In Europe mane people still think of Latin American cuisine as a wide selection of tacos, burritos and enchiladas topped with super spicy sauce and avocado paste ( guacamole) .
The reality is that dose dishes are actually from Mexico, and although they are delicious and original to this country, the rest of Latin America has a wide variety of foods that differ from coast to coast.
Below I have decided to highlight Top 20 most noticeable dishes from selected countries of South American continent.
1. Churrasco – Brazil
Churrasco is a Portuguese and Spanish term referring to beef or grilled meat and is a prominent feature in Latin American cuisine, popular in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Uruguay. A restaurant serving grilled meat is known as a churrascaria (steakhouse). Often restaurants serve all-you-can-eat churrasco buffets, with waiters slicing meat onto patrons’ plates – this is called espeto corrido or rodizio and is particularly popular in Brazil.
2. Empanada – Venezuela
Empanadas are like Venezuelan hot pockets or calzones. We usually serve them as appetizers (small ones), or as a main dish with delicious fillings and dipping sauces. The most common and easy to prepare are cheese empanadas, and they are the most popular amongst kids. They also have exquisite ones like lobster, or Cazón (small shark), and common ones like ground beef, shredded chicken, shredded meat. Then there are big ones like filled with Pabellón (Shredded beef, black beans and plantains), or combination ones like cheese and beef, or even ham and cheese. One thing is for sure; you will like them no matter what is in them.
3. Feijoada – Brazil
The traditional and national Brazilian dish feijoada is a stew of black beans cooked with meat (usually pork and/or beef) and served with rice, vegetables, assorted sausages such as chouriço, morcela (blood sausage) and farinheira, and a variety of side dishes including farofai (toasted manioc flour).
4. Bandeja Paisa – Colombia
Popular in the Antioquia department of Colombia and the Paisa region, bandeja paisa is a platter-style meal served in a large, oval-shaped tray and consisting of a generous variety of different foods. Traditional items include red beans cooked with pork, white rice, carne molida (ground meat), chicharrón, fried egg, plantain, chorizo, arepa (flatbread), hogao sauce, morcilla (black pudding), avocado and lemon.
5. Asado – Argentina
Asado is a term used for particular barbecue techniques, and also for the social event surrounding the barbecue. Considered Argentina’s national dish but also traditional to Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay, the main ingredient in asado is flank-cut beef ribs flavored with chimichurri and cooked on a grill called a parilla, or on an open fire. Asado also includes embutidos (cured sausages), different meats including poultry and sweetbreads, bread, mixed salad and verdurajo (grilled vegetables).
6. Curanto – Chile
The traditional food of Chiloé Archipelago off the coast of Chile, curanto is traditionally prepared in a hole dug in the ground and covered with stones which are heated until red. Typical ingredients include shellfish, meat, milcao and chapaleles (potato pancake/dumpling respectively), and other vegetables. Curanto preparation is specific: ingredients are covered with nalca (Chilean rhubarb) leaves, then covered with wet sacks, dirt and grass chunks, creating a pressure cooker effect.
7. Ceviche – Peru
Ceviche, or cebiche, is a dish of fresh raw fish cured in citrus juices (key lime or naranja agria – bitter orange) and spiced with ají (chili peppers). Onion, salt and pepper are also added to the marinade, which is often served in a small glass as an appetizer (leche de tigre or leche de panteraI) along with chunks of corn-on-the-cob and cooked sweet potato.
8. Encebollado – Ecuador
Encebollado means “cooked with onions” and is an Ecuadorian fish stew, commonly regarded as a national dish. Served with boiled cassava or yucca and picked red onion rings, encebollado also includes fresh tomato and spices such as pepper and coriander leaves. It is usually served with ripe avocado, plantain, popcorn, toasted corn nuts and/or bread.
9. Pabellón Criollo – Venezuela
Traditionally consumed for lunch and considered by many to be the Venezuelan national dish, pabellón criollo consists of rice with stewed black beans and shredded beef. Often served with tajadas (fried plantain slices) and/or a fried egg, some also add granulated sugar or queso palmita over the beans, or hot sauce over the meat. The beef can be replaced by chigüire (capybara), shredded caiman meat or freshwater fish depending on the region and season.
10. Ropa Vieja – Cuba
Literally translated as “old clothes”, ropa vieja’s shredded beef is indeed reminiscent of shredded rags of clothing. Ropa vieja is often accompanied by fried plantain, black beans and rice. An important flavoring is Cuban staple sofrito, made with sautéed onions, green peppers and garlic cooked with tomatoes. Extra additions to the sauce can include sausages or smoked meat, or wine, dry sherry or beer.
11. Mole Poblano – Mexico
Mole is a generic name for a number of sauces used in Mexican cuisine. Mole poblano is probably the best known of all mole varieties, and is often considered Mexico’s national dish. Containing around 20 ingredients, of which the most notable are chili and chocolate, this dark sauce is usually served over turkey and often at special occasions.
12. Huminta – Peru
Humitas are savory steamed fresh corn cakes made from a mixture of freshly ground corn, onion, garlic, cheese, eggs, and cream, which is placed inside corn husks and steamed. Humitas are hard to translate, if you’ve ever had an humita you know what it is, but to describe them to someone who’s never had them before is a little bit complicated. I guess you could compare them to a fresh corn and cheese tamale (and explaining the difference between a tamale from Ecuador and tamale from Mexico is a completely different story). Humitas are made using fresh corn, which is ground with other ingredients and then stuffed in a fresh corn husk and steamed
13. Cachapa – Venezuela
A traditional Latin pancake ripe for mainstream menu innovation is the Venezuelan cachapa. It’s a pancake with a fresh, intense and unmistakable corn flavour. Cachapas are traditionally eaten with Queso de Mano, a soft, mozzarella-like cheese, and occasionally with fried pork chicharrón on the side. Cachapas can be very elaborate, some including different kinds of cheese or milky cream. They can be prepared as an appetizer, generally with margarine, or as a full breakfast with hand cheese and fried pork.
14. Arepa – Colombia & Venezuela
A delectable, fluffy, white dough shaped in the format of a saucer and made mainly of corn flour, prominent in the cuisine of Colombia and Venezuela. It is eaten daily by both Colombians and Venezuelan and can be filled with various accompaniments such as cheese, avocado, beans or meat. A crowd pleaser!
15. Alfajores – Argentina
There is many reasons to love Argentina, but Alfajores is on the top o four list, hands down. The traditional sweet, made with two soft and crumbly cookies sandwiched around a tick layer of dulce de leche (caramel), is considered a national treasure. Although officialy treat it as a pastry, Argentinians eat them in the morning with coffee or tea, as an afternoon snack or after dinner. There is no “right” time to eat alfajores, actually. Any time is the right time to indulge in one. The most popular varieties are the ones filled with dulce de leche, of course, and either rolled in coconut or covered in dark or white chocolate.
16. Anticuchos – Peru
Anticuchos are a popular and inexpensive dish that originated in Peru in the pre-Colombian era but are also available at their neighbours Chile and Bolivia. A very special addition to any barbecue party, the anticuchos are made of beef heart marinated, cut into small cubes, skewered, and seared over the grill. You can also use regular beef, chicken, fish, prawns, or lamb to make anticuchos, but the original and traditional recipe calls for cow heart.
17. Pão de Queijo – Brazil
An exclusive export delight from Brazil that pleases all palates and it is gluten free. Putting it simple: pão de queijo is a small, baked, cheese ball made from sour cassava flour and of course, lots of tasty cheese. A popular snack and breakfast food in Brazil, pão de queijo originated from African slaves like many other Brazilian foods. Slaves would soak and peel the cassava root and make bread rolls from it.
18. Silpancho – Bolivia
Silpancho is a typical, popular Bolivian food from the city of Cochabamba. When prepared properly, this tends to be a large and filling meal laden with carbohydrates and fat. It consists of a base layer of rice, usually white, followed by a layer of boiled and sliced potatoes. Next, a thin layer of schnitzel-style meat is laid on top, followed by a layer of chopped tomato. In addition, onion, beet and parsley are mixed together and topped with either one or two fried eggs.
19. Hervido de Pescado – Venezuela
A traditional Venezuelan sea fish soup served along the country’s coastline. Also known as Sancocho and can be also found in several Latin American cuisines. It usually consists of large pieces of fish meat, tubers and vegetables served in a broth.
20. Mangú – Dominican Republic
Find Best Latin American Restaurants near you
Inspired by the culinary customs of Havana, Asia de Cuba offers Asian and Cuban-themed cuisine. The Asia de Cuba bar is famous for …
Buen Ayre is an Argentinean restaurant specialising in beef. Born in Buenos Aires, chef John Rattagan offers a concise choice of steak dishes …
Offering a lively atmosphere and a vibrant splash of colour, Cafe Pacifico – Covent Garden serves flavoursome Mexican cuisine. The sleek, long wooden …
Serving up some of the city’s finest Colombian specialties, Castle Brasserie is making a name for itself at Elephant & Castle. Known for …
At the far side of Festival Leisure Park, Chiquito Basildon offers an unrivalled Mexican experience. Rustic décor and exotic dishes create a funky, …
In the INTU shopping centre at the heart of the town centre, Chiquito Uxbridge is a buzzing and family-friendly Tex-Mex restaurant. Alive with …
Costa Azul on Rockingham Street in Elephant & Castle serves traditional Ecuadorian dishes while providing customers with true atmosphere straight from Latin America. …
Truly authentic Ecuadorian dishes at Old Kent Road in Bermondsey, proudly served by Costa Azul, a South American restaurant that, while it serves Ecuadorian cuisine, has more …
Distriandina is an authentic Colombian and Mexican fusion buffet during the day and Latin American Club at night that unites what’s the best …
Fusion Latina is a small restaurant on Tower Bridge Road in South East London. Serving Colombians specialty dishes made to order. Great Value …
Traditional Bolivian Restaurant on Old Kent Road in London. Serves homemade dishes made by using traditional Bolivian recipe and ingredients. Enjoy true latin …
Whether it’s a grab and go lunch or a long leisurely one with cocktails, wines or a few beers, we aim to serve …
The famous La Bodeguita Restaurant A large and lively restaurant, comfortably seating around 150 people. Centrally located in the Elephant and Castle shopping …
Walk through the doors of Las Iguanas and find yourself transported to Latin America, full of rich, vibrant colours, quirky features and custom-made …
Las Iguanas in Kingston bring their Latin spirit to town with a lively menu packed with South American favourites. With fiery flavours from …
Thriving within the renowned O2, Las Iguanas serves fun and sumptuous Latin American cuisine. In vibrant yet authentic surroundings, Las Iguanas presents the …
On the beautiful South Bank, Las Iguanas – Royal Festival Hall is a fun and lively restaurant serving authentic Latin American Cuisine. Las …
Within minutes of Wembley Stadium & Wembley Arena, Las Iguanas – Wembley is a lively restaurant serving mouth-watering Latin American food in an …
Leños & Carbon Restaurant has been opened in London on 13th November 2009, with the great purpose of showing the Latin-American and specially …
Manzanos is a Latin American Bistro with a basement wine bar/lounge, offering fresh authentic Latin food in a shabby chic environment (specialising in …
Mendoza Square was created because of our passion for the great continent of Latin America, its cultures, its music, its lifestyle. We want to …
Mary and Alexis invite you to their Mi Cocina es Tuya restaurant to enjoy a wide variety of delicious flavours from Venezuela. Just …
Greenwich based Restaurant that is offering their guests freshly made unique Mediterranean and Mexican Fusion dishes as well as large selection of cocktails. Suitable for …
Havana comes to London with a passion at The Cuban Camden. Set over 2 floors, an exotic mix of Cuban and international cuisine …
Tropical – Latin American Steak and Fish House on Old Kent Road in Bermondsey. Tropical is a organic fusion of Ecuadorian flavours with …
Have ever tried to reserve a nice restaurant for a diner with your friends but didnt wanted to book an expensive place and still be able to impress them? Then read on!
Authentic or Common ?
You can find many restaurants that serve “chinese” or “italian” dishes. But are they authentic or just adnjusted to the local taste? Do they use the same ingredients and preparation process as at the country of origin? How does that affect the price?
I always look for specific restaurant types. Instead of looking for “Latin American” restaurants , i will look for “Colombian” or “Venezuelan”, it will also add bit if authenticity to the meals served.
Location cost money
You need to understand that cost of running a restaurant in CENTRAL LONDON will be much higher than in other parts of the city. The cost of rent and bills does reflect on the food prices.
Check out reviews of the particular restaurant before booking a table. Sometimes reviews are not genuine however if 20 or 30 percent of diners were unhappy it should ring the alarm bell.
Awards and Stars
Some restaurants are rewarded with AA Rosette or Michellin Stars. It usually suggest that they are good. However not every restaurant chef cares about those and many brillian venues simply don’t bother getting those awards.
Cheap doesn’t mean bad quality as well as expensive will never mean that the restaurant is good. Many factors generates the end price.
Most importantly do your research before booking a table if you really want to impress your foodie friends.
For some tips and reviews look for restaurants and gastro bars on ActiveBookings platform. Look for restaurants using interactive map search and cuisine type search.
See the galleries, read the restaurant description and reviews. Then book your table.
Established in 2006, The Horseshoe became the birthplace of Camden Town Brewery when founder Jasper Cuppaidge started out by making beer in the …
With brasserie-style design and a cosy interior, Hampstead Café Rouge serves classic French cuisine. On Hampstead High Street, Café Rouge has outside seating …
Styled to resemble a French patisserie, BB Bakery Covent Garden offers a glorious selection of baked goods. Swathes of pewter leather and climbing …
Set in a thriving part of London’s Docklands, Browns Brasserie & Bar – West India Quay serves tasty European-inspired cuisine and refreshing cocktails …
Offering a hearty mix of Belgian and European cuisine, Brouge Twickenham is a sophisticated haunt in Twickenham. Famed for its beer selection, a …
Following the success of sister restaurants in Bilbao and Barcelona, Bilbao Berria Regent Street brings authentic Basque and Spanish cuisine to central London. …
Crafting the sumptuous flavours of Italy since 1999, Al Duca offers a modern retreat in the heart of the city. Offsetting the elegant …
Offering a trendy take on Greek ‘street food’ The Real Greek Covent Garden is surrounded by the arty bustle of Theatreland. In the …
Within the famous Westfield Shopping Centre, The Real Greek Westfield boasts an ultra-fashionable setting for gourmet Grecian cuisine. Striking floor-to-ceiling windows are offset …
The Real Greek Spitalfields blends an authentic taste of the Mediterranean with edgy interior design. In the dining room sits a sleek bar …
There is no better way to experience London than looking at it from the top!!!! Here are the best rooftop restaurants in the city.
Book your table today at one of the culinary landmarks of the Britain.
1. Aqua Kyoto
Set in the landmark former Dickins & Jones building, aqua kyoto offers sublime Japanese cuisine. As well as offering breathtaking views over London from the expansive roof terrace, a lowered kitchen indoors gives guests a view of the expert sushi chefs.
Crafted with absolute precision and sumptuously fresh ingredients, the aqua kyoto menu offers innovative flavour combinations bursting with colour and freshness. Contemporary creations at aqua kyoto restaurant include tempura prawn roll topped with grilled eel, or soft-shell crab with avocado. Served sizzling from the charcoal grill, guests can enjoy tender meat cuts of slow-cooked pork belly with red miso and crackling, or chicken thighs with teriyaki.
For Japanese-style indulgence, aqua kyoto in London offers classic European desserts with a twist. Try a smooth sake prune crème brulee, or white sesame parfait with poached cherries, as well as cleansing Japanese teas and native wines.
Blending traditional oriental features and ultra-slick design, aqua kyoto near Oxford Circus sits just 2 minutes’ walk from Oxford Circus Tube Station.
2. Madison Restaurant
Boasting some of the most coveted panoramic views in London from its roof terrace, Madison Restaurant has floor-to-ceiling windows that look out onto St Paul’s Cathedral. Housed on the top floor of One New Change, the Manhattan-style restaurant serves an amalgamation of British and Mediterranean flavours.
Aside from magnificently indulgent burgers including lobster with avocado mayonnaise and duck with foie gras, the Madison Restaurant menu features a hearty selection of salads, pots and dishes from the Josper grill.
Starters such as mackerel and tuna tartar with quails eggs and wasabi crème fraiche are not to be missed, nor are desserts like bitter chocolate and praline fondant. Unusual light bites such as goat’s cheese or gin popcorn can be enjoyed in the restaurant, bar or on the trendy rooftop terrace.
Renowned for its vibrant atmosphere, Madison Restaurant in London regularly hosts DJs and live music. The all-encompassing drinks menu is a highlight, especially the hot cocktails, as are the hand-blown glass chandeliers. St Pauls Tube Station is a 3-minute walk away.
3. Vista at The Trafalgar
Boasting 360-degree views of the city from its serene rooftop setting, Vista at The Trafalgar offers ultra-fashionable drinks and internationally-themed grazing dishes. Look down onto neighbouring Trafalgar Square from the plush outdoor lounge.
Arguably the city’s chicest al fresco destination, Vista bar in Trafalgar Square serves an eclectic and luxurious bar stock. Enjoy the smooth bubbles of vintage champagne, fine wines and sought-after malt whisky blends, as well as fun cocktails like Movista, or a refreshing Vista Boulevard.
Vista bar pairs up with BLOOM for summer 2015: a luxury gin company focusing on floral-infused gins. Guests can also enjoy al fresco cocktail masterclasses when the sun shines.
Offering rare tranquillity in one of London’s most popular areas, Vista bar in London is found within the exclusive Trafalgar hotel. Charing Cross stations are a 3-minute walk away.
4. Coq d’Argent
With a magnificent rooftop setting, Coq d’Argent has striking panoramic views across The Square Mile from the stunning roof gardens. Showcasing fine regional French cuisine and bistro-style classics, Coq d’Argent is a fine dining hotspot, just a 2-minute walk from Bank Tube Station.
Classically French, yet with a contemporary edge, the Coq d’Argent menu features sublime creations like roasted duck breast with foie gras and kumquat compote or handpicked Devon crab with avocado and wasabi purée. Innovative desserts at Coq d’Argent restaurant include pear and salted caramel mousse with chocolate sorbet or pink peppercorn poached apricots with lavender yoghurt and London honey ice cream.
The head sommelier at Coq d’Argent London will guide you through an accomplished list of fine wines, and there is a sumptuous caviar list with premium options.
Perched atop the roof of No.1 Poultry, Coq d’Argent Bank also hosts a popular jazz lunch at the weekends.
5. Afternoon Tea at Radio Rooftop
Overlooking the Capital’s iconic sights, afternoon tea at Radio Rooftop Bar offers guests the chance to while away an afternoon viewing London’s historic and modern attractions from The Shard to The London Eye, Big Ben, and St Pauls Cathedral, whilst savouring traditional delights with a contemporary international twist.
The Skyline Afternoon Tea, a modern day interpretation of afternoon tea offers sandwiches such as croque-monsieur, compressed watermelon with feta and black olive tapenade and cucumber buffalo ricotta with black sesame seeds. To cleanse the palate between savoury and sweet, guests experience a liquid nitrogen frozen fruit sorbet with earl grey mousse and popping candy.
The final course of cakes and pastries includes a blend of traditional dishes such as lemon meringue pie, hazelnut opera, and passion fruit tart, with modern flavours such as lemongrass with apricot and pistachio cake, and a raspberry and lychee sandwich.