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A Latin American Culinary Tour Of L.A.

A Latin American Culinary Tour Of L.A.

Picture of Gabriela Barragan
Updated: 1 December 2016
One of the great things about being a Los Angeles native is that if you want a tour of Mexico, Central and South America, you don’t have to actually leave. A true melting pot, L.A. offers authentic Guatemalan, Salvadoran, Peruvian and Honduran food. Here are some of our favorite places.
Villa Moreliana Carnitas Estilo Michoacán | © Gabriela Barragan
Villa Moreliana Carnitas Estilo Michoacán | © Gabriela Barragan

Villa Moreliana Carnitas Estilo Michoacán | Mexican

The Mexican food at this indoor market really hits the spot. It’s so good and authentic, you might almost forget you’re in the U.S.A. Of note is Villa Moreliana, which has authentic carnitas, cooked Michocán Style. Michoacán is a state in Mexico known for its carnitas, a classic dish made of shredded pork flavored to perfection. Carnitas are usually served with a side of cilantro, onions, rice, beans and corn tortillas. There are small tables outside where you can bask in the sun, people watch and enjoy the affordable food. The carnitas plate includes your choice of agua fresca — Horchata (rice water) or Jamaica (hibiscus tea). After you eat, take a stroll and go shopping — Grand Central Market is conveniently located near the Jewelry District and famous Fashion District.

Mario's Peruvian Restaurant | © Gabriela Barragan
Mario’s Peruvian Restaurant | © Gabriela Barragan

Street Food in Mac Arthur Park | Central America

MacArthur Park in the Westlake District of L.A., a City of Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument, has been referred to in the past as ‘Mini El Salvador’. If you would like to get out for a walk and see a very interesting neighborhood in Los Angeles, head to the corner Wilshire Boulevard and Alvarado Street. It is easily accessed via the Red Line Metro. There, you will find many street carts selling various snacks, such as fresh fruit, nuts, churros, pan dulce and authentic Salvadorian food, including its national dish, the pupusa. Pupusas are made from thick, handmade corn tortillas stuffed with cheese, beans or chicharrón (pork). You can order a pupusa with all three ingredients, called a mixta. They are made in about three minutes and are served hot with a topping called curtido, which is lightly fermented cabbage, red peppers and vinegar.

Mario’s Peruvian Seafood Restaurant | South America

Mario’s is one of the oldest Peruvian restaurants in L.A. Thanks to this establishment, many Angelinos have been able to expand their horizons with its exciting and unique cuisine. Peruvian food’s unique flavor comes from a fusion of the country’s indigenous cooking styles with those of immigrants from Asia, Europe and West Africa. The menu offers a plethora of delicious seafood options and Lomo Saltado with chicha morada is a must-try authentic Peruvian dish. The service staff are very friendly and willing to answer any questions you may have.

Mario’s Peruvian & Seafood, 5786 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 323-466-4181


MacArthur Park | © Gabriela Barragan
MacArthur Park | © Gabriela Barragan

El Floridita | Caribbean

Tucked away in the heart of Hollywood in a modest shopping center on the corner of Vine Street and Fountain Avenue, sits El Floridita. This Cuban dates back to 1820 in Havana, Cuba. El Floridita features live entertainment nightly, from salsa dancing, live music, to performances. Enjoy some ropa vieja and some sweet plantains with their famous daiquiri, while enjoying a live salsa band. The environment is intimate and can easily make you feel like you’re in the tropics.