A Taste of Summit of the Americas

Take a culinary tour of the Americas

Cha Cha Chicken in Northridge
Cha Cha Chicken in Northridge | Photo: Postmates

As one of the world’s great cultural melting pots, Los Angeles makes a perfect host for the 9th Summit of the Americas, taking place June 6-10. The Summit of the Americas is a series of international meetings attended by leaders from the countries of North, South, and Central America, and the Caribbean.

Also including civil society organizations, representatives of indigenous communities, civic leaders, business executives, and young entrepreneurs, the goal is to promote cooperation towards region-wide, inclusive economic growth and prosperity based on a shared respect for democracy, fundamental freedoms, the dignity of labor, and free enterprise.

As delegates gather in LA for this year’s Summit, we explored local food businesses representing the participating nations, where you can sample distinctive dishes from all over the Americas, or perhaps enjoy a taste of home.

Island Boy Cafe
Photo: Island Boy Cafe

Antigua and Barbuda: Island Boy Café (Mid-Wilshire)

Island Boy Café (5025 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles 90019) is a colorful and comfy Caribbean eatery offering dishes popular on the paradise islands of Antigua and Barbuda. There’s jerk chicken, of course (including chicken jerk pizza), roti curry chicken or shrimp, red snapper, and evocative Leeward Islands staples like cassava and plantains. A memorable West Indies culinary escape, right here in Mid-Wilshire.

LALA's Argentine Grill
LALA's Argentine Grill | Photo: Postmates

Argentina: LALA’s (Melrose, Studio City, DTLA)

With three local locations, LALA’s Argentine Grill has been many Angelenos’ first taste of unhurried Argentine dining, including impeccably grilled yet surprisingly affordable steaks and perfectly paired wines. Additionally, there’s provoleta (melted provolone cheese topped with salsa and oregano), noqui (potato dumpling pasta), empanadas, and smoky morcilla blood sausages.

Pork ribs by Bahama Mama BBQ
Pork ribs | Photo: Bahama Mama BBQ

Bahamas: Bahama Mama BBQ (catering/on-site)

Once a staple of the former Watts Healthy Farmers Market, Bahama Mama BBQ now provides catering and on-site barbecuing for events. Specialties of this hands-on family business include fall-off-the-bone ribs, super-flavorful BBQ chicken, alongside distinctively Bahamian homemade sides like pigeon peas and rice, and dense cornmeal Johnny cake.

Chef Rashida of Bridgetown Roti
Chef Rashida | Photo: Bridgetown Roti

Barbados: Bridgetown Roti (pop-up, DTLA)

Roti came to the Caribbean with Indian indentured workers in the 19th century and is today a Bajan staple. One of the popular dining options at Coachella, Chef Rashida’s Bridgetown Roti pop-up specializes in island-evocative delights like flaky rotis with chicken curry topped with lemony slaw, plus handmade patties including callaloo greens with crab and pork belly.

Stew Oxtail at Little Belize Restaurant
Stew Oxtail at Little Belize Restaurant | Photo: DoorDash

Belize: Little Belize Restaurant (Inglewood)

Inglewood is something of a local hub for Caribbean food, including the long-running, laid-lack Little Belize (217 E Nutwood St, Inglewood 90301). Most popular here is the Stew Oxtail – deliciously tender chunks of meat simmered in just-so savory spices – but there’s also authentic Belizean stew chicken served with rice and beans. Don’t miss the delectable appetizers: salbutes, panades, and tamales.

Salteñas at Pao’s Pastries & Café in Van Nuys
Salteñas at Pao’s Pastries & Café | Photo: @jykfilms, Instagram

Bolivia: Pao’s Pastries & Café (Van Nuys)

The only Bolivian restaurant in the area, Pao’s Pastries & Café (14449 Friar St, Los Angeles 91401) is a hole-in-the-wall hidden gem. House favorites include salteñas stuffed with juicy, Bolivian-style meat; savory cheese empanadas, and divine alfajores (tapioca cookies filled with caramel wrapped in coconut). Fresh, fast, and generous with portions, Pao’s both satiates Bolivian cuisine connoisseurs and has converted many first timers into regulars.

Coxinha con Catupiry at Cantinho Brasileiro in Palms
Coxinha con Catupiry at Cantinho Brasileiro | Photo: @cantinhobrasileirola, Instagram

Brazil: Cantinho Brasileiro (Palms)

Tucked inside a Brazilian market, the specialty at Cantinho Brasileiro (10925 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles 90034) is what’s known as “Brazilian PF” (“prato feito”): unpretentious home-style meals served throughout Brazil’s small restaurants, markets, and cafés. Regulars also rave about the snack-sized coxinha (chicken or chicken and cheese encased in dough, lightly deep-fried) and kibe (beef and herb croquettes).

Poutine Brothers
Photo: Poutine Brothers

Canada: Poutine Brothers (food truck & takeaway/delivery, Culver City)

The once stigmatized poutine dish – French fries and cheese curds topped with brown gravy – is today a celebrated symbol of Québécois culture. The Culver City-based Poutine Brothers food truck and takeout/delivery platform (9626 Venice Blvd., Culver City 90232) elevates this humble fare with variants including chicken tikka masala, vegan southwest, and the breakfast-y, maple syrup-drizzled “Hangover.”

Empanadas at Chilenazo in Canoga Park
Photo: Chilenazo

Chile: Chilenazo (Canoga Park)

This low-key Valley go-to specializes in Chilean empanadas, breads, sweets, sandwiches, hot dogs, and daily lunch specials. Family-owned and super-friendly, Chilenazo (7238 Canoga Ave, Canoga Park 91303) is famed for its giant empanadas, which many customers buy in quantity to warm at home. But there are also grilled-at-your-table entrées, Chilean salads, breads, and to-die-for desserts like mil hojas and berlín.

Sancocho at Escala in Koreatown
Sancocho at Escala | Photo: DoorDash

Colombia: Escala (Koreatown)

Located in Chapman Plaza, Escala (3451 West 6th St, Los Angeles 90020) is a nuanced concept that marries Colombian food with a Korean flavor, put to the music and street art of hip-hop culture. Its menu, created by Korean American chef Chris Oh and “remixed” by Colombian Alex Torres, includes sancocho (Colombian slow-cooked stew), chicharrón (thick-cut fried pork belly), and loaded arepas (Colombian ground maize flat biscuits).

Nacatamales at Costa Rica Restaurant in Anaheim
Nacatamales | Photo: Costa Rica Restaurant

Costa Rica: Costa Rica Restaurant (Anaheim)

The closest dedicated Costa Rican restaurant to LA is in Anaheim but, with its house band playing cumbia, salsa, and merengue for dancing couples, Costa Rica Restaurant (2500 W Lincoln Ave, Anaheim 92801) is an evocative experience worth the trip. All the classic Costa Rican dishes and snacks – casado, gallo pinto, Costa Rican-style tacos, tamales etc. – are here, plus the country’s most popular brand of beer, Imperial.

Escovitch Red Snapper Plate at Cecilia’s Caribbean Cuisine in Downtown LA
Escovitch Red Snapper Plate | Photo: Cecilia’s Caribbean Cuisine

Dominica: Cecilia’s Caribbean Cuisine (DTLA)

Just two blocks from Crypto.com Arena in Downtown LA, the family-owned Cecilia’s (1403 W 11th St, Los Angeles 90015) claims to be LA’s first fine dining experience for Caribbean food and culture. Its menu brings tastes of the West Indies to our door, featuring Dominican staples like saltfish (dried and salted codfish), plantains, and rice & peas, amidst a transporting décor of earth tones, bamboo, and lush foliage.

La Bandera by Dominican Soulfood
La Bandera by Dominican Soulfood | Photo: @badlucc354, Instagram

Dominican Republic: Dominican Soulfood (delivery only)

An Instagram delivery business founded during the pandemic, Dominican Soulfood is satiating LA’s pent-up demand for Dominican cuisine. Try their popular (and huge!) La Bandera plate, a marriage of Dominican and American influences featuring slow-cooked pollo guisado (chicken stew), tostones (twice-fried plantains), habichuelas guisadas (bean stew), avocado, and rice. DM @dominicansoulfood to order.

Ecuador: La Manaba Comida Ecuatoriana de Yanine (pop-up, Elysian Park)

La Manaba Comida Ecuatoriana de Yanine is a word-of-mouth pop-up Ecuadorian eatery that sets up in the shade of a sprawling tree in Elysian Park on Saturday lunchtimes. Street food favorites here include Ecuador’s de facto national dish, encebollado (a fish stew that allegedly cures hangovers!), seco de pollo con ensalada rusa, and wonderfully gooey empanadas de viento.

Salpicón at Los Molcajetes
Salpicón | Photo: Los Molcajetes

El Salvador: Los Molcajetes (Westlake)

Recently relocated to larger premises with dedicated parking in Westlake South, Los Molcajetes (2748 W. Temple St., Los Angeles 90026) has served legit, all-natural Salvadorean fare since 1979. From breakfast plates and pupusas, to fresh seafood and a selection of yucas, it’s all fresh and for-real. A standout is the divine salpicón - mint-seasoned chopped steak served chilled with onion and cilantro.

Jerk Chicken at ONPOINTTTT

Grenada: ONPOINTTTT (food truck)

Grenadian co-owner Alex Banks has been grilling-up traditional tastes of Grenada for his local LA community for years, before recently founding ONPOINTTTT food truck with Guyanese partner Keesha Wilson. Jerk chicken is the specialty, served in various combo plates, enhanced with evocative sides like plantains and rice ‘n peas, and beverages such as sorrel and ginger beer.

Garnachas at Puchica Guatemalan Bar & Grill in Sherman Oaks
Garnachas | Photo: Puchica Guatemalan Bar & Grill

Guatemala: Puchica Guatemalan Bar & Grill (Sherman Oaks)

A self-declared “little piece of Guatemala in Los Angeles,” Puchica Guatemalan Bar & Grill (4523 Sepulveda Blvd, Sherman Oaks 91403) is a chill Valley find that crafts home-style dishes complimented with handmade tortillas. Marinated carne adobada, a favorite of Guatemala’s highland Huehuetenango municipality, is served here with rice, beans, and fried plantains. Puchica also boldly claims “the best garnachas in Los Angeles.”

Vegan Curry by Caribbean Gourmet
Vegan Curry by Caribbean Gourmet | Photo: @anitaaeats, Instagram

Guyana: Caribbean Gourmet (pop-up, delivery/catering)

Caribbean Gourmet founder Yonette Alleyne hails from a family of revered bakers and cooks in Guyana. Her pop-up serves Blossom Market Hall (264 S Mission Dr, San Gabriel 91776) and multiple farmers markets across LA, as well as offering delivery and catering. Alleyne shares her favorite Caribbean plates - including oxtail stew, jerk chicken, chicken curry and roti, plus vegan and gluten-free options – alongside delectable patties and pastries.

NatuReal in Panorama City
NatuReal | Photo: Postmates

Haiti: NatuReal (Panorama City)

Authentically bold flavors, affordable prices, and substantial portions are signatures of LA’s go-to Haitian eatery, NatuReal (14550 Chase St. Space 84, Panorama City 91402). Haiti-born chef Bobyrobson Jahdarren Salomon brings recipes rooted in rice, beans, corn, millet, and yams from his homeland. Consistent favorites here include the griot (pork shoulder marinated in citrus), poule en sauce (Haitian stewed chicken), and fried goat.

Honduran Enchiladas at Rincon Hondureño in West Adams
Honduran Enchiladas at Rincon Hondureño | Photo: @karla_tv, Instagram

Honduras: Rincon Hondureño (West Adams)

One of LA’s few dine-ins serving homestyle Honduran cuisine, Rincon Hondureño (1654 W Adams Blvd, Los Angeles 90007) has been meeting the cravings of transplants and local converts over three generations of ownership. This easy-going diner nails Honduran classics like pupusas, baleada sencilla (flour tortilla slathered with refried beans, crumbled cheese, and sour cream), and shrimp and conch soup.

Ackee & Saltfish at Natraliart
Ackee & Saltfish | Photo: Natraliart

Jamaica: Natraliart (Mid-City)

For more than 35 years, Natraliart (3426 W. Washington Blvd, Los Angeles 90018) has been using time-honored combinations of traditional herbs and spices to bring out full and authentic Jamaican flavors. Its unpretentious exterior belies an exotic eatery (plus a comprehensive adjacent Jamaican market) where loyal regulars return for ackee & saltfish, oxtails, curry goat, jerk chicken with crispy plantains, spicy ginger beer, and more.

LA Plaza Cocina
Photo: LA Plaza Cocina
"Maize: Past, Present and Future" at La Plaza Cocina
"Maize: Past, Present and Future" | Photo: LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes

Mexico: LA Plaza Cocina (DTLA)

Fantastic Mexican food can be found in any corner of Los Angeles. Rather than choose just one, we recommend checking out the newly-opened LA Plaza Cocina in Downtown LA - part of La Plaza de Cultura y Artes, it's the first museum dedicated to Mexican food. Through photos, tools, artifacts, and cookbooks, its inaugural exhibition Maize: Past, Present and Future tells the story of this sacred grain and global food source. Featuring a modern teaching kitchen, LA Plaza Cocina will also host cooking demos and private events.

Jerk Macaroni at Caribbean Soul Kitchen
Jerk Macaroni | Photo: Caribbean Soul Kitchen

Panama: Caribbean Soul Kitchen LA (Miracle Mile)

As the LA region’s sole Panamanian restaurant, Caribbean Soul Kitchen (5354 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles 90036) is a must if you have a yearning for, or are just curious about, amazing jerk sauce, yummy yucca fries, on-point oxtails, and exquisite seasoned fish. Their new jerk macaroni - featuring three cheeses and just a hint of that delectable jerk sauce - is worth the trip alone, as is the perennially popular sancocho broth.

The Empanada Factory
The Empanada Factory | Photo: Postmates

Paraguay: The Empanada Factory (La Cienega Heights)

While there’s no specifically Paraguayan restaurant in LA, The Empanada Factory (2513 S. Robertson Blvd, Los Angeles 90034) and its food truck are unequivocal experts in that pillar of Paraguayan food culture, the humble yet handy empanada. The most popular variety in Paraguay - as noted by the late, great Anthony Bourdain - is also a big hit here: beef and onion empanadas containing olives and hard-boiled egg.

Los Balcones in Hollywood
Photo: Los Balcones

Peru: Los Balcones (Hollywood)

Founded by three Peruvian brothers who deeply missed their native cuisine, Los Balcones (1360 Vine St, Los Angeles 90028) is both a business and a labor-of-love cultural connection. Opened in 2004, with at least a couple of makeovers since, it excels in colorful and creative new-wave Peruvian fare such as slow-braised short ribs in cilantro beer sauce, lomo saltado (filet mignon stir fry), and grilled octopus.

Taste of the Caribbean
Taste of the Caribbean | Photo: Uber Eats

Saint Kitts & Nevis: Taste of the Caribbean (takeout/delivery, Hollywood)

Bernard James began his career alongside world-class executive chefs aboard Carnival Cruise Line, which makes regular Saint Kitts stops. He opened Taste of the Caribbean, first as a food truck, in 2014. This self-styled “culinary journey to the West Indies” features flavors evocative of Saint Kitts and Nevis, including sweet and spicy jerk chicken, tender oxtail, and authentic roti.

Cha Cha Chicken in Northridge
Cha Cha Chicken in Northridge | Photo: Postmates

Saint Lucia: Cha Cha Chicken (Santa Monica & Northridge)

Jerk is a traditional style of cooking native to Jamaica but popular across the West Indies, including Saint Lucia, wherein meat is dry-rubbed or wet marinated in a hot “jerk” spice mixture. With locations in Santa Monica and Northridge, the colorful, beach shack-style Cha Cha Chicken has mastered this fiery art, including jerk chicken enchiladas, spicy jerked wings, jerk chicken tostadas, and jerk chicken enmolada.

Wi Jammin in West LA
Photo: Wi Jammin

Saint Vincent & the Grenadines: Wi Jammin (West LA)

Wi Jammin (5103 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles 90019) has been West LA’s casual, colorful Caribbean culinary adventure since 1998. Like so many local Caribbean restaurants, its menu is inspired by the Jamaican cuisine that is so influential across that region. This includes many dishes also enjoyed in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, such as curried goat, callaloo soup, saltfish, oxtails, and whole red snapper.

Nasi Bungkus at Simpang Asia
Nasi Bungkus | Photo: Simpang Asia


There are no bonafide Surinamese restaurants in L.A., so we reached out to local Surinamese chef Clifton Lee Van On. He explained that his country’s cuisine is an amalgam of Dutch, Javanese (Suriname and Indonesia were both Dutch colonies), Bengali, Caribbean, and Chinese tastes and techniques. So, for a Suriname-adjacent dining experience, try Simpang Asia (locations in Palms and Venice) or Bangla Bazar (4205 W 3rd St, Los Angeles 90020).

Doubles at TriniStyle Cuisine
Doubles at TriniStyle Cuisine | Photo: @trinistylecuisines, Instagram

Trinidad and Tobago: TriniStyle Cuisine (South L.A.)

A former food truck, TriniStyle Cuisine (2159 W Century Blvd, Los Angeles 90047) is L.A.’s sole source of Trinidad and Tobago’s distinctive mélange of Afro-Caribbean and Indian culinary influences. It’s all here, and always authentic: doubles (curried chickpeas in flatbread), bake & shark (fried bread fish sandwich), cow heel soup, pholourie (fried spicy dough balls) and more.

Iced Yerba Mate at Mate Conmigo in Northridge
Iced Yerba Mate | Photo: Mate Conmigo

Uruguay: Mate Conmigo (Northridge)

California’s first materia, Mate Conmigo’s specialty is the traditional mate (yerba mate-infused beverage) that is Uruguay’s national drink and enjoyed across the wider region. This Argentinian-owned Northridge café (19257 Roscoe Blvd Los Angeles, CA 91324) offers a wide variety of Argentine and Uruguayan loose-leaf yerba mate, as well as traditional facturas (pastries), sandwichitos, empanadas, and other sweets.

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