It’s a great time to move beyond the pupusa and explore the distinct flavors of Central American food in Los Angeles at our best spots representing El Salvador, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and Nicaragua. Here's a list of the best places to eat Central American cuisine in the city of Angeles, from East LA and South LA to the far reaches of San Fernando Valley.Read More
Where to Eat Central American Food in Los Angeles
Pupusas and beyond
1. La Cevicheria
Los Angeles, CA 90019
Julio Arellano doesn’t consider his celebrated Byzantine-Latino Quarter seafood spot Guatemalan, but the soul of the restaurant resides in an overflowing goblet of blood clams and their liquor seasoned with onions, cilantro, mint, avocado and tomato with a squeeze of lime and a splash of tomato juice that’s 100% Chapín.
2. La 27th
Los Angeles, CA 90006
L.A.’s most popular Nicaraguan restaurant in the Nicaraguan community covers the classics: baho, vigoron and chanco all piled on a plate with an unwieldy structure of tajadas verde (green banana strips), fried squares of cheese, sweet plantains covered in cabbage slaw on a bed of gallo pinto (beans and rice mixed together) in a culinary Jenga that gets toppled upon your first bite.
3. El Shuko Truck
Los Angeles, CA 90011
For 2 weekends every month, one of best Central-American vendors in the country parks its electric blue, Mayan themed food truck serving shucos, or Guatemalan hot dogs, on special buns made by a Guatemalan bakery back in Las Vegas, where owner Cristian Guzman is based. Guzman’s shucos come with a beef frank, or Spanish chorizo, avocado sauce, boiled cabbage, mayo ketchup and mustard.
4. El Rincon Usuluteco
Los Angeles, CA 90018
Fried yucca with tiny, salty fried river fish with a hit of acid from pickled cabbage is the essence of great cooking. There are delicious stews here as well, especially the rich, tangy 7 mares thickened by Salvadoran cream and the lengua guisada, or stewed tongue in a dark, mouthwatering tomato based sauce.
5. Mis Raices Salvadorean Food
Reseda, CA 91335
At this Lake Balboa gem, Mercedes Rodriguez offers rare Saldavoran dishes like pito con huevo, a red, meaty pito flower cooked with eggs and alguaishte, a pumpkin seed based dish that’s akin to a Mexican mole. The crisp, fried rellenos, or egg-battered vegetables stuffed with chayote or bamboo shoots are accompanied by a delicious tomato sauce are as good as any market stall in El Salvador.
6. El Katracho
Sherman Oaks, CA 91411
While Honduran food is not as well known in Los Angeles, these baleadas, which are thick and tasty flour tortillas filled with smoky refried beans, scrambled eggs, cheese, and cool cream and sliced avocado speak to the taco and burrito tendencies of all Angelenos. Now that you’re convinced, try the conch soup for a tropical themed brew of plantains, coconut and fresh herbs that’s a defining dish in Honduran cuisine.
7. Ella's Belizean Restaurant
Los Angeles, CA 90062
As good as any stand in Belize City, a parade of Mayan snacks: panades, garnaches, and salbutes squeeze through a food slot not much bigger than a Fedex drop box at Carla Dawson’s Belizean take-out. But start with rice and beans, the national dish of red kidney beans and rice enriched with coconut milk, pig tail and crushed garlic topped with a protein of your choosing.
8. Joan And Sisters Belizean Restaurant
Los Angeles, CA 90018
Located in the heart of Little Belize, this family run dive is almost always empty as most Belizeans prefer to enjoy their light, airy conch fritters with lots of pickled habanero and onion salsa and porky split pea soup with pig tails in the comforts of their own home. Call and reserve your boil up on weekends, a oddly delicious dish of boiled tubers, fish, pig tails and hard-boiled eggs covered in tomato sauce.
9. Paseo San Miguel
Los Angeles, CA 90062
Offering a touch of inner-city rancho and dishes like huevos con loroco, an edible flower whose bitter notes are a primary theme in Salvadoran cuisine, this small chain offers great food and ambiance. They’ve a fine, hearty sopa de pata, or cow’s foot soup flush with vegetables, stained brick red with achiote and thickened by cooked rice that really hits the spot.
10. Las Segovias Restaurant
Huntington Park, CA 90255
Here is where you can get into some serious nica street food bites like quesillo de nagarote, a corn tortilla covered in a melted soft cheese, a dollop of crema nicaragüense and chilero (spicy onion salsa) paired with tiste, and toasted cacao and corn drink. You can even get bottles of chilero, Nicaraguan salsa to go, perfect for the restaurant’s pezcozones, or egg-battered squash stuffed with dry shredded cheese.
11. Casa Chapina
Los Angeles, CA 90004
The third Guatemalan restaurant to occupy this corner in the last year is winning back customers with dishes like pepian, a pumpkin seed based dish with vegetables and chicken and hilachas, a savory stew of juicy shredded beef flavored by slow cooked tomatoes, chiles güaques, potatoes and carrots brightened with a pinch of achiote.
12. Don Lenchos Restaurant
Los Angeles, CA 90044
On a ramshackle patio in the back of this Harvard Park joint is where you can find whole fish cooked over a mesquite grill with thick tortillas, chirmol salsa and beans for a taste of the beach in El Salvador’s La Libertad department. If tilapia is not your thing, try the grilled quail or Salvadoran-style chorizo instead and call up a round of some of the best pupusas in town.
13. Macarthur Park Feria Chapin
Los Angeles, CA 90057
In the busy streets that run along MacArthur Park, a goldmine of Guatemalan street is sold out of baskets, coolers, strollers and jerry-rigged stands selling everything from tamales,, garnachas, tostadas, and enchiladas to antojitos, plates, and soups. On weekend mornings you’ll find tamales de arroz (rice tamales), garnachas and wavy tostadas topped with creamy avocado salsa. At night the shopping carts roll out where you can get full meals of pacayas, stewed meats and cow’s foot soup for $5.
14. Iglesia Cristiana Casa de Dios
Los Angeles, CA 90023
If you didn’t know, the only place to get pupusas in L.A., with few exceptions is outside the hallowed doors of our Central-American Pentecostal churches such as this stand in East L.A. Pupusas with chicharrón, cheese, beans, cheese and loroco flower and revueltas (mixed) are griddled over an open flame awaiting their baptismal in tomato sauce and curtido.