Fifteen best South American restaurants in Denver
When he couldn't find Argentine food in Boulder, Christian Saber opened Rincon Argentino last year. And he's not the only restaurateur who's brought very south-of-the-border flavors to the metro area. There's never been any shortage of Mexican restaurants here, but now we have an increasing number of South American kitchens, serving traditional fare from trucks and white-tablecloth restaurants alike. When we last rounded up the metro area's best South American restaurants, we had trouble coming up with five -- and even though Las Salteñas, a Bolivian spot that ranked as our Best South American Restaurant in the Best of Denver 2013 has closed, we were still able to round up fifteen worthwhile stops, presented below in no particular order, for a culinary journey around that continent.
Danielle Lirette Walls of shelves at Rincon Argentino are stocked with South American supplies.
15) La Cocina de Paula
3325 West Alameda Avenue
When Paula Contreras comes to your table, she'll likely encourage you to order a Colombian dish. "You can get Mexican food all over Denver," she says, but "Colombian food...that's not nearly as common." Contreras, the chef/owner of La Cocina de Paula, hustles a menu of both Mexican and Colombian cuisines, and while her green chile, tart with tomatillos and jolted with hot green chiles, is commendable, her sobrebarriga, a traditional Colombian beef dish that mimics pot roast, really grabbed our attention -- and a place on 100 Favorite Dishes.
Looking for Italian with a Brazilian kick? Stop by Ole, a storefront pizza spot that's a soccer-watching hangout, with plenty of beers on tap and pizzas that sport a surprising -- and delicious -- combination of toppings.
13) Little Brazil
10081 West 26th Avenue, Wheat Ridge
This Brazilian restaurant grew out of a market in Westminster that served an incredible feijoada; it's still on the menu here, as are many other traditional Brazilian dishes. But more than that, Little Brazil serves as the big heart of Denver's Brazilian community.
12) Quiero Arepas
Arepas, the flatbreads indigenous to Colombia and Venezuela, are now traveling around Denver in the Quiero Arepas food truck. Chef Igor Panasewicz, a native of Venezuela, serves up hot, griddled corn cakes with a host of savory fillings, including stewed, shredded and smoked meats, fresh cheeses, beans, veggies and more.
11) Fogo de Chao
1513 Wynkoop Street
This Brazilian meat palace is a delight for carnivores. Prepared in the authentic gaucho style, more than a dozen kinds of grilled, skewered meats are brought to your table and sliced while you watch. Each table is outfitted with a card, which you keep on the green side while you munch away, then flip to the red when you've had your fill of meat. Brazilian side dishes, an expansive salad bar, and an extensive wine and cocktail list round out the dining experience.