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Guatemalan dishes from Churrasco Chapin in Los Angeles.
Guatemalan dishes from Churrasco Chapin in Los Angeles.
Matthew Kang

19 Incredible Places to Eat Central American Food in Los Angeles

Delicious dishes from El Salvador, Guatemala, Belize, Nicaragua, and Honduras in Los Angeles

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Guatemalan dishes from Churrasco Chapin in Los Angeles.
| Matthew Kang

It’s a great time to move beyond the pupusa and explore the distinct flavors of Central American food in Los Angeles at the 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.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Mis Raices Salvadorean Food

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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.

El Katracho

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While Honduran food is not as well known in Los Angeles, but these baleadas, which are thick and come in tasty flour tortillas come filled with smoky refried beans, scrambled eggs, cheese, and cool cream and sliced avocado that will 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 definitive dish in Honduran cuisine.

El Churrasco Chapín

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A newcomer to the Central-American enclave that sprawls along the border of Hollywood and East Hollywood between Santa Monica and Melrose, Monica Ramos’s Guatemalan grill and kitchen is making a name for her home cooking and shucos (Guatemalan hot dogs). Guatemalans come from all over to try the shucos, a formidable hot dog with sauerkraut, guacamol (avocado spread), large wieners, and thin squirts of ketchup, mayo, and mustard that’s the best in town. Ramos’s carne guisada, or beef in gravy, is rich and zesty. When on the menu, frijoles blancos, a tender pork and white beans with a tangy recado (stew) of tomatoes, chiles guaques, and seasonings is a must-try.

Guatemalan dishes from Churrasco Chapin in Los Angeles.
Dishes from Churraso Chapín.
Matthew Kang

Casa Chapina

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The third Guatemalan restaurant to occupy this corner has won 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.

Guatemalan Night Market

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In Guatemalan neighborhoods all over the country, nights fill the air with smoky churrasco: barbecued steak, longaniza (sausage), carne adobada (pork in achiote marinade), and chicken served with refried beans, thick corn tortillas, and coditos (macaroni salad). One of the best examples is the night market at 6th and Bonnie Brae in Westlake. Shopping carts converted into street grills serve churrasco, as well as fried chicken with French fries, a Guatemalan street food essential. Also consider the many types of Guatemalan tamales, plus wavy tostadas spread with flavorful beans or guacamol (avocado spread). Everything can be washed down with a crowd favorite, fresco (fresh water) de crema, an ultra rich, sugary drink of corn starch, evaporated milk, and vanilla.

Street vendor in 6th and Bonnie Brae, Los Angeles.
Street vendor at the Guatemalan Night Market on 6th and Bonnie Brae
Wonho Frank Lee

Doña Bibi's Restaurant

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A respected institution in MacArthur Park, traditional cook and Latino community activist Doña Bibi has been cooking stellar Honduran food since 1997 in LA’s biggest Central-American neighborhood. Bibi is very proud of her sopa de caracol, a creamy pot of conch, shrimp, green bananas, yucca, carrots, and cabbage flavored by peppers, onion, and a signature green tint from annatto oil. Baleadas con todo, which are beans, cream, avocado, and egg, are a locals favorite, but for homesick Hondurans, pescado lago de Yojoa, Bibi’s fried tilapia with fried green banana strips and pickled cabbage, is a weekend getaway to the touritic lake on a plate.

Belizean Paradise Cuisine

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Where else can you get fall-off-the-bone tender pigtails with split peas north of the 10? At Yvonne Myvette’s Belizean kitchen, there’s escabeche, a special, tart chicken, that goes into an vinegary onion soup topped with the chicken and hard boiled eggs. The whole thing is stewed in black recado, a spice paste, called chimole, that’s rare to enjoy outside South LA. Belize’s national filling dish, rice and beans, are cooked in coconut milk and spices, and come with standard stew chicken, or stew beef, not to mention several other proteins like fried fish.

Belizean Paradise.
Belizean Paradise.

Vchos Truck

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Chef Wendy Centeno is one of the bichos (Central American slang for young people) spreading Salvadoran food culture all over Los Angeles with her made-to-order pupusas, amply stuffed with loroco and cheese, pork with beans and cheese, beans and cheese, and more. Her pupusas are gluten-free, with vegetarian and dairy-free fillings available. She also serves sliders, tacos, and loaded steak fries with Salvadoran influences that play to LA’s many dining trends. Centeno’s modern pupusería can be found throughout Los Angeles at several food trucks. Check Instagram for their latest locations.

Vegan pupusa at Vchos
Vegan pupusa at Vchos

La Cevicheria

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Julio Orellana 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 percent Chapín.

Saraba Garifuna Cuisine

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The Belizean cuisine at Winston Miranda’s food truck includes savory panades, a fried empanada made with corn masa blended with recado (achiote paste) stuffed with beans, salbutes, fried puffy corn tortillas topped with shredded chicken, and garnaches — refried bean tostadas. But go here for the Garifuna dishes. Hudut are green plantains mashed into a ball to eat with fish and coconut stew, the most representative dish of his culture. There’s also with tapou, a fish and green plantain soup, and bundiga, a thick fish and coconut stew with okra and green bananas.

Winston Miranda of Saraba Garifuna Cuisine
Winston Miranda of Saraba Garifuna Cuisine
Wonho Frank Lee

La 27th

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LA’s most popular Nicaraguan restaurant 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.

Corredor Salvadoreño

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This might be the best spot in town for Salvadoran cuisine, with multiple stands making umami-rich blood clam cocktails seasoned with salsa Perrins (Worcestershire sauce), fresh green mango dressed with ground pumpkin seed powder and lime, cheesy pupusas, and riguas — a flat corn cake with milk and cream, toasted on a comal. Savor the Salvadoran street food fair as you shop for fresh shucked beans, Salvadoran cheeses, pickled vegetables, and a delicious assortment of tamales.

Edge of the Salvadoran street food market at Two Guys Plaza in Koreatown.
Salvadoran street food market at Two Guys Plaza in Koreatown.
Bill Esparza/Eater LA

Sabor Nicaragüense Restaurant

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Since 2018, the newest Nicaraguan restaurant in LA has gained a strong following of Nica clientele that comes for antojitos típicos, traditional plates, and solid customer service. There’s an extensive breakfast menu that includes the classic gallo pinto, rice and beans with fried cheese and plantains, and pickled cabbage salad. In addition, try the popular snacks like vigorón, boiled yucca, pickled cabbage, crackling, and finally quesillo, homemade Nicaraguan cheese in a corn tortilla. Plates like salpicón (minced meat) come piled high with gallo pinto, fried cheese triangles, tajadas verdes (green plantain strips), fried plantains, and pickled cabbage. 

La Esquina Salvadoreña

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Cecilia Galán has taken over the kitchen at the former Rincon Usuluteco space, along with partners Eduardo Marroquín and Lesly Galán, bringing new life to their yuca con pescaditas, boiled then fried, yucca with curtido and poeciliids, tiny freshwater fish that are fried to a crisp. There’s a full menu of rellenos, egg-battered pacayas (bamboo shoots), green beans, güisquiles (chayotes), and stuffed bell peppers topped with tomato sauce. Don’t miss the caldo siete mares, a creamy seafood soup thickened by tart, Salvadoran cream.

Tracey's

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For almost 40 years, Barbara Tracey’s homey cooking has been an anchor in the Belizean community in Los Angeles, with some of the creamiest bollos (Belizean tamales) in town, as well as crispy garnaches (refried bean and cheese tostadas) and hearty Kriol food. Order the braised oxtail, stewed in a gravy and then reddened by recado — an annatto seed condiment. It’s sided with rice and beans, fried plantain, and a cool, chunky potato salad. On Saturdays, grab a boil up, a plate of boiled tubers, pig tail, eggs, and fish covered in tomato sauce. It’s a Belizean party on a plate.

Paseo San Miguel

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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 ambience. There’s 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.

Tortas Hula Hula

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The famed tortas mexicanas, Salvadoran tortas that are named for their resemblance to Mexican tortas, from Parque Hula Hula in San Salvador have become a more common Salvadoran dish in LA thanks to Carlos Cortez. Tortas Hula Hula are pan flautas (long bread roll), layered with smashed avocado, mustardy curtido, beef patties, ham, salsa dulce, and mayo, and mataniños on skinny rolls packed with mortadella, and dressed similarly. They are assembled with care by Cortez at his Avalon Gardens cart.

A cross section cut of a long sandwich with burger patties insde.
Tortas Hula Hula
Wonho Frank Lee

Don Lenchos Restaurant

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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. Or order up a round of some of the best pupusas in town.

Las Segovias Restaurant

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This is a place for 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.

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Mis Raices Salvadorean Food

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.

El Katracho

While Honduran food is not as well known in Los Angeles, but these baleadas, which are thick and come in tasty flour tortillas come filled with smoky refried beans, scrambled eggs, cheese, and cool cream and sliced avocado that will 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 definitive dish in Honduran cuisine.

El Churrasco Chapín

Guatemalan dishes from Churrasco Chapin in Los Angeles.
Dishes from Churraso Chapín.
Matthew Kang

A newcomer to the Central-American enclave that sprawls along the border of Hollywood and East Hollywood between Santa Monica and Melrose, Monica Ramos’s Guatemalan grill and kitchen is making a name for her home cooking and shucos (Guatemalan hot dogs). Guatemalans come from all over to try the shucos, a formidable hot dog with sauerkraut, guacamol (avocado spread), large wieners, and thin squirts of ketchup, mayo, and mustard that’s the best in town. Ramos’s carne guisada, or beef in gravy, is rich and zesty. When on the menu, frijoles blancos, a tender pork and white beans with a tangy recado (stew) of tomatoes, chiles guaques, and seasonings is a must-try.

Guatemalan dishes from Churrasco Chapin in Los Angeles.
Dishes from Churraso Chapín.
Matthew Kang

Casa Chapina

The third Guatemalan restaurant to occupy this corner has won 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.

Guatemalan Night Market

Street vendor in 6th and Bonnie Brae, Los Angeles.
Street vendor at the Guatemalan Night Market on 6th and Bonnie Brae
Wonho Frank Lee

In Guatemalan neighborhoods all over the country, nights fill the air with smoky churrasco: barbecued steak, longaniza (sausage), carne adobada (pork in achiote marinade), and chicken served with refried beans, thick corn tortillas, and coditos (macaroni salad). One of the best examples is the night market at 6th and Bonnie Brae in Westlake. Shopping carts converted into street grills serve churrasco, as well as fried chicken with French fries, a Guatemalan street food essential. Also consider the many types of Guatemalan tamales, plus wavy tostadas spread with flavorful beans or guacamol (avocado spread). Everything can be washed down with a crowd favorite, fresco (fresh water) de crema, an ultra rich, sugary drink of corn starch, evaporated milk, and vanilla.

Street vendor in 6th and Bonnie Brae, Los Angeles.
Street vendor at the Guatemalan Night Market on 6th and Bonnie Brae
Wonho Frank Lee

Doña Bibi's Restaurant

A respected institution in MacArthur Park, traditional cook and Latino community activist Doña Bibi has been cooking stellar Honduran food since 1997 in LA’s biggest Central-American neighborhood. Bibi is very proud of her sopa de caracol, a creamy pot of conch, shrimp, green bananas, yucca, carrots, and cabbage flavored by peppers, onion, and a signature green tint from annatto oil. Baleadas con todo, which are beans, cream, avocado, and egg, are a locals favorite, but for homesick Hondurans, pescado lago de Yojoa, Bibi’s fried tilapia with fried green banana strips and pickled cabbage, is a weekend getaway to the touritic lake on a plate.

Belizean Paradise Cuisine

Belizean Paradise.
Belizean Paradise.

Where else can you get fall-off-the-bone tender pigtails with split peas north of the 10? At Yvonne Myvette’s Belizean kitchen, there’s escabeche, a special, tart chicken, that goes into an vinegary onion soup topped with the chicken and hard boiled eggs. The whole thing is stewed in black recado, a spice paste, called chimole, that’s rare to enjoy outside South LA. Belize’s national filling dish, rice and beans, are cooked in coconut milk and spices, and come with standard stew chicken, or stew beef, not to mention several other proteins like fried fish.

Belizean Paradise.
Belizean Paradise.

Vchos Truck

Vegan pupusa at Vchos
Vegan pupusa at Vchos

Chef Wendy Centeno is one of the bichos (Central American slang for young people) spreading Salvadoran food culture all over Los Angeles with her made-to-order pupusas, amply stuffed with loroco and cheese, pork with beans and cheese, beans and cheese, and more. Her pupusas are gluten-free, with vegetarian and dairy-free fillings available. She also serves sliders, tacos, and loaded steak fries with Salvadoran influences that play to LA’s many dining trends. Centeno’s modern pupusería can be found throughout Los Angeles at several food trucks. Check Instagram for their latest locations.

Vegan pupusa at Vchos
Vegan pupusa at Vchos

La Cevicheria

Julio Orellana 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 percent Chapín.

Saraba Garifuna Cuisine

Winston Miranda of Saraba Garifuna Cuisine
Winston Miranda of Saraba Garifuna Cuisine
Wonho Frank Lee

The Belizean cuisine at Winston Miranda’s food truck includes savory panades, a fried empanada made with corn masa blended with recado (achiote paste) stuffed with beans, salbutes, fried puffy corn tortillas topped with shredded chicken, and garnaches — refried bean tostadas. But go here for the Garifuna dishes. Hudut are green plantains mashed into a ball to eat with fish and coconut stew, the most representative dish of his culture. There’s also with tapou, a fish and green plantain soup, and bundiga, a thick fish and coconut stew with okra and green bananas.

Winston Miranda of Saraba Garifuna Cuisine
Winston Miranda of Saraba Garifuna Cuisine
Wonho Frank Lee

La 27th

LA’s most popular Nicaraguan restaurant 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.

Corredor Salvadoreño

Edge of the Salvadoran street food market at Two Guys Plaza in Koreatown.
Salvadoran street food market at Two Guys Plaza in Koreatown.
Bill Esparza/Eater LA

This might be the best spot in town for Salvadoran cuisine, with multiple stands making umami-rich blood clam cocktails seasoned with salsa Perrins (Worcestershire sauce), fresh green mango dressed with ground pumpkin seed powder and lime, cheesy pupusas, and riguas — a flat corn cake with milk and cream, toasted on a comal. Savor the Salvadoran street food fair as you shop for fresh shucked beans, Salvadoran cheeses, pickled vegetables, and a delicious assortment of tamales.

Edge of the Salvadoran street food market at Two Guys Plaza in Koreatown.
Salvadoran street food market at Two Guys Plaza in Koreatown.
Bill Esparza/Eater LA

Sabor Nicaragüense Restaurant

Since 2018, the newest Nicaraguan restaurant in LA has gained a strong following of Nica clientele that comes for antojitos típicos, traditional plates, and solid customer service. There’s an extensive breakfast menu that includes the classic gallo pinto, rice and beans with fried cheese and plantains, and pickled cabbage salad. In addition, try the popular snacks like vigorón, boiled yucca, pickled cabbage, crackling, and finally quesillo, homemade Nicaraguan cheese in a corn tortilla. Plates like salpicón (minced meat) come piled high with gallo pinto, fried cheese triangles, tajadas verdes (green plantain strips), fried plantains, and pickled cabbage. 

La Esquina Salvadoreña

Cecilia Galán has taken over the kitchen at the former Rincon Usuluteco space, along with partners Eduardo Marroquín and Lesly Galán, bringing new life to their yuca con pescaditas, boiled then fried, yucca with curtido and poeciliids, tiny freshwater fish that are fried to a crisp. There’s a full menu of rellenos, egg-battered pacayas (bamboo shoots), green beans, güisquiles (chayotes), and stuffed bell peppers topped with tomato sauce. Don’t miss the caldo siete mares, a creamy seafood soup thickened by tart, Salvadoran cream.

Tracey's

For almost 40 years, Barbara Tracey’s homey cooking has been an anchor in the Belizean community in Los Angeles, with some of the creamiest bollos (Belizean tamales) in town, as well as crispy garnaches (refried bean and cheese tostadas) and hearty Kriol food. Order the braised oxtail, stewed in a gravy and then reddened by recado — an annatto seed condiment. It’s sided with rice and beans, fried plantain, and a cool, chunky potato salad. On Saturdays, grab a boil up, a plate of boiled tubers, pig tail, eggs, and fish covered in tomato sauce. It’s a Belizean party on a plate.

Related Maps

Paseo San Miguel

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 ambience. There’s 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.

Tortas Hula Hula

A cross section cut of a long sandwich with burger patties insde.
Tortas Hula Hula
Wonho Frank Lee

The famed tortas mexicanas, Salvadoran tortas that are named for their resemblance to Mexican tortas, from Parque Hula Hula in San Salvador have become a more common Salvadoran dish in LA thanks to Carlos Cortez. Tortas Hula Hula are pan flautas (long bread roll), layered with smashed avocado, mustardy curtido, beef patties, ham, salsa dulce, and mayo, and mataniños on skinny rolls packed with mortadella, and dressed similarly. They are assembled with care by Cortez at his Avalon Gardens cart.

A cross section cut of a long sandwich with burger patties insde.
Tortas Hula Hula
Wonho Frank Lee

Don Lenchos Restaurant

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. Or order up a round of some of the best pupusas in town.