The Latin American community in London is thriving with an estimating population of around 200,000. This has created a wealth of Latin American culture, food and music in the capital. Don’t have the budget to travel to Latin America? Want a taste of Latin American culture before you travel? Yearning for an empanada or caiprinha? Here’s the best places to experience Latin America without having to travel.
Food & Drink
Peruvian cuisine has been hailed as one of the world’s finest and there aren’t many places that do it better than Martin Morales’ Ceviche in Soho. Unsurprisingly, this tiny restaurant in the West End serves up some of the best ceviche (white fish marinated in citrus juice) and does a mean pisco sour. Find out more here.
In the heart of the Latin American community in South London lies La Bodeguita in the Elephant & Castle shopping centre. The large restaurant creates simple and hearty Colombian fare. Not a place to vegetarians, the meat heavy menu is often accompanied by Latin American music and cold beer. Find out more here.
Nowhere in London quite encompasses the food of Latin America quite like Gaucho. This small chain knows how to source, choose and cook a steak and serves it with a range of Latin American crowd pleasers: empanadas, cheesy breads and dulce de leche pancakes. Find out more here.
Tequila is perhaps Latin American’s most iconic drink and is growing in popularity in the UK. While most will remember shots of cheap tequila, some will be unaware of the staggering variety of artisan tequilas and mezcals. The Truman Brewery in the East End’s Brick Lane hosts Tequila Fest where plenty of them can be tried along with mouthwatering Mexican food. Find out more here.
Film & Theatre
London Latin American Film Festival
Now in its 26th year, this independent film festival was founded by Eva Tarr-Kirkhope and her late husband Tony Kirkhope with the aim of opening up Latin American culture to the capital. Eva kindly covers the cost of the festival meaning screenings are completely free. Find out more here.
CASA Latin American Theatre
CASA Latin American Theatre Festival was created in 2007 by Daniel Goldman as a place to showcase Latin American cinema, music, visual arts and literature. Their mission is to engage with the Latin American community through theatre and nurture and support Latin American theatre artists. Find out more here.
Love to cook Mexican food? There is not better importer than Cool Chile. Started back in 1993 by Dodie Miller, Cool Chile offers a spectacular array of products direct from Mexico including dried chillies, herbs, masa harina, cacao nibs, achiote and mole. Find out more here.
La Casa de Jack
Europe’s largest importer and distributor of South American chilled and frozen foods and beverages since 2001. Shoppers can buy just about anything Latin America including exotic fruits, pastries and groceries. They also own La Chatica Café in Elephant & Castle. Find out more here.
Nestled down behind Waterloo Station in South London, Cubano is a thriving little Latin American bar serving up sounds of Cuba and Latin America. Throughout the week, the bar hosts live Colombian bands, Argentine guitarists, Cuban salsa and DJs. The bar knows how to make excellent Cuba Libres. Find out more here.
Using Latin American culture as inspiration, Barrio Soho has been influenced by a variety of cities throughout the continent. Throughout the week, Barrio Soho hosts a variety of Latin American DJs and live music events. Try the Roots Brazil night for excellent Brazilian music, food and cocktails. Find out more here.
Latinos in London
Latinos in London has been one of London’s premier event listing sources since its inception in 2006. Covering everything Latin American including entertainment, music, culture, film, literature, education, politics, gastronomy, community & employment. Find out more here.
¡Vamos! is one of the best places to discover Latin American, Spanish and Portuguese events in the capital. With detailed listings of exhibitions, films, nightlife, festivals and restaurants throughout London. Particularly good for summer listings. Look out for the ¡Vamos! pocket guide, available for free in Latin venues. Find out more here.
Canning House celebrates Latin American and works tirelessly to promote awareness of the languages, culture and history of Lain America, Spain and Portugal in London. Throughout the year the institution offers a series of lectures by historians, writers and cultural figures as well as language courses. There are membership options available.