Food

The Best Latin American Restaurants in Paris

by Paulina Trigos

After moving to Paris from Puerto Rico, I tried to find ways to feel close to home even if I was thousands of miles away. As a Puerto Rican with Mexican roots, home has always meant many things to me. The one thing that has always tied these things together is food. 

On my first wave of homesickness, I decided rather than mope about, I would find something familiar such as a plate of delicious tacos al pastor, or some tostones (fried, salty plantains) coupled with a refreshing Jarritos (a Mexican soft drink brand). It turned out that food was indeed the missing piece of the puzzle. 

Whether you are suffering from homesickness, or are just searching for great Latin American food in Paris, here are my go-to spots.

Left: Meat tacos on a white tortilla with lime, avocado and cilantro. Right: A mural of a woman's face and a green realistic heart drawn as if made out of cactus.
Top: Canal Saint Martin by @objectandplace / @elnopalparis Above: @elnopalparis / A mural outside El Nopal by @francois_grunberg

Ají Dulce

I don’t know about you, but I’m an appetizer person and let me tell you, these left me speechless. Back home, a personal favorite has always been tostones. Ají Dulce’s hit the mark. 

Another must-try is their Venezuelan delicacy tequeños – fried, breaded cheese that look like mozzarella sticks but… better!

Left: A Venezuelan dish with white cheese, beef, an avocado, beans and sweet plantains. Right: The entrance to a restaurant with white walls and blue details.
Arepa La Pabellón by @ajidulceparis / Clasico Argentino’s locale in Boulogne-Billancourt by @clasicoargentino

While their starters are delicious, the stars of the show are their arepas. Arepas are patties made from white-corn that are oven cooked and stuffed with virtually anything. I suggest you try La Pabellón, an arepa stuffed with traditional pulled beef, homemade black beans and some decadent fried sweet plantains. 

Make sure to save room for something sweet, and sample their tres leches (a sponge cake made of a variety of milk products), you will thank me later!

Left: A yellow margarita with red spices on the rim of the glass and some mint leaves on top. Right: A green mosaic wall next to a black and pink menu listing the different tacos.
A fresh margarita with mint by @elnopalparis / Taco menu by @elnopalparis

El Nopal

Tiny El Nopal is one of the best and most authentic taquerías in Paris situated near the Canal St. Martin. You can find me sitting along the Canal, with a taquito de Cochinita Pibil in one hand and a margarita in the other! 

Their gorditas are another staple. Similar to arepas, gorditas are a dish made from corn dough, like a tortilla, stuffed with a variety of items such as beans, cheese or meat—absolutely heavenly!

Left: A Colombian plate made of red beans, pork rinds, white rice, a fried egg and a slice of avocado. Right: White sweet bread covered in powdered sugar on a white mantlepiece with purple grapes.
Bandeja paisa by @miranchitopaisaparis / Pan de Muerto for the Day of the Dead by @elnopalparis

Mi Ranchito Paisa

For starters, you must order the picadita platter! An assortment of empanadas, chicharrones (pork rinds), yuca and patacones (fried plantains) with a spicy ají (chili pepper) sauce. It’s the perfect appetizer to share with friends!

And make sure not to leave Mi Ranchito Paisa without trying its famous bandeja paisa, if you dare! The bandeja paisa is a traditional Colombian dish that has rice with red beans, chorizo, minced meat, an arepa, plantain, chicharrón, avocado and a fried egg that goes on top. While this dish may leave you feeling like you won’t be able to eat for days, it’s worth it! 

Left: A Colombian dish of red beans, white rice, plantain, green salad and meat. Right: The sign in front of the restaurant with brown letters and a reflective glass.
A delicious Colombian dish by @miranchitopaisa / The exterior of the Colombian restaurant by @miranchitopaisa

Clasico Argentino

Empanadas are all the rage in Paris. To my surprise, I have even found some in various chain supermarkets. That said, Clasico Argentino is the place I go for my empanada fix.

A soft pocket dough that is stuffed with various fillings, empanadas are found all over Latin America. In Argentina, empanadas are typically stuffed with ground beef, ham and cheese, chicken or vegetables. 

For traditional Argentinian empanadas make sure to try their Choriempa or Cordobesa. The menu is filled with many choices but these two always satisfy my cravings. 

To finish the meal don’t miss their alfajores – soft cornstarch cookies that hold the dulce de leche filling together and are then rolled in coconut flakes. A typical Argentinian dessert!

Left: White cookies filled with a brown filling called dulce de leche covered in white coconut flakes. Right: Bronzed empanadas on a wooden plank filled with ground beer and red peppers.
Alfajores by @clasicoargentino / A beef empanada by @clasicoargentino

INKA

Inside the 1K boutique hotel, you will find one of the best Peruvian restaurants in Paris. Japanese cuisine has greatly influenced Peruvian food. At INKA, they highlight this by including ingredients such as wasabi, soy sauce and ginger to the mix. 

Left: The inside of a restaurant with blue walls, orange chairs, green leaves with pink details that hand from the ceiling and a wooden vase. Right: A yellow sauce that borders a fried fish inside a wooden bowl and a green plate.
The inside of INKA restaurant by @inka_restaurant / A Peruvian dish by @inka_restaurant

On their menu, you will find many different types of ceviche and tiraditos (a Peruvian dish made of raw fish coated in a spicy sauce – similar to sashimi or carpaccio). Their food (and their pisco sour, an alcoholic cocktail made from Pisco and some lime juice) is simply beyond compare!

If you need an extra drink on your visit, make your way through the kitchen and you’ll find a secret door leading to a hidden bar called La Mezcaleria. It’s the perfect spot to reminisce about all the incredible Latin food you have eaten. 

Left: The outside of a blue restaurant with an orange awning and green bushes. Right: A plate of raw pink fish with yellow fruit and on top of an orange sauce.
The INKA restaurant terrace by @inka_restaurant / Tiradito by @inka_restaurant

Next time you are in Paris and your stomach craves some tacos or arepas, you will know where to go! 

Addresses:

Ají Dulce – 19 Rue Notre Dame de Lorette, 75009 Paris

Mi Ranchito Paisa – 35 Rue de Montholon, 75009 Paris

Clasico Argentino – 56 Rue de Saintonge, 75003 Paris (Marais)

El Nopal – 5 Rue Duperré, 75009 (Pigalle) / 3 Rue Eugène Varlin, 75010 Paris (Canal Saint Martin)

INKA – 13 Bd du Temple, 75003 Paris

El Nopal @elnopalparis / Mexican torta @elnopalparis/

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Written By

Paulina Trigos

A Puerto Rican in Paris, Paulina has been living in the City of Lights for four years completing her degree in Creative Writing and Film. Paulina spends her time looking for new exhibitions to discover and finding secret places in her favorite city. Passionate about culture, history and the arts, she loves Latin American literature, Bossa Nova and the D’Orsay. If she’s not in her usual reading spot, the Jardin du Luxembourg, you can usually find Paulina listening to local bands in her favorite music venues. Paulina is currently on a mission to find the best soupe à l’oignon in Paris – we will let you know once she finds it! View Paulina Trigos's Website

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