Tanta: Top 5 Latin American Restaurants in Chicago
Tanta: Top 5 Latin American Restaurants in Chicago Tanta website

Chicago, a city that is a melting pot of cultures, has become a hotspot for anyone craving the vibrant tastes of Latin America. In the Windy City, where Latinos constitute 29% of the population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, there is a restaurant for every palate.

Tacos, burritos, and tortillas sit along pizza and hot dogs among the popular street-food options in the streets of Chicago. And an increasing amount of Latin American restaurants are also offering a taste of Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Colombia, Brazil, Honduras, or El Salvador.

The Latin Times has curated a list of the top five must-try Latin American restaurants in Chicago, each bringing its own unique twist to the table.

Top 5 Latin American Restaurants in Chicago

Mexican food restaurant in Chicago: Topolobampo
Mexican food restaurant in Chicago: Topolobampo Topolobampo website

1. Mexican food restaurant: Topolobampo

This Michelin-starred restaurant delves into Mexican culinary traditions with elegance and a modern twist, offering a captivating exploration of this country's unique dishes through the contemporary lens of renowned chef Rick Bayless.

Highlights include a special sweet corn 'tamal' topped with shaved black truffle and a velvety güero chile cream.

You can also try the "mosaic of octopus and sashimi-grade shrimp in 'aguachile'," featuring avocado, cucumber, charred knob onions, and a black 'aguachile' broth infused with charred onion, serrano, and lime.

  • 445 North Clark Street, River North, Chicago

2. Peruvian food restaurant: Cabra

The vibrant flavors of Peruvian cuisine are the key to Cabra's success. The restaurant is a lively rooftop venue on the 12th floor of the Hoxton hotel, led by acclaimed Chef Stephanie Izard.

Michelin Guide's recommendation includes the 'salmon ceviche with pistachio, avocado, and 'leche de tigre,' as well as the 'chicharrón del puerco' with pickled vegetables and apple salad. The restaurant offers the possibility of enjoying a breathtaking view of the city while having some 'empanadas,' 'botanas,' or 'anticuchos'.

  • 200 N Green St, Chicago

3. Argentine food restaurant: El Che Steakhouse

Inspired by Argentina's popular 'asados,' El Che Steakhouse offers a carnivore's dream, presenting a varied array of grilled meats, vegetables and seafood. The menu features premium cuts sourced from renowned locations such as Creekstone Farms in Kansas and Michigan's Vander Farmers. Time Out magazine described the restaurant as "a love letter to Argentina."

If you aspire to master the art of grilling the perfect 'parrillada,' a platter (or, rather, a tray) that includes morcilla, chorizo, steak, and bone marrow in the authentic Argentine style, you can inquire about Chef John Manion's classes. The wine list exclusively features South American selections.

-845 W Washington Blvd, Chicago

4. Latin American food restaurant: Lil Amaru

Chef Rodolfo Cuadros finds inspiration in culinary traditions from Mexico, Guatemala, Brazil, Cuba and Colombia, all of them showcased at Lil Amaru in Chicago. Following a decade of collaboration with Latin American chefs in Miami, London, and France, he launched his own restaurant in 2019, quickly gaining acclaim for his pan-Latin recipes.

Notable selections from the menu include the 'pastel de yuca' featuring Spanish chorizo, yuca, chorizo aioli, and frisée salad, as well as 'lechon colombiano' which includes smoked pork shoulder, sofrito rice, lentils, pickled onions and 'chicharron'.

The name of the restaurant honors the last indigenous leader of the Incas, Tupac Amaru II. According to the restaurant's website, Lil Amaru embodies "eclectic flavors and ingredients that encompass who we are: Latin, Caribbean, and American."

-1904 W North Ave, Chicago

5. Peruvian food restaurant: Tanta

Tanta, founded by Peruvian chef Gastón Acurio, doesn't forget any of the main features of Peruvian cuisine, including ceviches, tiraditos, pollo a la brasa, 'seco de cordero,' and 'chaufa', a fried rice dish adorned with char siu pork and veggies.

The menu also includes Nikkei dishes, which blend Peruvian and Japanese flavors. Sushi rolls are a must-try in this lively rooftop restaurant. On the cocktail list, you'll discover intriguing Peruvian-inspired options like the 'Angelfire,' a mix of pisco quebranta, cucumber, Peychaud's bitters, hibiscus, and lime.

-118 W Grand Ave, Chicago

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