It used to be, not too long ago, that Latin American food in Cleveland meant Mexican cuisine and that was it. However, in recent years, a myriad of delicious eateries have sprung up in and around the city, offering everything from Brazilian to Peruvian to Columbian food. For the uninitiated, each of these cuisines is unique and distinct, so you need to sample them all. How many have you tried?
Barroco Grill is located on the west side of Lakewood, in the city's Birdtown neighborhood. The pleasant, unassuming eatery serves menu items spanning a range of South American cuisines, including Columbian, Brazilian and Argentinian. Highlights include house-made arepas (corn tortilla-like pockets with cheese or a variety of other fillings), cheesy corn with bacon, fresh guacamole, marinated steak and chicken skewers, pasta with chorizo and Columbian sausage and a variety of sweet and savory plantain dishes.
Barraco Grill is open daily for both lunch and dinner. Most of their menu is also available as carry out. You can even order online. Major credit cards are accepted.
Although Barroco Grill was a BYOB restaurant when they first opened in 2011, they now have a full liquor license and offer a good selection of imported beers, cocktails and wine. The vibrant, eclectic decor is a sensory delight and live South American music and other entertainment is featured on the weekends.
12906 Madison Ave.
Lakewood, OH 44107
One of the first South American restaurants to open in greater Cleveland, Paladar is still one of the best. The menu includes items from the Caribbean, Central America, and South American cuisines. Highlights of the extensive menu include an option to make your own guacamole, Columbian seafood stew, grilled mojo chicken with black beans and lamb Albondigas stew. Paladar's mojitos are also one of the restaurants most popular items.
Paladar is noted for its rum bar, featuring more than 75 different varieties of the South American spirit. They even offer rum tasting classes. Paladar also hosts a popular Brazilian Carnivale party on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.
Paladar is open daily for lunch and dinner. They also offer late-night dining (until 11pm), a rarity in this part of the city. Paladar accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover. Paladar offers ample free parking and there is a small patio that's open roughly between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Paladar also has four locations in the greater Washington DC area and one just outside of Philadelphia.
28601 Chagrin Blvd.
Don't be turned off by the unassuming storefront, this small eatery serves up some of the best food in Cleveland, of any ilk. The restaurant specializes in Columbian and Salvadoran cuisine.
The menu includes Columbia food, including arepas, bandejas, empanadas and Salvadoran food, such as pupusas de queso, chicharron (ground pork), frijol con queso, tamales and orchata. They also serve a variety of imported beers, sangria and margaritas.
El Aprepazo y Pupuseria is open daily for daily and dinner. They accept Visa, Mastercard and Discover Cards.
El Arepazo Y Pupuseria
22799 Lorain Ave.
Fairview Park, OH 44126
Located in Cleveland's artsy Larchmere neighborhood, near art galleries, craft shops and antique stores, Batuqui brings the flavors of sunny Brazil to northeast Ohio. Menu highlights include pao de queijo (Brazilian cheese bread), xim xim (a stew made with chicken, palm oil and carrots and served over rice and peanuts) and feijoda (black beans simmered with bacon, smoked turkey, pork, beef and fried spinach.
There is outdoor seating during the warmer months and live entertainment most weekends. Batuqui offers a full bar selection as well as a diverse wine list.
Batuqui is open for dinner open from Tuesday through Sunday. They accept Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express.
Batuqui Brazilian Restaurant
12706 Larchmere Blvd.
Cleveland, OH 44120
Another notable Brazilian restaurant in Cleveland is Brasa Grill in downtown's Warehouse District. A little more upscale than Batuqui, the Brasa Grill offers an elaborate salad bar buffet with more than 50 items, including cocktail shrimp, mussels, grilled vegetables and pasta. Tables sport white linen tablecloths and dress is upscale casual.
Brazilian servers (called gauchos) roam the dining room and slice meat directly at your table off of large skewers. There are 16 varieties from which to choose in this continuous service, including beef, pork, turkey, lamb, filet mignon and beef ribs. When you're seated your given red and green cards to set on your table, so
Diners pay a set price for all. Children between 5 and 12 pay a discounted price and children under age five eat for free.
Brasa has an extensive wine list and a full bar menu. The restaurant is open daily, for dinner only. Valet parking is available.
Brasa Grill Brazilian Steakhouse
1300 W 9th St.
Cleveland, OH 44113
Other ethnic restaurants in the Cleveland area
For more ethnic restaurant choices, see: