Best Central/South American Restaurant St. Louis 2009 - Fritanga
In Nicaragua a fritanga is a small, casual restaurant. A snack bar, if you will. St. Louis' Fritanga offers the laid-back, welcoming vibe that you'd expect at such a joint, but this is no mere snack bar. Since 2007 Fritanga has been serving hearty dishes that pack more flavor into a single bite than most chefs can squeeze into an entire menu. Lomo de cerdo asado gives grilled pork loin the citric kick of achiote, while carne desmenuzada is a thick beef stew that is equal parts savory and spicy — perfect for a winter evening or to work up a cooling sweat. As awesome as the meat and seafood entrées are, the plantains steal the show here, whether sliced thin and fried (tajadas), cut thick and fried (maduros) or fried and then topped with fried cheese and a bracing cole slaw. They make a perfect appetizer or, yes, snack, but once you've had a taste of what Fritanga has to offer, you'll hang around till your belly's full — and then some.