Latin American restaurants in Los Angeles have been gaining popularity.
Latin American restaurants in Los Angeles have been gaining popularity and recognition. Freepik

Arepas, tacos and burritos are a staple of Latin American restaurants in Los Angeles, one of the most Latino-heavy cities in the U.S.

People of Latino origin constitute the largest demographic in Los Angeles County, comprising 49% of the population, according to the 2022 Census estimates.

Given these statistics, it doesn't come as a surprise that a diverse array of Latin food restaurants have thrived in the home of Hollywood, gaining both popularity and gastronomic recognition, particularly those with Mexican origins.

Below is a list of the top 5 Latin American restaurants in Los Angeles for 2023. Each restaurant mentioned in this article has crafted its own unique style, adding a Latino touch to the vibrant mix of Los Angeles' food scene.

Top 5 Latin American Restaurants in Los Ángeles

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 Olviera, 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 minimalistic 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.

Consider pairing a 'Margarita' 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.

*Damian was among the Latin Times' Top 5 U.S. Latin Food Restaurants of 2023.

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

2. Mexican food restaurant: Sonoratown

Burritos, tacos and quesadillas take center stage in Sonoratown, a Mexican food restaurant named after a small community of Mexican immigrants who settled in the area now known as 'Chinatown'. It secured the 12th spot among the 101 best restaurants in Los Angeles for 2023, a list curated by L.A. Times restaurant critic Bill Addison.

The restaurant was founded in 2016 by Teodoro Diaz-Rodriguez Jr. and Jennifer Feltham—two service industry professionals with a combined expertise of 27 years. The concept aimed to honor the small border town in Mexico where Teo grew up and simultaneously pay tribute to his cherished neighborhood in Downtown Los Angeles, where he resided for six years.

The overarching concept is to serve tacos in the style of San Luis Río Colorado, Sonora. This region, situated in Northern Mexico, is recognized for its exceptionally delicious 'carne asada,' cooked over mesquite wood fire. It is also known for the outstanding quality of handmade flour tortillas.

  • 208 e 8th street, Los Angeles,
  • 5610 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles

3. Salvadorian food restaurant: La Pupusa Urban Eatery

The family behind 'La Pupusa', a Salvadorian restaurant in L.A.
The family behind 'La Pupusa', an awarded Salvadorian restaurant in Los Angeles, California. La Pupusa's website

"Traditional Salvadorian cuisine with our added Los Angeles Modern Twist," reads the website of La Pupusa Urban Eatery, a restaurant founded by Juan Saravia and Stephanie- both raised in Los Angeles by immigrant families. Their brainchild was also selected among the L.A. Times' 101 best restaurants in Los Angeles for 2023.

Of course, the star of the menu is the pupusa, a thick griddle cake or flatbread from El Salvador made with cornmeal or rice flour, akin to the Colombian and Venezuelan arepa. You can also order loaded yuca fries topped with your choice of meat or veggies.

The main goal remains constant: to bring Latin roots and Salvadorian flavors to L.A. "While our traditional food was the center of our world growing up, we still felt a void in the world, not seeing something that was representing us—'Salvi Americans,' the next generation of 'Salvies.'"

"After becoming parents, we knew that we wanted to create that space and share our abuelitas' love and our pride for our city. Keeping our ancestors' traditions alive and establishing new traditions as Salvi Americans," they express.

  • 1051 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles

4. Mexican food restaurant: Holbox

Holbox stands out as one of only eight restaurants in Historic South Central L.A.'s Mercado La Paloma. This Mexican seafood establishment draws inspiration from the Mayan-named island of Holbox, pronounced "hole-bosh," situated off Mexico's northern Yucatán Peninsula.

The restaurant opened in 2017 within the 'Mercado,' where Mexican Chef Gilbert Cetina collaborated with his father at the neighboring stall, Chichen Itza. Since then, Holbox has received several awards, including the Michelin Guide California Bib Gourmand in 2019, 2021, and 2022, and the distinction of being named the 2023 Los Angeles Times Restaurant of the Year.

Chef Cetina gained even more recognition by being a finalist for the 2023 James Beard Award for Best Chef in California. He focuses on highlighting fresh local ingredients and vibrant flavors, showcasing specialties from coastal regions of Mexico using California and Baja California ingredients. Notably, the restaurant offers 8-course tasting menu dinners every Thursday and Friday.

  • 3655 S Grand Ave #C9, ​inside 'Mercado La Paloma,' Los Angeles.

5. Mexican food restaurant: Moo's

High school sweethearts Andrew and Michelle Muñoz are living their dream. What began as a weekend hobby of smoking meats in their backyard has evolved into a full-fledged restaurant in Lincoln Heights.

Chef and co-owner Michelle Muñoz is the driving creative influence behind well-loved dishes like the verde sausage, which combines Texas Barbecue with her Mexican-American-Angeleno heritage, a distinctive version of Mexican street corn, and her unique smoked beef cheek tacos.

Moo's Craft Barbecue secured the 7th spot in the list of the 101 best restaurants in Los Angeles for 2023. It earned the titles of "Best Texas Barbecue" in California from both Food & Wine and the Los Angeles Times. Additionally, for the second consecutive year, Michelin Guide acknowledged them in the 2023 Bib Gourmand, a distinction created in 1997 to recognize noteworthy restaurants that offer quality without a hefty price tag.

  • 2118 N Broadway, Los Angeles, California

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