Best Latin American Food In Chicago

September 30, 2010 9:27 PM

Arroz Con Mariscos from Carnivale. (credit:

Latin American food is a diverse and challenging cuisine to understand. Most think of meat from Argentina, but what about ceviche from Peru? There is also Colombian steak or seafood from Cuba and Costa Rica. In addition to great food, well prepared cocktails complete a traditional Latino meal followed by hours of dancing. Here are some choices to cover all your Latin American needs. – Jeff Rapp

ayaypicante Best Latin American Food In Chicago

Ay Ay Picante's website. (credit:

Ay Ay Picante Peruvian Seafood & Steak

4569 N Elston
Chicago, IL 60630
(773) 427-4239

Ay Ay Picante is the Chicago destination for Peruvian food. They claim to have the largest selection of Peruvian dishes in the Midwest. The cuisine is balanced with great vegetarian, fish and meat dishes. Don’t forget to try the national specialty, ceviche, and it is BYOB.

cafe 28 Best Latin American Food In Chicago

Honey jalapeno pork chops from Cafe 28. (credit:

Café 28

1800 W Irving Park Rd
Chicago, IL 60613
(773) 528-2883

Established in 1995, Café 28 has a loyal following looking for traditional Cuban served with a Latin twist. Three dishes to try include honey jalapeno pork chops, almond crusted halibut and ropa vieja. They are open for dinner and brunch on the weekends.

carnivale Best Latin American Food In Chicago

Arroz con mariscos from Carnivale. (credit:


702 W Fulton St.
Chicago, IL 60661
(312) 850-5005

Carnivale is the most well known Latin American restaurant in the city and one of the best all-around dining experiences. The space and atmosphere is always vibrant, featuring “Latino flavors with the spice of life.” Their skirt steak is one of the best dishes in town.

coobah Best Latin American Food In Chicago

Coobah restaurant. (credit:


3423 N Southport Ave
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 528-2220

Coobah is the Southport corridor destination for a young and lively exotic meal. The cuisine theme is Latino fusion, accompanied by a delicious martini list. They also serve brunch and offer patio seating during the summer months.

Folklore Argentine Grill

2100 W Division St.
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 292-1600
No website

Folklore is the latest creative from the family that brought Chicago Tango Sur (see below). Wicker Park now has their own Argentine Grill serving large portions of Latin flavored meat, and highly regarded empanadas. The striking and dimly lit décor make this a romantic destination.

irazu Best Latin American Food In Chicago

Irazu's website. (credit:

Irazu Costa Rican Restaurant

1865 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 252-5687

With over 600 reviews on and a four-star rating, Irazu has captivated diners looking for authentic Costa Rican cuisine. Irazu is multi-dimensional serving breakfast through dinner, as well as a catering operation. A must-try is the casado, and finish any meal with an oatmeal shake.

lastablas Best Latin American Food In Chicago

Traditional Colombian art at Las Tablas. (credit:

Las Tablas Colombian Steak House

2942 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 871-2414

Las Tablas is another great steak house with a Colombian twist. Choose your own wine (BYOB) to accompany the large portions of skirt steak and empanadas.

Nacional 27

m27 Best Latin American Food In Chicago

Chicken mole verde from Nacional 27. (credit:

325 W Hubbard St.
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 664-2727

When you are looking for a dining experience that turns into a nightclub, head to Nacional 27. In addition to great food, enjoy cocktails from award winning mixologist Adam Seger. Stick around after dinner for the hottest salsa dancing in town.

rumba351 Best Latin American Food In Chicago

Coconut plantain encrusted sea bass from Rumba. (credit:


351 W Hubbard St
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 222-1226

Rumba offers everything Latino in one spot, but specializes in entertainment. The food is Latin fusion from Puerto Rico, Cuba, Columbia, etc. in an exquisite setting. Thursday through Saturday evenings feature live music and dancing.

Tango Sur

3763 N Southport Ave.
Chicago, IL 60613
(773) 477-5466
No website

Tango Sur set the bar for BYOB Latin Steakhouses in Chicago. Rated as Chicago’s 15th best restaurant on Urbanspoon, don’t be surprised at the crowds or the wait for a table. The value is great for large meat portions, especially for crowd favorites El filet and Bife Vesuvio.

Jeff Rapp is a Chicago native currently living in the Lakeview neighborhood. When he is not eating and writing, Jeff enjoys skiing, mountain climbing and running. Follow Jeff on Twitter and you can find his blog at

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