Top South American Food In Denver

July 18, 2011 8:45 AM

Empanada Express (credit: Sarah Carpenter)

South American food in Denver can be hard to come by, but not to worry my spicy, plantain, empanada, rotisserie meat-loving friends, there are still a great handful of picks in Denver to please your palate and quench your thirst.
cafe brazil Top South American Food In Denver


Café Brazil

4408 Lowell Boulevard
Denver, CO 80211
(303) 480-1877
Denver’s prized gem is Café Brazil, it’s easily Denver’s best South American restaurant, and one of the best overall restaurants to experience in Denver. It’s won more awards than any shelf can hold. Favorite dishes include the “Cazuela Colombiana” — jumbo prawns and chicken breast, simmered in a spicy, herbed tomato broth, topped with cayenne pepper, grilled onion and gorgonzola, garnished with green onion, cucumber and parsley, all served Colombian stew style over rice. Check out the light dishes such as the Tortilla Espanola and Tortilla Soup.


1618 East 17th Avenue
Denver, CO 80218
(303) 322-0898
When it comes to dishes and drinks made with passion, with roots from all over Latin America, Limón has it covered. Fashioned in a quaint but classy restaurant along a small strip in Uptown, Limón offers a unique take to all their South American fare, including but not limited to dishes from Peru, Brazil, Cuba, Mexico and Spain. The menu includes Cuban fried plantains with cinnamon, tomatoes, avocado and tomatillo slices. For dinner, try the Mexican Banana Leaf Chicken, accentuated with spicy pickled onions, cumin and cilantro rice. Limón Chef Alex Gurevich creates his dishes as “novoandino cuisine.” It’s way of cooking that combines different styles of preparation but always uses fresh and authentic ingredients.

buenos aires pizzeria Top South American Food In Denver

Buenos Aires Pizzeria (credit: Sarah Carpenter)

Buenos Aires Pizzeria

1319/1307 22nd Street
Denver, CO 80205
(303) 296-6710

Buenos Aires Pizzeria has been a longtime local favorite, for their ingredient-rich pizzas, delectable desserts and one of-a-kind empanadas. They cook from two generations of family recipes with roots in San Isidro, Argentina. You can choose from 20 different meat or veggie fillings for their filling empanadas. I like the “canastitas” myself, which are open faced empanadas. There are pastas, entrees, and of course the famed pizza- 40 different suggestive combinations! Some out of many good ones are the “Chapita”, mozzarella, pineapple, jalapeno, and fresh mint leaves and the “Portena”, mozzarella, prosciutto, arugula and parmesan. And don’t forget to save room for their house-made gelatos.

empanada express Top South American Food In Denver

Empanada Express (credit: Sarah Carpenter)

Empanadas Express Grill

4301 West 44th Avenue
Denver, CO 80211
(303) 955-8362

Empanadas Express Grill offers perfect South American street fare. The menu includes Venezuelan arepas, empanadas and more. It’s located on 44th Avenue in the upper Highlands area right near The Oriental at Tennyson. I tried the “Sweet Domino” empanada which is a thick, warm, crispy and doughy turnover, filled with juicy black beans, white cheese, and slices of sweet fried plantain, just $4.25. Other popular empanadas add shredded beef or shredded chicken and “Rajas” empanada filled with Poblano peppers, sour cream and cheese. The arepas are small corn cakes baked with the same fixings or add on scrambled eggs and carnitas. You’ll also find sides of yucca root, tequenos, and fresh juices made from Venezuelan exotic fruits.

Rodizio Grill

1801 Wynkoop Street
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 294-9277

Rodizio Grill, with locations in LoDo, Fort Collins and Utah, is the best place to go for South American fare when you want to reveal in tasty, tender meat. aiters called “Brazilain Gauchos” offer huge skewers of rotisserie grilled meats tableside. Grilled goodies to mention are the “Abacaxi,” fresh glazed grilled pineapple, “Fraldinha,” a house beef specialty or their “Sobre Coxa”, a Rodizio special sauced and seasoned chicken. And if that’s not your flavor, check out their great salad bar or any of their traditional hot entrees.

– Sarah Carpenter lives in Littleton, where she was born and raised. She spent a decade in Downtown Denver, and its surrounding neighborhoods, going to school for writing, working in the service industry, and getting to know Denver’s diverse culture. She has a passion for travel writing, local and afar, focusing the story on its people, culture and region.