Why go: The energy of vibrant blue walls and cheery artwork is echoed in the food, a mash-up of Hispanic cuisine’s greatest hits—from the Peruvian beef strips called lomo saltado to Colombian arepas to gambas al ajillo, a popular tapa in Spain.
What to get: Ceviche mixto, a colorful tangle of lime-soaked white fish, squid, and red onion; beef empanadas; llapingachos, fried rounds of mashed potato stuffed with cheese and avocado; parrillada, an homage to Argentina with spicy sausage, short ribs, and an herby chimichurri sauce that can feed four; churros, the skinny, ridged tubes of dough that are best with dulce de leche.
Best for: A lively alternative to the area’s ubiquitous Salvadoran/Mexican hybrids.
Insider tip: On Friday and Saturday nights, live music adds energy but makes it hard to hear your tablemates.
>> See all 2010 Cheap Eats restaurants here