When people migrate, one of the things they miss the most is the food of their homeland. Cocina Latina is a loving expression of the comfort that food brings not only to émigrés, but to new neighbors as well. Built mainly around Ecuadorian cooking, but encompassing a hodgepodge of other Latin cultures (with a few American embellishments such as chicken fingers for the kids), menu highlights include excellent thick arepas—corn cakes topped with items such as Colombian chorizo and cheese ($4.50); warm flaky empanadas filled with cheese and beef ($4.50), served with a mildly spicy and beguiling salsa; and delicious tostones, twice-fried plantains with salty cheese. Save room for amply accompanied mains ($9.99–$12.99) such as Bandeja Latina, a skirt steak served with sausage, rice, beans, a corn cake, avocado, and fried plantains. These are tastes that, with one bite, can take you far away or bring you back home again.
3764 Nicollet Ave., 612-354-2971, wix.com/cocinalatina/mn