Most Authentic Latin Food in Kentucky
By Lola Méndez
Immigration brings rich cultural heritage to the United States, including delicious culinary specialties. Kentucky is home to over 4.5 million people of Latin American heritage, and there’s a delicious array of restaurants across the state serving authentic cuisine rooted in culinary traditions from their ancestral lands. These are some of the best places in the Bluegrass State to enjoy authentic Latin food.
Alda Diaz’s restaurant serves all her favorite Honduran foods, including chismol salsa with plantain chips, anafre cheese and meat dip and canonas — a plantain dish served with refried beans, cheese and your meat of choice. Plus, a percentage of profits is donated to Viveros de Amor, a children’s education project in El Paraíso, Honduras.
Salomon Alamilla and Daisy Cuevas are the Mexican duo behind Alfonso’s Taco Shop. Have a traditional breakfast of chilaquiles or huevos rancheros, or stop by for lunch to enjoy burritos, tacos, quesadillas or a chile relleno.
Chef Laura Ramírez was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, and moved to Lexington with her husband in 1985. He worked in the horseracing industry, and she opened Tortillería y Taquería. Order one of her legendary burritos, which ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight Burrito Bracket determined are some of the best in the South.
Open since 2009, El Gran Tako is renowned in Lexington for its authentic Mexican cuisine. The restaurant is adorned in typical Mexican fashion with colorful papel picado hanging from the ceiling. No matter if you order tacos, tortas or fajitas, you’re sure to have a satisfying Mexican meal.
A Colombian couple runs this food truck where they serve the most iconic dish from their homeland — arepas! Traditionally, arepas are a breakfast food, but they serve them all day long from the truck with beef, chicken, pork and vegetarian options. Be sure to grab a few empanadas too.
Owned by Puerto Ricans Gamaliel Cardona and Luis Suazo, Mr. G-Pleta is the go-to food truck for Puerto Rican fare. Order the “tripleta” sandwich filled with three different types of meat and served on sweet soft bread.
For Brazilian dishes, head to this food truck that has an assortment of traditional Brazilian savory deep-fried pastries known as salgadinhos on the menu. Select from a choice of cheese, ham and cheese, ground beef or chicken. For a heartier meal, order the meat-heavy churrasco bowl.
The first authentic Venezuelan restaurant in Louisville is helmed by Nelson and Nahyla from Caracas. For a quick bite, head to the Alchemy Food Truck operated by the restaurant, which serves arepas, empanadas and El Pabellon, a Venezuelan national dish with white rice, black beans, shredded beef and sweet plantains.
Marco Lorenzo’s Havana Rumba restaurants are some of the best spots for Cuban food in Kentucky. Order the famous lechon asado (a roasted pork dish) or ropa vieja (Cuban-style shredded beef) and a classic Cuban cocktail, such as a mojito or a daiquiri, as you enjoy live music while you dine.
Combining classic Latin American flavors with Southern ingredients, Seviche offers unique fusion cuisine. Puerto Rican-American-Mexican Chef Anthony Lamas' menu changes seasonally, but there’s always namesake ceviche on the menu.
This family-owned Mexican restaurant prides itself on making salsas from scratch with tomatoes they’ve handpicked. That love for their cuisine is apparent in each bite of their dishes. Beyond delicious food, including molcajete, enchiladas and chimichangas, Don Señor is known for excellent margaritas that are served in 60-ounce pitchers.