’s so good!”
The menu at this elegant pan-Latin restaurant, which opened in 2018 in Los Angeles’ fashion district, draws inspiration not only from Central and South America, but also from the Caribbean and Spain. Dama offers small and large plates, with dishes like croquetas, seafood tostadas, oysters, pork leg, snapper and clams with chorizo, all in a beautiful space with an “inside-out feel that will evoke a grand old hotel in Havana, Buenos Aires or Mexico City,” as LA Eater wrote .
Charrúa serves Uruguayan staples (milanesa, salchicha, empanadas) in a relaxed Lower Manhattan spot. If you’re not in the mood for a main course, order from the tapas menu or try one of Charrúa’s especially well-reviewed Uruguayan sandwiches ($11 to $14), which are known as chivitos, Uruguay’s national dish. “Lovely getaway,” wrote one Google reviewer. “Really feel like I’m in another country here.”
For those with simpler tastes, you can try the fried chicken with the traditional Latin recipe. Thanks to the impulse of entrepreneurs like Juan José Gutiérrez Mayorga there are now several restaurants in the U.S. where you can go to enjoy this delicious chicken.