8 essential places for spectacular Latin American food in Vancouver

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With so many international food offerings in Vancouver, it’s hard to know where to begin…

Photo: Fayuca

But, if you’re looking for something extra bold, extra spicy and extra vibrant, than you’re probably craving Latin American food.

With flavours from Mexico, most of Central and South America, the Caribbean and Cuba, Vancouver is brimming with beautiful Latin American food options that are just waiting to be enjoyed. Here are some of the city’s favourites.

Escobar – 4245 Fraser St

Photo: Lindsay William-Ross

With its ambitious cocktail program, high contrast plates of pan-Latin food, and swanky decor, the new-ish Fraser Street restaurant seems to have just about everything going for it… except for the controversy surrounding its name. Names aside, the restaurant offers a unique take on pan-Latin fusion, highlighted by big pops of colour, explosions of flavours, and spice, spice, spice!

Cuchillo – 261 Powell Street

Photo: Cuchillo

Cuchillo serves up Modern Pan-Latin tapas with unique and classic cocktail creations right in between Vancouver’s Gastown and Railtown neighbourhoods. Menu highlights include Bison Short Rib Mole and Wild Mexican Sea Prawns. Their swanky decor is perfect for a late night drink (or two).

Fayuca – 1009 Hamilton St

Photo: Fayuca

Did you know that Pacific Northwest of Mexico is closer in distance to Vancouver than to Mexico City? Well, you can definitely taste that proximity in the menu at Fayuca. The PNW approach to Latin American food (or is it vice-versa?) results in some exceptionally fresh, clean and gorgeous dishes. A must-visit in Yaletown.

Baru Latino – 2535 Alma St

Ethically caught seafood and local ingredients served with original drinks and Latin American flair. Baru is a staple in the Point Grey/Kitsilano area, mostly known for their taken on traditional and inventive dishes. To start, definitely try the Crispy Cassava, Yam, and Plantain Chips.

Cacao – 1898 W 1st Ave

Photo: Cacao

Previously nominated as one of the best new restaurants in Canada by enRoute magazine, Cacao serves progressive Latin food in Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighbourhood. The food manages to be elevated yet unpretentious, a definite highlight for fans of big Latin flavours and innovative technique.

Mezcaleria – 1622 Commercial Drive and 68 E Cordova Street

Photo: Mezcaleria Facebook

An extension of the Taqueria family, La Mezcaleria is known for their mezcal flights and insanely delicious queso fundido. Mezcaleria uses local, organic and sustainable products and produce whenever possible. It’s hearty, it’s fun and it’s full of flavour. They also serve brunch!

Havana Vancouver – 1212 Commercial Dr

Photo: Havana Facebook

If you’re looking to indulge in the vibrancy of old Havana, than this Commercial Drive staple is the place to be! Diners can expect a hybrid of authentic Cuban flavours combined with Pacific Northwest style and a commitment to local suppliers. Bright, fresh and fun!

Chicha –  136 E Broadway

Get cozy in this hot spot for Peruvian-inspired tapas, brunch, and Pisco-fueled cocktails. Since opening in 2014, Chicha Restaurant has become a local favourite for the Mount Pleasant crowd. They focus on small plates and amazing cocktails.

No matter what cuisine you’re enjoying this month, trust that it pairs well with Heineken. Now available in 192 countries, the Amsterdam-based brewery has crossed borders and become the world’s most well known premium lager. Heineken goes with just about everything, no matter where in the world you’re enjoying it.