Fifteen best South American restaurants in Denver

Categories: The List

rinconshelves.jpg
Danielle Lirette
Walls of shelves at Rincon Argentino are stocked with South American supplies.
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.

See also: Twelve best restaurants on Larimer Street

sobrebarrigafrompaula.jpg
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.

olepizza.jpg
Lori Midson

14) Ole
1043 Broadway
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.

LittleBrazil09.jpg
Lori Midson
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.

QuieroArepas1.jpg
Quiero Arepas
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.

fagodechao002.jpg
Lori Midson
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.

Location Info

Ole - CLOSED

1043 Broadway, Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Little Brazil

10081 W. 26th Ave., Lakewood, CO

Category: General

Quiero Arepas

, Denver / Boulder, CO

Category: Restaurant

Fogo De Chao

1513 Wynkoop St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Taita Peruvian Cuisine & Bar

1521 Marion St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Red Tango

5807 W. 38th Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Pisco Sour

8501 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Music

Limon

1618 E. 17th Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Empanada Express Grill

4301 W. 44th Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Cafe Brazil

4408 Lowell Blvd., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Buenos Aires Pizzeria

1319 22nd St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Maria Empanada - CLOSED

5209 W. Mississippi Ave., Lakewood, CO

Category: Restaurant

Los Cabos II

1525 Champa St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Rincon Argentino

2525 Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder, CO

Category: Restaurant

My Voice Nation Help
18 comments
Brandi Murphy
Brandi Murphy

Ashley is this Taita your Taita? Congrats to your friend!

GeoffreyOrange
GeoffreyOrange

Las Salteñas has been closed since August, you guys.

Bräd Männ
Bräd Männ

How El Chalate failed to make this list is beyond me. INCREDIBLE pupusas and cheap as hell. El Salvador de Aurora!

TheFabulousMarkT
TheFabulousMarkT topcommenter

There are some great eateries on this list. I also wanted to put a word in for our two Colombian restaurants in Denver - one on the west side (La Cocina de Paula), and one on the east (Los Parceros).

Thinking a bit outside the box, you can sometimes find treats from another South American country, Guyana, at Caribbean Bakery on East Colfax.

patricia.calhoun
patricia.calhoun moderator editortopcommenter

@GeoffreyOrange well, that's sad news...another Best of Denver 2013 winner bites the dust. We caught the closure of Empanadas Express in Golden; missed this. We'll swap it out. thanks.

TheFabulousMarkT
TheFabulousMarkT topcommenter

@Bräd Männ It is very good. I'll bet they've probably split the Central American places into a separate list since we have quite a few tasty options in that category too.

TheFabulousMarkT
TheFabulousMarkT topcommenter

@TheFabulousMarkT I should probably qualify that last one :)

Although the owner of CB is himself from Trinidad & Tobago, he is intimately familiar with Guyanese cuisine as well since the two have quite a bit of common ground.

patricia.calhoun
patricia.calhoun moderator editortopcommenter

@TheFabulousMarkT you are so right: watch for our Central American list soon. And in the meantime, we're taking nominations.

TheFabulousMarkT
TheFabulousMarkT topcommenter

@patricia.calhoun @TheFabulousMarkT If you insist :D

For Guatemalan food you can't beat either El Tamarindo (Colfax/Syracuse-ish) or the little eatery inside La Guatemalteca (Colfax/ Havana-ish)

Yummy Honduran items can be found at both Lempira (Uinta/Colfax) and Maya (4th/Havana in Aurora)

And of course there are, at last count, eleventy-bazillion places serving Salvadoran dishes but ones that come to mind right away would include the SE Aurora branch of Tacos y Salsas (Iliff/Chambers), Pupuseria San Salvador (Federal/Quincy-ish... no, it's not on Sheridan despite what you may have heard), and, yes, El Chalate as mentioned above.

PS Don't forget Tienda Salvadoreña (Colfax/Glencoe-ish) for all your Central American grocery and baked-goods needs.

TheFabulousMarkT
TheFabulousMarkT topcommenter

@Mantonat @TheFabulousMarkT :D Some are acquired tastes I admit.

CB currently has 3 on offer - Sorrel (which is actually not made from the sour herb but instead from the same hibiscus flowers used to make the Mexican drink called Jamaica); Irish moss, whose main ingredient is the seaweed called carrageenan (think of it as "liquid Viagra"); and Mauby, which is made from the bark of a particular species of buckthorn tree and tastes like a slightly bitter root beer.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...