Latin food restaurants: Venezuelan Casa Ora in NYC
Latin food restaurants: Venezuelan Casa Ora in NYC Casa Ora's website

Latin food has surged in popularity in the U.S., to the extent that tortillas now outsell burger and hot dog buns. Tacos, arepas, and burritos have become so deeply embedded in the country's culture that a significant number of people no longer view them as cuisine originating from specific ethnic backgrounds.

That's why it's not surprising that all kinds of Latin food restaurants have flourished in the U.S. lately, especially when considering that Latinos represent almost 20% of the population.

The gastronomic styles of Latino heritage feature distinctive flavors and ingredients, drawing inspiration from the fusion of indigenous, European, African, and Asian influences. Having that in mind, these are some of the best restaurants specialized in Latino food this year.

The Latin Times' Top 5 Latin Food Restaurants of 2023

1. Mexican food restaurant: 'Damian'

Mexican food restaurant in Los Angeles: Damian
Mexican food restaurant in Los Angeles: Damian Damian's website

Located in Los Angeles, California, this stylish Mexican food restaurant is reminiscent of 'Pujol' in Mexico City, the flagship project of the renowned Mexican chef Enrique Olvera, which held top positions in The World's Best Restaurants ranking for several years. In fact, it was listed as the 13th in the world by renowned list 50 Best this year.

Elegance is the word that defines the ambiance of this industrial dining space, featuring minimalist furniture adorned with plants and small candles on the tables. It's an ideal setting for romantic dates, especially for food enthusiasts who appreciate Mexican cuisine and Latin food.

As you sip on your 'Margarita,' consider pairing it with a chile relleno while perusing the menu's exotic options. Among other notable dishes, 'Damian' offers lobster loins with pineapple butter 'al Pastor,' swordfish 'Poc Chuc' with avocado 'salpicon,' and mushroom 'Mixiote' with market vegetables and purslane.

  • 2132 E 7th Place, Los Angeles, CA 90021

2. Colombian food restaurant: 'ElCielo'

Colombian food restaurant in Miami and Washington DC: ‘ElCielo’
Colombian food restaurant in Miami and Washington DC: ‘ElCielo’ ElCielo's website

Embark on a journey to Medellín with this Colombian restaurant, which thrives by creating experiences for all the senses, seamlessly blending ancestral and avant-garde techniques. With its stunning culinary offerings, it's no surprise that 'ElCielo' became the first Colombian restaurant to receive a Michelin star.

Renowned Colombian chef Juan Manuel Barrientos is known for his concept of a 'neurosensorial' cuisine, which combines tropical products, such as Colombian fruits, grains and vegetables, with local fish and other ingredients. The dishes are presented in a visually exceptional manner, designed to evoke emotions.

'The Experience' menu is a staple in this restaurant: "You should expect whimsical experiences like our Chocola-therapy where you wash your hands with chocolate and enjoy it through all 5 senses, and signature dishes like The Tree of Life, a Yucca bread served fresh from the oven on a wire bonsai tree representing the lung of the world, the Amazon rainforest", ElCielo's official website reads.

  • 31 SE 5th Street, Miami, 33131 FL
  • 1280 4th St NE, Washington, DC 20002, United States

3. Peruvian food restaurant: 'Causa'

Peruvian food restaurant in Wahington DC: ‘Causa’
Peruvian food restaurant in Wahington DC: ‘Causa’ Causa's website

Peruvian restaurant 'Causa' in Washington, DC, was one of the two new additions to the Michelin Guide in the U.S. capital in 2023. Undoubtedly the best choice to savor and explore Peru's gastronomic legacy, it offers traditional dishes such as 'cebiches,' 'papas a la huancayo,' and, of course, the famous 'causa norteña.'

Acclaimed chef Carlos Delgado has gained worldwide recognition for his commitment to sourcing the highest-quality seafood. He seeks to highlight with his dishes the remarkable diversity of fresh catches from the Peruvian coast and the expansive Pacific Ocean.

Michelin's review takes diners on an intriguing journey through the menu: "Chicha morada kombucha, made from purple corn, is a perfect partner for the Peruvian classic and namesake dish, causa, with its mashed potatoes hit with ají amarillo paste, topped with cucumber, avocado and tuna tartare. Next, the humble bomba rice is given a luxe glow-up courtesy of uni, caviar and a criolla sauce. Dessert definitely doesn't disappoint, with the passion fruit and mint gelato scoops piped with macambo mousse."

  • 1250 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA

4. Cuban food restaurant: 'Ariete'

Cuban food restaurant in Miami: ‘Ariete’
Cuban food restaurant in Miami: ‘Ariete’ Ariete's website

Chef Michael Beltran leads the culinary direction of this Cuban restaurant in Miami. Located in Coconut Grove and holding one Michelin star, Ariete offers a captivating blend of Cuban and American flavors.

With its inviting atmosphere and lively ambiance, Ariete stands out as a destination not to be missed for those seeking to explore Latin food and sharing a memorable dining experience.

If you have never been to a Cuban restaurant, the Michelin Guide provides valuable advice: "First-timers should aim for the tasting menu, as it's the surest way to experience the chef's talent for creative combinations and excellent sauce work. The whimsical ´orange´ is a deliciously artful doppelgänger with creamy pâté masquerading as the citrus. Additional highlights include seared foie gras with sweet-and-sour caramel and plantain pave; or conch and wild mushrooms with lobster demi-glace, designed as a riff on beef Bourguignon."

  • 3540 Main Hwy, Coconut Grove FL 33133

5. Venezuelan food restaurant: 'Casa Ora'

Venezuelan food restaurant in NYC: Casa Ora
Venezuelan food restaurant in NYC: Casa Ora Casa Ora's website

Brooklyn-based restaurant Casa Ora is the brainchild of Venezuelan chef Isbelis Diaz and her son, Ivo Diaz. Their mission is clear: "We are focused on bringing the beauty and nature of Venezuela to New York City in the form of a full of flavor and color cuisine."

Casa Ora stands out as one of the most beautiful dining spaces in the neighborhood, adorned with tons of plants, Persian rugs, chic vintage mirrors and wooden furniture, all of which contribute to creating a remarkably cozy atmosphere.

"Empanadas are a favorite, especially when stuffed with queso Guyanés . Asado negro, a 48-hour braised short rib in burnt papelón is positively velvety. Other winning dishes include arepitas, bollitos pelones and mandocas, hand-rolled, tear-shaped fritters made from ripe plantain and yellow corn and hit with a gentle hint of anise for a sweet and savory blend.", the Michelin guide reads.

  • 148 Meserole Street, Brooklyn, NY 11206

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