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Central American Restaurants

Some friends who moved to MN from Latin America have been looking for good Central and South American food.

We were thinking of checking out some of the restaurants in Northeast Minneapolis and Columbia Heights. This area seems to have some Ecuadorian and Colombian places.

Has anyone had particularly good experiences with food in this area?

We have tried La Vina and Los Andes in South Minneapolis. We have also been to Manana on East 7th in St. Paul and to Mercado Central.

Other suggestions or neighborhoods that we are overlooking for Central and South American fare?

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  1. Try Chimborazo at 2851 Central Ave NE for Ecuadorian food.

    2 Replies
    1. re: KTFoley

      Chimborazo is fantastic, easily the best churrasco that I have eaten in the Twin Cities.
      Everything at this place is well done, and great care is exercised in the preparation. You can not go wrong at this place.

      1. re: doctor k

        I'll third the recommendation of Chimborazo. A notch above Los Andes, IMO, though I am a fan of that place as well.

    2. There is a fairly new paupusaria on Lake Street in the old Rotisserie space (someone know the cross street? Maybe Cedar?). I haven't been, but have been hoping for a review. You could check it out and report back.

      2 Replies
      1. re: churchka

        It's at Lake and Bloomington, I think it's called El Centro. I went a little while ago, and thought the papusas were good, not great. (I'm preferential to Salsa a la Salsa but that's just my view - I think Lorenzo their owner is doing great food). The chicharrone papusa was pretty tasty.
        The service was friendly and the big plastic bucket filled with their cabbage/slaw salad was tasty as well.

        1. re: eastlakovore

          Have either of you had pupusas at Mañana? Curious how these compare to my gold standard...

      2. I would try El Meson in Minneapolis - UNBELIEVABLE. One of the best restaurants in South Minneapolis in my opinion. Their Sangria is outSTANDING.

        1 Reply
        1. re: cgoodman27

          El Meson bills itself as Spanish and Carribean cuisine, which can be quite distinct from the Central & South American dishes these diners are seeking.

        2. La Gran Colombia on Central is very good and doesn't dumb anything down for the "midwestern palate" . The chicharrones platter here is outstanding and you will never...ever leave hungry. Great service, better food.

          Sabor Latino on Central is also good. We primarily get seafood dishes here and they are consistent. The gallo en chicha and sopa de pata are good here when they have it. Be aware that English speakers can be hard to come by most of the time.

          Chimborazo is run by some of the nicest people we have ever met and have a great commitment to their food. We've been about 3 times since they opened and on each occasion they had been out of one or more things we ordered. We didn't mind and they were apologetic, but be prepared in case this happens. I find the stir fry thing they do with the french fries to be one of the oddest yet most satisfying foods in this category.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Foureyes137

            Foureyes137, I noticed that La Gran has guinea pig on the menu, have you tried it before? That alone is enough to make me want to try out this place!

            1. re: doctor k

              I have not. If I run out of things to try there, I'll give it a shot. I know they serve it at Chino as well. Ask to see how it comes packaged if you're ever there.

              It feels like one of those indigenous foods people eat out of necessity rather than pleasure, but I'll eat just about anything so...

            2. re: Foureyes137

              Every time I pass by Chimborazo (on my way to Holy Land or NE), I hesitate and think about stopping. I'll have to give it a try sometime soon.