While most people in the United States do most of their serious turkey feasting on Thanksgiving, turkey is regularly served at Latin American restaurants here in Los Angeles, all year around. Turkey originates from the Americas and was an important part of the cuisines of present day Mexico, Central America, and South America—and still plays a large role in many regions like the Yucatán peninsula.
Second and third helpings on Thanksgiving Day usually leave us in a food coma, for which the only cure for our turkey hangover is—more turkey. No leftover turkey in the fridge to satisfy your craving? Head out to one of our top Latin-American restaurants and give thanks for these 5 tasty turkey dishes.
Amalia Zuleta serves classic Guatemalan dishes in a country-style restaurant in Silver Lake like the pre-Hispanic kak’ik, a turkey soup in a rich broth flavored by the Guatemalan chile guaque (chile guajillo), tomatoes and mint garnished with an extra pinch of chili powder and a fresh corn tamal to soak up the delicious stock.
751 N Virgil Ave, East Hollywood, 323-644-1515, amaliasrestaurant.com
Our Yucatecan restaurants always have several dishes featuring turkey, of course you’ll want to start with salbutes (turkey on a lightly fried tortilla) and panuchos (turkey on a fried bean-stuffed tortilla) before diving into a warming bowl of sopa de lima, a bitter lime and turkey stock soup dressed with grilled turkey and tortilla strips fortified by a tomato, onion and bell pepper sofrito, or mirepoix.
3655 S Grand Ave, Historic South Central, 213-741-1075, chichenitzarestaurant.com
Corazon y Miel
Chef Eduardo Ruiz serves up a 2-pound turkey leg sandwich, pan con chompipe, a holiday dish from the Salvadoran side of Ruiz’s family that is a Thanksgiving spread unto itself. Ruiz swaps out the traditional curtido in favor of a quick slaw, pickled vegetables and fried capers to give this hefty dish an herbal edge over the conventional flavor of watercress on a house-made roll. A generous splash of a jus consisting of tomatoes, caper brine and Worcestershire sauce brings the massive dish together—it’s turkey day every day at Bell’s own gastropub.
6626 Atlantic Ave, Bell, 323-560-1776, corazonymiel.com
Flor de Yucatan
One of L.A.’s oldest running traditional Mexican restaurants does traditional turkey dinners to go for the holidays, but you’ll not want to miss their delicious Yucatecan plates like escabeche oriental. This stew from the city of Valladolid is full of tangy layers of picked turkey, spices and a pleasurable bite from roasted chiles güeros (blonde chilies)—double down on your post-Thanksgiving turkey binge and get a taco of this bakery’s famous relleno negro, or turkey in a burnt chili and achiote paste.
1800 S Hoover St, Pico-Union, 213-748-6090, laflordeyucatan.net
Panes, or breads, are the national sandwiches of El Salvador that you’ll find on most every menu like this attractive Salvadoran restaurant in K-town’s pupusa row located on Beverly Bl. near Normandie. The pan con pavo, or bread roll with turkey here is what you dream about the day after Thanksgiving from the moment you wake. A French roll is moistened with mayonnaise and mustard then jammed with roast turkey covered in a spicy, tomato sauce and layered with watercress, Romaine lettuce, sliced tomatoes, radishes and cucumbers. Leftovers never had it this good.
4493 Beverly Blvd, Koreatown, 323-661-1985, jaraguarestaurant.com