With its vibrant and growing Latin American culture, it’s no wonder that there are so many brilliant Colombian restaurants in London. Here’s our pick of the best.
Words by Sam Jean
If we had to describe Colombian cuisine in a few words, we would say that it’s meaty, robust and spicy.
And London has caught onto this – there are plenty of spots serving up delicious Latin American favourites like Bandeja Paisa (a blend of two types of Colombian sausage and ground beef with red beans and rice), empanadas (savoury pastries) and chimichangas (deep fried wrapped tortilla).
And, as one of a few countries with borders on both the Pacific and Atlantic ocean, Colombian seafood is some of the most widely regarded in the world.
Not into meat? Don’t sweat it – veggie options are handled by plenty of beans, avocados and spicy rice.
From authentic street food to delicious pastries, and some of the best steaks and grilled meats around, read on to discover the top Colombian restaurants in London.
Best Colombian Restaurants in London
Donde Carlos in Sheperds’s Bush offers authentic Colombian cuisine with empanadas, arepas, and talapia fish. But, while the grilled meats are delicious, there are plenty of veggie dishes on offer.
Not to mention it’s the top spot in London for Colombia’s national dish, Bandeja Paisa.
What’s that? Only the tastiest dish around: Think of an English fry-up, Colombian style.
Meats, beans, rice, avocado, plantain and arepas are piled high onto plates. Oh, and if you’re unfamiliar with Latin American cuisine, plantain is a type of starchy or savoury banana (though it tastes more like a potato than banana, FYI).
The best Colombian restaurant in London? It’s definitely up there.
El Rancho De Lalo
In the heart of Brixton, El Rancho De Lalo is a hugely popular Colombian joint that has never lost sight of its roots.
Colombian cuisine absolutely smashes the grilled meats. The Platillos Típicos (meaning typical dishes) prove that Latin American meat dishes are some of the best in the world, with mouthwatering mixed grills, pork skillets, grilled chicken and steak, all served in massive portions with rice, beans and salad sides.
A friendly atmosphere, laid-back vibe and decent al fresco seating area makes El Rancho De Lalo one of the capital’s favourite Colombian restaurants.
Spoon Tapas Bar
Representing North London’s Hornsey, the Spoon Tapas Bar is a cosy cafe and bar with a delicious selection of Colombian and South American favourites.
You’ll find empanadas, chimichangas, steaks and wings, all cooked with decadent sauces and spices in true Colombian style.
The topside steak and cheese fillet are probably some of the best steaks you’ll get for the price. Meat lovers should invest in the Fiesta BBQ sharing platter with no fewer than 5 different types of meats with generous sides.
In London’s Latin American heart, La Barra is one of many amazing Colombian (and South American) restaurants down this strip. A quick shout out goes to the Venezuelan restaurant Los Chamos and Panaderia el Triunfo, a Colombian bakery, just down the street.
Beware – the unassuming entrance to this restaurant is a little hard to find among the railway arches of Elephant and Castle. Once you locate this gem, La Barra’s vibrant menu rewards you with Colombian classics such as stews, soups and pica pollo.
While meat takes centre stage, you’ll find great veggie options courtesy of a vegetarian platter with rice, beans, lentils, cassava and avocado. The homemade soups are also outstanding and change often.
Aroma de Cafe
Elephant and Castle
Not too far from the aforementioned restaurant is Aroma de Cafe, yet another authentic and welcoming Colombian establishment which offers dishes like empanadas, pollo a la plancha and chicharron.
This spot offers amazing breakfasts, too, including the popular Calentado with a choice of meat. A really laid-back true Colombian venue with delicious coffee and snacks to boot. One of so many awesome South American restaurants in this corner of South London.
Leños & Carbon
Elephant and Castle
Just minutes from Elephant and Castle (clearly the place to be for Latin American cuisine) is Leños & Carbon, one of London’s most popular and centrally situated Colombian restaurants.
The main courses are absurdly good if you like robust meaty dishes, with Bistec a Caballo, a beef steak in a homemade sauce, and Patacón con todo, a deep-fried green plantain topped with pork belly.
There’s a generous fish section to the menu; Colombia is one of few countries that borders both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and their seafood is internationally regarded. .
Santafereño is nestled in the Brixton Village street market and has a cosmopolitan buzz, perfect if you want to enjoy Colombian food while watching the world go by from this fun spot.
Let’s start with breakfast – the breakfast menu here is spectacular and has proven to be a massive hit, with locals and tourists kick-starting their days in the area.
The main menu fuses some different culinary vibes with the Colombian stroganoff and Colombian-English breakfast. Definitely take a look at the weekend specials if that’s when you visit, as you’ll undoubtedly find some of the best Colombian food in London.
Deli Tasty Colombian
Elephant and Castle
A deli-restaurant in (surprise, surprise) Elephant Castle, Deli Tasty Colombian is a top spot among Colombians in London – which says everything about its authenticity.
The headline act here is the enormous selection of Colombian pastries, which are incredibly delicious. Not to mention the empanadas (meaty parcels of goodness) – try them for lunch and we promise you’ll want to grab some more to take home with you.
The menu features some excellent seafood dishes and borrows dishes from other countries in South America, like the churrasco Argentino (Argentinian-style grilled meat).
Elephant and Castle
Distriandina is somewhat of a social hub for the Latin American community in Central London, with a restaurant, bar, market and other services.
It’s also one of the liveliest spots in the city to watch South American football matches. The building itself is sleek and very modern, but the food is authentic enough for Colombians to flock from all over London and further afield.
The market is awesome too, and worth exploring for Colombian goodies like Choclitos and Festival cookies.
Maize Blaze – Colombian Street Food
Camden and Hackney Wick
Lucky for you, Maize Blaze has two locations: One in Camden and one in Hackney Wick.
The market kiosk sits in the heart of the Camden market and has been extremely popular with locals and tourists alike.
This Hackney Wick restaurant and kitchen menu is 100% gluten-free, with plenty of options for vegetarians and vegans. But don’t worry – you’ll still find classic juicy meat dishes like chorizo, slow-cooked beef and pulled chicken.
Practical Tips for Exploring the Best Colombian Restaurants
- The best Colombian restaurant in London is naturally hard to nail down, but the districts of Elephant and Castle, Lambeth, Stockwell, and Brixton are central for Latin culture and cuisine in the city.
- Not all of these Colombian restaurants offer menus in English. That’s part of the charm. If you don’t speak Spanish, it’s either potluck or you can ask someone to translate (or use Google Lens).
- Colombian cuisine is inherently meaty, but you’ll nearly always find veggie dishes. Don’t hold out too much hope for vegan dishes without doing prior research.