30 Oct Beyond Burritos: 7 of Atlanta’s Latin Hidden Gems
Uncovering Atlanta's authentic Latin cuisine – Descubre los verdaderos sabores de Latinoamérica
When thinking of Latino cuisine, it may be easy to default to images of tacos and burritos. Mexican food has long dominated the national imagination of what south-of-the-border kitchens offer. While we are grateful for everything from Baja to Oaxacan menu items, Latin American food offers far greater diversity. The best Latin restaurants in Atlanta come in many different flavors!
The reason Latin restaurants in ATL serve up such variety is because the city itself has an exploding international population from all over the world. Cultural inclusiveness fosters creativity as global cuisine fosters some of the best food in Atlanta. During Latin Restaurant Weeks, avid foodies have the chance to explore the best there is in the Atlanta Latino dining scene. Their once-per-year LRW Menus will lead to unforgettable eating experiences. Below are some of our picks to try authentic Latin American food you might’ve never encountered in your own city. Whether you’re looking for top date night ATL restaurants or simply want to treat friends and family to something wonderful and unexpected, these establishments will leave you begging for más!
If you haven’t ever been lucky enough to sample Venezuelan cuisine, the Arepa Grill should be your first stop on your foodie adventures in the ATL. The husband-wife team of Pedro and Claudia Cardenas first opened up the spot to serve the growing number of their fellow compatriots. They soon learned that just about everybody has an appetite for their fare. When you go there, be sure to try the pastelitos, which are like empanadas with a regional twist. Dairy lovers should dig into tequeños, fried cheese sticks unlike any other. But during Latin Restaurant Weeks, the exclusive item to chow down on is the sample plate of four mini areaps. The namesake of their restaurant is a signature Venezuelan dish of ground maize patties filled with everything from shredded beef to ham and cheese!
1235 Chattahoochee Ave NW Suite 130, Atlanta, GA 30318
Mexican street food hits the streets of the ATL! This family business brings double the deliciousness, with twins Luis Martinez-Obregon and Lucero Martinez-Obregon serving as mutually passionate co-owners. Their track record of successful restaurants in Atlanta had hungry mouths awaiting at the door from day one. Start off with the Aztec Pie, a sort of lasagna with a Latino angle. The tacos and gorditas here are as authentic as you’ll get north of Juarez. And be sure to sample the hurrace, a cornmeal patty topped with meats of veggies. There are also loads of vegan options! Be sure to check this spot out during Latin Restaurant Weeks for an incredible special: blue corn picadillo quesadillas, guacamole, pico and cream for $10.
680 Murphy Ave SW Building 4 Suite 4158, Atlanta, GA 30310
It’s not every single-item eatery that can win us over, but when it comes to Buenos Dias Café at La Bodega, it’s made a little go a long way. For those not in the know, the national dish of El Salvador is the pupusa. This humble griddle cake is ubiquitous in its home country, the same way tacos are in Mexico. This local take on the pasty might remind you of Polish perogies, but they have a mouth feel and flavor profile all their own. Traditionally, it’s filled with cheese or ground beef. However, proprietors Ken and Jeanette Katz have taken the latter’s homegrown recipes to a new level. Since the restaurant serves breakfast and lunch every day, you can get this perfect comfort food loaded with everything from pork to vegan fillings like black beans or spinach. For Latin Restaurant Weeks, keep an eye out for a pupusa and café con leche combo, vegan or non-vegan style!
4650 Jimmy Carter Blvd, Norcross, Georgia, 30093
Caribbean cuisine comes from an array of cultures. From Jamaica’s British influences to the French kitchen’s presence in St. Barts, the region blends many flavors to make its own. Over at ATL’s Café Dominican, the very best Latino recipes from the Dominican Republic mean an outstanding array of delectable meals await. Steak lovers are encouraged to sink their teeth into the bistec a la criolla, for authentic takes on everybody’s favorite cuts of beef. If fish is more to your taste, the fried red snapper is an authentic dish from the fabled island. The adventurous are encouraged to try the conch in creole sauce, one of the most popular seafood comfort foods from the region. It also has disco nights, so come for the food and stay for the dancing! Put it all together, and you’ll get the real feel of a night out in the DR.
1948 Day Dr NW, Duluth, GA 30096
Swinging back up into Venezuela, another incredible eatery showcases the sublime cuisine of this South American nation. Nestled within the cozy Hotel Wyndham Garden, this is the perfect place for breakfast, lunch, or dinner with some real Latin flavor. The cochino frito is a sweet corn pancake with different types of cheese and a side of fried pork. Sandwich lovers will love the pepito tradicional, a French bread sub with steak, chicken, and grilled onions. And definitely save some room for dessert, where the quesiilo portion promises the Venezuelan take on the traditional flan dish. During Latin Restaurant Weeks, drop in for 50% off on the lomo negro, pollo a la plancha, cachapa con queso de mano, and many other amazing menu items. We’re willing to bet they’ll soon be added to your local favorites!
350 Pat Mell Rd SE, Marietta, GA 30060
You may think you’ve already tasted every kind of taco you can taste when it comes to Mexican tacos, but unless you’re familiar with birria tacos, you have some eating to do! Fortunately, Atlanta’s own Birria El Gordo is on hand to fill that gap. Nestor Pineda’s family recipes trace back to the origins of the tacos, which came about when Spanish colonists introduced goats to Mexico. Natives used ancient aboriginal techniques to soften the tougher meat, giving birth to this tradition. Slow-cooked in a spicy braising liquid, the results speak for themselves. During Latin Restaurant Weeks, dive into this delicious world with the Loaded Quesabirria Combo – that’s three of the legendary tacos (beef, goat, chicken, or vegan) and consommé chips. Oh, and the queso dip is homemade and to die for! Make no mistake, this is straight-up comfort food, and you will be craving more as soon as you are done.
Sometimes, great things can begin in small places. The two founders of Pepitazo started as humble roommates dreaming of food from their homeland of Venezuela. One year later, they would open this popular eatery, which has become a favorite Atlanta foodie destination. For the uninitiated, pepitos are a street food mainstay in Venezuela. At this establishment, it’s all about the variety of these amazing French bread concoctions. You can choose between versions with tenderloin, crispy chicken, and more. Expect these subs to be loaded with homemade condiments, and fillers are varied as potato sticks and sweet plantain! For the adventurous, the bold combinations of ingredients are most rewarding. Burger lovers should also give the Venezuelan take a try.
Start discovering Atlanta's hidden gems today!
By using the above restaurant suggestions as your guide, you can soon elevate your palate above the cliched idea of what Latino food is. Some of Atlanta’s best restaurants are here to present you with cuisines as varied as you would find throughout any other region. Central and South America are vast, with many peoples contributing their traditions to dishes featuring native ingredients and techniques.
Atlanta’s welcoming open arms have provided a safe space for many to take a chance to open their own eateries and share the foods that have given them so much joy. Latin Restaurant Weeks is here to help make discovery and sampling easier for those seeking to expand their foodie horizons. Si se puede!
Latin Restaurant Weeks runs from November 3-17 and is the perfect opportunity to enjoy the city’s many delectable Latin flavors. Click here to check out our participants’ limited-time-only specials.