From Mexican, Spanish and Puerto Rican cuisine, here are some of the best Hispanic restaurants in the US
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Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15) is on, and what better way to celebrate than dining out at one of the many incredible Hispanic restaurants in the United States? Immigrants from across Latin America have helped create the multifaceted culture that we are so proud of in the U.S., and food is a major aspect — and one of the easiest ways to learn about a country and culture.
Although Mexican food is often the default, Hispanic cuisine refers to fare from Mexico, Spain and Puerto Rico, along with Spanish-speaking Central American, South American and Caribbean countries. This means everything from tacos to pupusas to ropa vieja to ceviche is on the menu — and we are here for it.
We’ve rounded up a selection of the best Hispanic restaurants across the United States — from upscale dining rooms to more casual eateries — to help you honor and enjoy this incredible culture. But of course, this is just a small sampling of spots out of thousands, so get out there and support your neighborhood Hispanic restaurant this month — and all year long.
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Peruvian food is diverse and delicious, as evidenced by its award-winning restaurants in capital city Lima — such as Central, for one — and beyond. And while it may be less popular in the U.S. than other cuisines, it is gaining ground thanks to places like Tanta in Chicago’s River North neighborhood. Serving authentic Peruvian dishes since 2013, Tanta focuses on locally and sustainably sourced ingredients to create regional dishes from all across Peru, allowing the country’s Japanese, Chinese, Spanish and Italian influences to shine through.
Chef Gaston Acurio offers dishes such as a classic ceviche with the chef’s choice of fish, leche de tigre, choclo (Peruvian corn), sweet potatoes, red onions and cancha (corn nuts); a selection of meaty anticuchos, or grilled skewers; and seafood rice in a lobster broth. Specials also appear on the menu, including Maki Huanca Fichon, made of aji amarillo (yellow pepper) sushi rice, smoked salmon, avocado, huancaina (a traditional spicy cream sauce) scallop tartare, truffle huancaina and shaved summer truffle. And don’t forget to order one of their famous pisco sour cocktails to wash it all down.
La Fonda Boricua, New York City
New York has a large and vibrant Puerto Rican community, which means it has some of the best Puerto Rican restaurants in the world outside of Puerto Rico itself. La Fonda Boricua has been holding it down in Spanish Harlem since 1996, when it was founded by Jorge Ayala. Today it is known for serving amazing mofongo (plantain mash), which comes stuffed with shrimp, chicken, pork, vegetables or mixed seafood.
Also on the menu are juicy pernil (slow-roasted pork with Puerto Rican seasoning), tostones (crunchy fried plantains) with garlic mojito dipping sauce, octopus salad, pollo guisado (chicken stew) and crispy chuletas (fried pork chops). The vibe is welcoming and vibrant and there are often live Latin jazz bands playing and flamenco performances.
La Casita Mexicana, Los Angeles
Mexican food and California go together like peanut butter and jelly, but choosing the best is a nearly impossible task. The sit-down La Casita Mexicana in Bell is a staple in southeast Los Angeles that has stood the test of time. Brightly colored tablecloths, wall decor and pinatas make the atmosphere festive and jovial, but the food carries the real weight of regional authenticity.
Chefs Jaime Martín del Campo and Ramiro Arvizu, who both grew up in Jalisco, Mexico, offer a menu of perfectly executed (and extremely delicious) Mexican classics such as traditional chiles en nogada (stuffed poblano peppers with meat and dried fruit with a walnut and pomegranate sauce), enchiladas smothered in a variety of regional sauces and three different types of homemade mole served over chicken or pork. The restaurant has been nominated for a James Beard Award and has received countless accolades.
Los Fuegos, Miami
Grill master and Patagonian native Francis Mallmann’s Argentine love letter to the people of Miami is located inside the stunning Faena Hotel in South Beach. Los Fuegos — true to its name — focuses on South American live fire cooking in an upscale environment stylishly decorated with the Faena color palette of red and gold.
Guests can feast on octopus a la plancha (on a grill) with potato confit, garlic aioli, olives and fresh herbs; wood-fired artichokes with sesame yogurt and sourdough breadcrumbs; and a selection of meats and seafood cooked on the fire grill or the fire plancha, including massive platters with everything from grilled skirt steak to lamb to branzino to morcilla (blood sausage) for groups to share. Save room for lavish desserts like toasted almond Pavlova with white chocolate cream and dulce de leche flan with raspberries and strawberries.
Thanks to growing interest in Hispanic cuisine, you don’t need to take a trip outside the U.S. to experience this great food. We’ve outlined four restaurants here, but other cities offering vibrant Hispanic cuisine include Denver; Washington, D.C.; Tucson, Arizona; Las Vegas; San Antonio; and San Francisco. And while you’re there, try and visit culturally relevant sites in these cities, too.
Featured photo by lunamarina/Shutterstock.
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