Best South and Latin American Restaurants in the D

By: Aaron B. Cohen | October 8, 2021
Arepas on grill

Detroit’s Mexican restaurants get a lot of love. And with good reason. For generations, Detroiters have celebrated their heritage with the cuisine of their ancestral homeland, making a splash in the city’s culinary scene with institutions like Taqueria El Rey, and Freep’s Top Ten Restaurant winner, El Nacimiento. Of course, Metro Detroit’s Spanish-speaking community extends far beyond the borders of our southerly neighbor. This week, we’re shedding light on a few remarkable establishments that represent the diverse eclectic of South and Latin American cuisine here in the D.

Cuba – Vincente’s

If the Cuban sandwich is the full extent of your experience with the island nation’s unique fare, head over to Vincente’s in Detroit, where the Vazquez family serves up generational recipes in a laid-back, Havana-inspired restaurant space. Try the ropa vieja (translates to “old clothes”) for an authentic first taste of a cuisine that is soulful, complex, and absurdly delicious. While you’re there, enjoy the signature cocktails (go with rum) and live salsa music in the background.

Peru – Culantro

Peruvian food is in a world of its own. Lima is considered by many to be the world’s greatest culinary destination, due in part to the surplus of remarkably fresh, locally sourced ingredients from the earth and sea. Ferndale’s Culantro brings the nation’s staples to Metro Detroit for all to enjoy. If you’ve never had a Peruvian ceviche, start there, then dive into your rice or plantain-based entree of choice. You can’t go wrong with this menu.

Argentinian – BARDA

If you haven’t already read our love letter to BARDA, head over to check out the Argentinian Asado-fusion that is occurring in Detroit’s Core City neighborhood. Whether it’s date night or a family celebration, BARDA creates an atmosphere that centers you in the present, all while providing the best fire-cooked steaks and meticulously crafted vegetable dishes anywhere. Make sure to check out their extensive wine list, boasting Argentinian vintages you’re unlikely to find elsewhere.

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El Salvador – Pupuseria Y Restaurante Salvadoreno

Quick, easy, inexpensive, delicious. Never had a pupusa? The El Salvadorian staple consists of a griddled corn cake stuffed with meat, fish, or traditional beans and cheese. No matter which ingredients you choose, you’ll never pay more than $3 for one of these mind-blowing hand-helds.

Venezuela – El Rey de las Arepas

Similar to the pupusa in content, but differing in preparation, the Venezuelan arepa is stuffed after the corn cake is fried. It’s more like a sandwich, but this is unlike any other sandwich in Metro Detroit. Too early for lunch? Go for an egg, avocado and cheese-filled option. After trying one of these, you’ll never settle for white bread again.