Authentic Latin American cuisine is a melting pot of Native American, African, European and Asian influences. Typical Latin American dishes include a wide range of meats, vegetables and spices.
Here are some examples of popular Latin American dishes; Callaloo, which is popular across the Caribbean. Rice and peas, which is popular in the Dominican Republic. Chicharrón (fried pork rinds), which is popular across Latin America. Boliche, a popular Cuban dish.
We are pretty lucky in Melbourne to have many restaurants dedicated to serving traditional Latin American cuisine. In this listing, you will find some of the top Latin American establishments located in and around Melbourne.
If you want to experience true Latin American cuisine Los Latinos should be your first stop. Located in Maidstone, this family friendly spot has a great menu; highlights include pupusa, served with salsa roja and curtido. The pupusa is available in four varieties; cheese, pork, refried beans or cheese and beans. Tacos and fajitas come in either chicken or beef varieties, and there are more traditional dishes available; pastel de choclo (Chilean hot pot), tamales de pollo (chicken tamales served with salsa or curtido) and carne aasda a la guanaco (Salvadorian char grilled scotch fillet and fresh Spanish chorizo). This truly is a gorgeous vibrant spot and most of the mains are priced between $15-$20, so it is affordable.
Los Amates Mexican Kitchen has featured on Weekend Notes previously and was given two thumbs up. Located in Fitzroy, this is a great spot for traditional Mexican cuisine and the menu is wide and varied, featuring a range of quesadillas, nachos dishes, traditional tacos and enchiladas, as well as albondigas al chipotle (Mexican meatballs), pollo con mole poblano (fried chicken breast served with rice and frijoles) and carne arrachera (scotch fillet served with rice, chicken enchilada, frijoles, guacamole, rajitas and corn tortillas). Mains are priced between $20-$30 and this is a great spot to visit during the annual La Mirada Film Festival and Mexico Film Festival.
Image Credit: David and Katarina (Wikimedia Commons)
Sonido!, also located in Fitzroy, is another great mid-priced cafe/restaurant. However, here the menu is a celebration of South American cuisine. Menu highlights include the various empanada and arepa dishes, as well as various sweets and dessert dishes; arequipe con queso (caramel and cheese) and bocadillo con queso (sweet guava block with Fresco cheese). Don't forget to finish your meal with Colombian-style hot chocolate, served with or without cheese. Most dishes on the menu are priced below $15, so this cafe/restaurant is another affordable option for Latin American cuisine.
One final suggestion, before we hand this listing over to you is the popular Amigos, which has been reviewed on Weekend Notes in the past. There are currently three Amigos establishments in Melbourne (Lygon Street, Acland Street and Chapel Street) and each has a great Mexican inspired menu. Amigos is a great option if you want a late night dining venue and the drinks menu includes cachaça and pisco.
I recently went to the argentinian Restaraunt San telmo and while I'm currently married to a portena I know a fair bit about south American cuisine in general this one pretty much hits the spot. It's a little pricy. Most parillas in argentina are quite affordable so this one isn't typical but I highly recommend it