Best South American in NYC

October 25, 2016
·
by Zagat Staff

Spice up your dinner plans with these top-rated South American restaurants in NYC.

Llama Inn
Williamsburg · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.0

“Big, bold” flavors come across in the “devilishly creative” Peruvian dishes at this Williamsburg hot spot where the mix of “inventive” pisco cocktails and an “in-the-know” crowd makes for a “great bar scene” ; the “cool” airy space has lots of counter seating (plus some tables), and there’s also a rooftop for drinks and snacks.
Churrascaria Plataforma
Brazilian · West 40s · $$$
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.4

Brace yourself for a “food coma” at this Theater District Brazilian rodizio, an all-you-can-eat “extravaganza” where “skewer-bearing” waiters bring on a “nonstop” barrage of “cooked-to-perfection” meats; it's “kinda expensive” , so “try not to fill up” at the “bountiful” salad bar.
Caracas Arepa Bar
Williamsburg · $$
Food 4.4 · Decor 3.5 · Service 3.7

Vending “real-deal” arepas with “piping-hot” fillings so “addictive” you’ll “want to try them all” , these “cheerful” Venezuelans “hit the spot” “for little money” ; if the East Village “shoebox” is a bit “squished” (nearby To Go is “great for takeaway” ), the patio-equipped Williamsburg site is “more low-key” and there’s always “watching the surf” in Rockaway.
Empanada Mama - LES
Lower East Side
Food 4.4 · Decor 3.2 · Service 3.7

Worth “driving across town for” , the “impressive” array of “delicious” empanadas features a “perfect filling-to-dough ratio” at this “busy” LES joint; there’s plenty of other “hearty” Colombian food on the menu, and while the space is “sparse” , “super” sangria helps distract.
Arepas Cafe
Astoria · $$
Food 4.3 · Decor 3.2 · Service 3.9

“Flavors straight out of Caracas” are stuffed into “fluffy” , affordable arepas at these “something-different” Astoria Venezuelans; the bite-size Cafe original sports a “diner atmosphere” that suggests “takeout” , but the Grill offshoot is roomier, with a broader menu that includes Caribbean and Med dishes.
Arepas Grill
Brunch · Astoria · $$
Food 4.3 · Decor 3.2 · Service 3.9

“Flavors straight out of Caracas” are stuffed into “fluffy” , affordable arepas at these “something-different” Astoria Venezuelans; the bite-size Cafe original sports a “diner atmosphere” that suggests “takeout” , but the Grill offshoot is roomier, with a broader menu that includes Caribbean and Med dishes.
Raymi
Latin American · Flatiron · $$$
Food 4.3 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.0

This Flatiron Peruvian “gem” features “tasty, innovative” dishes including “outstanding” ceviche, best accompanied by the bar’s “fantastic pisco cocktails” ; a “big, buzzy, beautiful” space and “warm service” help justify the “pricey” tabs; P.S. at lunch, the front area morphs into fast-casual joint Latin Beet Kitchen.
Yerba Buena
Latin American · West Village · $$

Yerba Buena
Brunch · East Village · $$
Food 4.3 · Decor 3.7 · Service 4.0

Chef Julian Medina delivers “inventive” Pan-Latin fare matched with “creative drinks” at this “stylish” spot staffed by a “helpful” crew; just be aware that the setting is “tight” and the “noise level rises a few decibels” as the night wears on.
Pio Pio 3
Peruvian · East 90s · $$
Food 4.3 · Decor 3.2 · Service 3.7

“Succulent” rotisserie chicken slathered with an “excellent” green sauce makes these “quick-and-easy” Peruvians “popular” “go-tos” , particularly given the “modest price” ; the “bustling” setups are “not terribly comfy” and the acoustics “abysmal” , but hey, “you won’t leave hungry.”