Observation No. 1: Latin American fare goes way beyond just Mexican food here in D.C. Observation No. 2: While Central and South American cuisines are often associated with meat, vegetarian dishes actually figure quite prominently in most Latin American cultures. (Consider the abundant produce that grows in warm weather climates.) Observation No. 3: Latin American cuisines have a deep commitment to baked goods; think pan de queijo, empanadas, pasteles.
What this adds up to is that Latin American restaurants around the city are a haven for plant-forward dishes. That includes everything from cheesy Salvadoran pupusas at El Tamarindo and hearts of palm-stuffed Colombian arepas at The Royal to the best Panamanian beet and potato salad at Esencias Panamenas and Cuban pastries galore at the Colada Shop.
So bring along your favorite vegetarian — or channel your inner vegan — and get ready to explore the diversity of cuisine of the countries of Central and South America right here, right now in D.C. There’s plenty here to surprise and delight.