Looking for the best Latin American restaurants in Antwerp? Up for a festive meal full of summery ingredients and a couple of cocktails to make you dream away of sunnier places? Trot Op! went looking, and came back with five amazing South American restaurants.
Alas dear friends: the magnificent summer of 2020 is almost over. Before putting on our ugliest sweater to face another dreary fall, we first should look for some extra and very welcome holiday vibes – be it only to combat the forthcoming depression. And what feels more like a careless holiday than a trip to Latin America? Tropical temperatures, festive music and a nice collection of suntanned samba bums for you to sneak a peek at: somebody stop me or I’ll be there tomorrow. Sadly, covid reality decided to screw over our holiday plans. Trips to the Americas will not be happening anytime soon. Luckily there are alternatives. And they don’t even require you to sit on a plane next to a coughing mountain of pit sweat for ten hours straight.
The best Latin American restaurants in Antwerp
I am of course talking of Latin American restaurants in Antwerp. Having dinner in one of these places can – with some imagination of course – be just as festive as a visit to the actual continent. Strong flavours, colourful dishes and cocktails that make you dream of palm trees and sunsets. That holiday will have to wait a couple of months, but that too has its advantages. Your perfect beach body can wait a while as well. And if that isn’t the perfect excuse to go stuff yourself in one of these five great places, I don’t know what is. Buen provecho, cariños!
1. Chakana: a gastronomic introduction to Latin America
*left picture by www.cookameal.be
Pelgrimstraat – almost in the shadow of the cathedral – is one of the cosiest streets in Antwerp and is full of fun restaurants. Right next to the entrance to Vlaeykensgang lies Chakana: a colourful place and the perfect spot for a first introduction to Latin American cuisine. The owner is Ecuadorian, but the restaurant serves dishes from all over the continent. Since the corona crisis, the concept (and soon the name as well) was changed into La Pura Vida. They work more with Latin tapas and food sharing now, and the cocktails that used to be served at nearby Bar 11 are now made here. Authentic flavours, lovely atmosphere and most likely the best ceviche in Antwerp. www.facebook.com/pg/ChakanaAntwerpen/
2. A’Sur: Latin American fine dining with local produce
A’sur in Volksstraat – another street full of nice restaurants – is quite a unique place. The chef here is Venezuelan, but was trained in classic French cuisine. He worked in several star restaurants for years: in ‘t Zilte for example and even in Mirazur (named best restaurant on the planet in 2019). In 2017 he opened his own place together with his Belgian wife. They converted an old night shop – no joke – into a stylish dining venue and serve Latin dishes made with fresh and seasonal products. If you choose the Métissage menu, you’ll be getting five or six fantastic and playful courses. Going home hungry will not be an option. www.asur-restaurant.be
3. Tota Empanadas: lovely Argentinian snacks
Tota Empanadas – a tiny restaurant in Prekersstraat – is run by an Argentinian straight from Buenos Aires. He serves the best empanadas in Antwerp, and they basically are the entire menu. No worries though: the amount of different fillings is staggering. Everything from Argentinian steak, chicken, tuna, veggie options and even some sweet dessert varieties are available. All of them are freshly made on the spot: ideal for both a quick bite and a sturdy lunch. Since a couple of months you can also order full boxes of unbaked empanadas to put in the oven at home. This way, you don’t even have to leave the house. Stay inside, put on some salsa and pretend it isn’t raining. Lovely place. www.totaempanadas.com
4. El Sabor Andino: Peruvian cuisine in all its glory
El Sabor Andino can be found on Ankerrui near the tunnel to Linkeroever, and is the best and most authentic Peruvian restaurant in Antwerp. Peruvian cuisine is as old as the Inca culture, but was influenced by a lot of different newcomers throughout the ages. First came the Spaniards of course, then the Moors, the Africans, the Chinese and the Japanese: all of them added some of their own culinary traditions to the local kitchen. El Sabor Andino is run by a Belgian-Peruvian couple, and serves all the classic dishes with a modern twist, as well as real Peruvian cocktails. The same people also own the Almacén Store in Reyndersstraat: a place where you can get all sorts of Latin American products and ingredients to make your own dishes at home. www.elsaborandino.be, www.almacen-store.be
5. El Gato Gordo: Mexican breakfast in style
We’ll end our trip in Mexico this time: in El Gato Gordo in Lange Koepoortstraat to be more precise. This breakfast/lunch place only opened this summer and always looked very festive when I walked past. I decided to take my chances and have a seat one day, and I wasn’t disappointed. The restaurant is owned by a Belgian couple with a history in Mexico and it shows in the kitchen. No Tex-Mex to be found here, only authentic and fresh Mexican dishes. What’s better to start a shitty fall day with than a couple of festive tacos or a plate of huevas rancheros? Throw in a margarita or two and you’ll be ready to start the new workweek with a smile on your face – and a possible hangover later. Don’t you doubt it. www.facebook.com/elgatogordoantwerp/
“There isn’t a huge number of Latin American restaurants in Antwerp, but there are some absolutely amazing ones for those who know them. This article puts the best ones in a nice overview.”
There you go mi amigos: five wonderful Latin American restaurants in Antwerp to try out in the next couple of weeks. What’s your favourite? Did I forget a couple? Did your ass double in size reading my articles? Let me know all of it in the comments below?
Feel like eating something else? Then read my posts on the best Italian, vegan, Asian, Middle Eastern and hamburger restaurants in Antwerp. Want to go to actual Latin America? Find out what you can do on Aruba once you’ve had enough of the beach. Want to explore the rest of Belgium? Click here for my articles on Gaume, Liège, Spa, Charleroi and Bruges.