01 Nov 8 Latin-Owned Restaurants to Visit in Atlanta
Georgia’s largest city, Atlanta, is the hub of a metropolitan area with over 6 million people. Although known as a center of the 1960s Civil Rights movement, Atlanta has undergone significant demographic and cultural change since the 1990s. The city’s Hispanic population grew 31% over ten years, thanks to the service, construction, meatpacking, and other industries, 2020 Census data shows.
Today, about 6% of the city’s population of roughly 499,000 is Hispanic or Latino, notably Cuban, Mexican, and Puerto Rican. MundoNow, the largest Spanish-language media company in Georgia, makes its home in Atlanta, and the indoor shopping mall Plaza Fiesta features live events along with handcrafted imported items and Latin American cuisine. Celebrating its growing and robust Latin culture, Atlanta also hosts Festival Peachtree Latino annually in Piedmont Park, inviting thousands to enjoy arts and crafts, exhibitors, music, and of course, food.
While the ATL boasts traditional Southern dishes such as slow-smoked barbecue and juicy fried chicken, Latin food in Atlanta, Georgia, also tantalizes foodies’ appetites. Imagine delicate tamales de pollo with salsa verde or mole; huaraches of homemade masa layered with goat meat; or corn tortillas stuffed with pig al pastor, carnitas, or braised cow cheeks. So pull up a chair and check out our picks for the best Latin food in Atlanta and the surrounding area so we can support these local businesses not just during Latin Restaurant Week but durante todo el año.
350 Pat Mell Road SE, Marietta, GA
Stemming from a chile-rich savory stew of goat meat, birria tacos originated in Jalisco, Mexico, before Tijuana cooks added lamb and beef. The “red taco” craze really took off once it landed in Los Angeles, but locals swear that the counter-service Birria El Gordo has some of the best tacos in Atlanta—with people happy to drive 18 miles from downtown Atlanta to wait in line. Choose from stewed, slow-cooked beef, chicken, goat, or jackfruit Birra with a side of consommé for dipping. Other favorites include vampiros (tostadas stuffed with cheese, meat, and guacamole), crunchy taco dorados, and aguas frescas.
11105 State Bridge Road, Suite 160, Alpharetta, GA
This sit-down restaurant in Northern Atlanta featuring Venezuelan cuisine takes its name from small savory corn patties stuffed with cheese, beef, ham, chicken, pork, scrambled eggs, grilled shrimp, beans, rice—even eggplant and avocado. Aside from arepas and arepitas, the menu features cachapas (the vegan version of arepas), Angus beef and vegetarian burgers, soups, salads, and traditional dishes such as Pabellón Criollo Venezolano, a mix of shredded chicken, pork, beef, or vegetables served with black beans, rice, and plantains. Soak up the flavors amid the colorful art of tropical birds and live music.
290 14th Street NW, Atlanta, GA
Located in midtown Atlanta less than two miles from the Georgia Aquarium, this quick and casual sandwich shop is crazy about its traditional Cuban hot pressed sandwiches but also its platters, such as Abuela’s Picadillo, a ground beef dish with rice, black beans, and fried plantains. Craving shredded beef? Choose the Ropa Vieja, cooked in a tomato base with onions and green peppers, or Vaca Frita, seasoned with a lemon-lime marinade and grilled onions. Sides include croquettas, empanadas, French fries, and maduros. Save room for the flan (the owner’s Abuelita’s recipe), or just unwind with expresso or café con Leche.
4650 Jimmy Carter Boulevard, Norcross, GA
About 18 miles northwest of downtown Atlanta, this restaurant features an extensive menu of Dominican dishes, plus favorites from Mexico, Colombia, and Honduras. Choose from appetizers such as Pastelitos Rellenos (pastry stuffed with beef, cheese, chicken, or pork), mussels, alitas with chicken, or shrimp empanadas. Add a soup or salad, then choose an entrée of chicken, beef, or seafood accompanied by rice and beans, vegetables, plantains, fries, mofongo, or pasta. Niños can nibble on spaghetti or chicken fingers if adults can’t tempt them to try the larger plates. Some flavors to savor include Bistec a la Criolla, Fajitas Mixtas, Chicarrón de Pollo, churrasco, and Chillo Frito. Finish the feast with a smoothie, coconut water, cocktails, or Refrescos Naturales such as pineapple, passionfruit, tamarind, or guava.
Open daily from 7 a.m. to midnight, El Taco Veloz has been a Georgia staple since 1991, with locations in Doraville (shown on Facebook), Buford, Smyrna, Gainesville, Norcross, Chamblee, and Atlanta. It serves some of the best Latin street food, including breakfasts of chorizo and eggs to Mexican sandwiches of refried beans, avocado, tomato, cheese, and a choice of meats. You’ll also find seafood, quesadillas, nachos, tacos, and burritos bursting with flavors such as charbroiled steak, shredded beef, seasoned grilled pork, Mexican sausage, beef tongue, and chicken. Order a side of salsa pico de gallo, and top it off with rice pudding or churros.
3870 Lawrenceville Hwy, Ste C114, Lawrenceville, GA
Serving Latin and Venezuelan food for more than a decade, Mango Latino Grill is a casual eatery about 50 minutes to an hour northeast of downtown Atlanta in Lawrenceville that also offers catering and online ordering. Its menu includes hen and beef soup; appetizers such as Coquitos de Platano (small plantain baskets of grilled chicken and steak topped with shredded cheese); empanadas; pastelito and a wide selection of arepas. Its specials include Patacon Verde (a plantain sandwich of shredded cheese, ketchup, mayo, lettuce, and tomato), grilled chicken or steak with tostones and fried yucca, fried fish fillets, burgers, and Cuban sandwiches. Bring little ones for the kids’ menu or a sweet treat, such as flan or torta tres leches con arequipe, a three-milk cake topped with caramel.
3384 Shallowford Road, Chamblee, GA
Roughly 14 miles from midtown Atlanta in Chamblee, Taqueria El Viejon has an extensive menu featuring everything from mini tacos and sopes gorditas to molcajete rojo, chimichangas, enchiladas, chilaquiles, alambre, and ceviche. Try the Pescado Empapelado, featuring a tilapia filet cooked in foil with octopus, shrimp, and vegetables, or the Zarape, featuring thin steak, bacon, ham, and cactus cooked with onions and bell pepper and topped with cheese. Taqueria El Viejon also has domestic and imported Cerveza and tequila; a kids’ menu of quesadillas, burgers, and chicken nuggets; and breakfasts including Huevos Divorciados—eggs inside a tortilla with red and green sauce.
950 Indian Trail Road, Suite 3F, Lilburn, GA
About 22 miles northwest of Atlanta, Mamajuana Restaurant and Lounge serves Mexican and Dominican specialties cooked fresh to order. Try savory appetizers such as chulitos de yuca (cassava croquettes stuffed with ground beef) or picadera (fried cracklings with chicken, salami, pork, cheese, and fried green plantains). Sample fajitas, quesadillas, or Arroz con mariscos (seafood rice) from the Mexican side of the menu, or opt for a Dominican dish such as stewed beef, stewed goat, stewed oxtail, stewed chicken, bacalao (salted codfish), or tripe soup. The menu includes sandwiches and several chicken dishes, such as grilled chicken in mango sauce. The lounge welcomes guests to linger with dancing and hookah all night long.