Craving some empanadas, a nicely grilled steak, or a ceviche? Houston’s diverse culinary landscape offers visitors and locals the chance to sample some great cuisine from countries all over South America – from Colombia to Argentina. We’ve put together a guide to help you explore the best in South American cuisine in Houston. If you’ve never visited these places, you’re in for a treat. Read on and start making plans.
Peruvian cuisine is considered among the best in the world, and luckily, we can get a small taste of Peru’s gastronomy right in our backyard. Latin Bites Café has been serving Peruvian classics in its elegant Tanglewood location since 2012.
On the menu you’ll find traditional ceviches, chaufa (Peruvian-style fried rice), and other traditional Peruvian dishes like lomo saltado (beef tenderloin sauteed with peppers and onions served with a side of rice and fries), and aji de gallina (a comforting chicken stew). Make sure to try a pisco sour or other of their refreshing cocktails. For a more casual eatery, we also suggest Peru Cafe Express.
Houston has a good selection of upscale Brazilian steakhouses, or churrascarias, like Fogo de Chão and Chama Gaucha, but to get a taste of the culinary richness of the country, go to Empório Brazilian Grill.
You’ll still be able to get a plate of churrasco and a basket of warm pão de queijo (cheese bread), but Emporio’s menu also features some Brazilian classics like shrimp muqueca – shrimp stewed in coconut milk served with a side of white rice – and feijoada, a stew of black beans with salted and smoked pork and beef cuts. While the feijoada is served every day, check out Emporio’s feijoada buffet on Saturdays.
Mi Pueblito Restaurant has been serving Colombian dishes to Houstonians since 1998. To start, don’t miss the empanadas filled with beef, chicken or cheese. If you’re really hungry, try the bandeja paisa, a dish typical of the Colombian region of Antioquia. This hearty dish comes with rice, red beans, chicharrón, sausage, grilled steak, your choice of fried green or ripe plantains, an arepa, and avocado, all topped with a fried egg.
Other options are ajiaco, a potato-based soup with chicken and peas, or sobrebarriga en salsa, flank steak topped with a traditional tomato and onion sauce. On your way out, stop by the restaurant’s bakery to take home some Colombian baked goods or sweets.
Grilled meats on the fire and Argentinian wines are Tango and Malbec’s specialty, so you can’t go wrong with ordering something from their parilla or grill, but the upscale Galleria-area restaurant also offers other Argentine dishes worth a try. You can’t go wrong starting with an order of delicious, flaky empanadas filled with onion and cheese, cream of corn, beef, or chicken.
Milanesas, or breaded meats, are also on the menu, as are a variety of seafood dishes and pastas. The elegant restaurant is perfect for a night out since it offers live music or live tango dancers almost every night of the week. Looking for a more casual spot to get some choripan or an empanada? Argentina Cafe, also in the Galleria area, is a good choice.