Here’s where local diners say you can find the best empanadas, pupusas, ceviche, and other Central and South American classics:
El Pulgarcito (Meriam)
El Pulgarcito, which serves Salvadoran food, was the most recommended place among Post readers for this list.
One reader said it has the “best pupusas in town,” especially with curtido, a spicy slaw on the side.
“Absolutely love this place!” said reader Erin Vertz.
Its menu also features breakfast options of plantains, beans, and eggs, as well as seven choices of Caldos (soups), carne asada con tajadas, a ground-vegetarian beef dish called salpicón, and pechuga asada.
At 5921 Merriam Dr., El Pulgarcito is open weekdays and Saturdays from 9:00 to 20:00 and Sundays from 8:00 to 16:30
El Salvadoreno (Overland Park)
El Salvadoreño also serves Salvadoran cuisine and other dishes from Central and South America, and was also one of the most recommended places this week.
Located in downtown Overland Park at 9860 W. 87th St., El Salvadoreño is open 9am to 9pm Mondays and Tuesdays; 10am and 9pm Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday; Friday from 10:00 to 22:00; and on Sundays from 10:00 to 19:00.
It serves pupusas de queso, a beef stew with potatoes called carne guisada, panes rellenos, tamales and cóctel de camarón.
There are options for dining in, outdoor seating, and carry out.
Antojitos from Peru (Lenexa)
Antojitos’ menu is mostly Peruvian cuisine with a few other Latin American favorites. On Yelp, it comes highly recommended with four stars and over 60 reviews.
Antojitos serves a cheesy corn dish called choclo con queso, fried plantains, a fish soup called aguadito de mariscos, pescado frito, bistec a lo pobre, nine desserts including a chocolate flan, and Inca Kola Lata, a soft drink from Peru .
Located at 7809 Quivira Rd. in the Lenexa Plaza Mall, Antojitos del Peru is open 11am to 9pm Tuesday through Thursday and 11am to 9:30pm Friday through Sunday. It is closed on Mondays.
Anita’s Kitchen (Merriam)
Anita’s menu features a blend of Latin American dishes, including more traditional Mexican dishes, like tamales and chilaquiles. The menu also has three different types of burritos.
The restaurant is popular, with more than 300 reviews on Google and an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars.
“This is the best find! So easy to get to from I-35 and Johnson Dr. Excellent food,” wrote one reviewer.
Anita’s serves breakfast all day with 10 choices of dishes, ranging from huevos rancheros and tortas to breakfast burritos.
Located at 5816 Merriam Dr., Anita’s is open 7:30am to 3:30pm daily and closed on Sundays. Takeaway hours are 7.50am to 3.00pm on days the restaurant is open.
Empanada Madness (KCMO)
A known favorite of Royals chaser Salvador Perez, Empanada Madness isn’t in Johnson County, but it’s an easy jaunt across the State Line on Southwest Boulevard in Kansas City, Mo.
It is hugely popular beyond baseball stars, garnering more than 800 reviews on Google, with an overall rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars.
Traditional South American restaurant, it specializes in Venezuelan cuisine, especially the empanadas from which it takes its name. It serves four types of empanadas, as well as a dozen family-style empanada dishes.
Empanada Madness also serves a cheesy corn fritter called cachapa, fried plantains, a Venezuelan-style tamale called hallaca, seven types of arepas, and three pastelitos.
Located at 906 Southwest Blvd, it is open Monday from 10:30 to 14:00, 10:30 to 16:00 Tuesday through Saturday and 11:00 to 14:00 on Sunday.