5 top options for low-priced Latin American food in Houston

Chicken Station. | Photo: Juan P./Yelp

Looking to satisfy your appetite for Latin American fare?

Hoodline crunched the numbers to find the best affordable Latin American restaurants around Houston, using both Yelp data and our own secret sauce to produce a ranked list of where to fill the bill.

1. The Original Marini's Empanada House

Photo: Anh T./Yelp

Topping the list is The Original Marini's Empanada House. Located at 10001 Westheimer Road in the Carillon shopping center in Westchase, the Argentine eatery is the highest-rated Latin American spot in Houston, boasting 4.5 stars out of 641 reviews on Yelp.

On the menu, you'll see empanadas like the Mamma Mia (diced chicken, bell peppers, onions, tomato sauce, jalapenos and mozzarella), Las Pampas (ground beef, onions, refried beans, jalapenos and American and Monterey Jack cheeses) and the Tuna Luna (tuna, bell peppers, onions, basil and tomato sauce). Finish your meal with a dessert empanada, like Grandpa's Marinis (mozzarella with cinnamon and sugar). (See the full menu here.)

Anoosha A., who reviewed it on Aug. 28, wrote, "One of my favorite empanada places in town. I have been blessed by the food gods to work in an office basically walking distance from here. If you're going for a weekday lunch, my advice is to go early, the place gets packed!"

2. Chicken Station

Photo: Cuong T./Yelp

Next up is Magnolia Park's Chicken Station, situated at 7001 Harrisburg Blvd. With 4.5 stars out of 101 reviews on Yelp, the chicken shop, Peruvian and Latin American spot has proven to be a local favorite for those looking for an inexpensive option.

On the menu, there are Station Trays featuring a quarter, half or whole chicken, which come with two sides. Sides include french fries, fried yucca, green beans, Peruvian coleslaw, pinto beans and more. There are also chicken sandwiches, including the Picadito Chicken on a brioche bun with shredded braised chicken, Peruvian coleslaw, pineapple sauce and provolone cheese. (See the full menu here.)

Ruben V. noted, "The chicken is fully cooked and really delicious. I got the yuca frita, plantains, rice and sauteed veggies. The combination of the seasonings is not overpowering. Come to this restaurant if you want to try authentic rotisserie Peruvian chicken. Restaurant is clean and the staff is friendly."

3. Campesino Coffee House

Photo: Cuong T./Yelp

Montrose's Campesino Coffee House, located at 2602 Waugh Drive, is another top choice, with Yelpers giving the inexpensive Latin American spot, which offers coffee and Salvadoran fare, four stars out of 308 reviews.

Its coffee drinks include the Cafe de Olla, a traditional Mexican coffee prepared in earthen clay pots with ground coffee, cinnamon and piloncillo (a brown sugar-like candy); and the Maya Mocha Latte, which is like a mocha latte with the addition of cayenne, cinnamon and paprika.

Food options include its Salvadoran-style tamales, which are available in chicken, black bean and elote, served with plantain chips and crema fresca or Valentina hot sauce. (See the full menu here.)

Bailey T., who reviewed it on Sept. 21, said, "Warm and homey atmosphere, and the cafe de olla is one of my favorite coffee drinks ever. I love coming here for studying, hanging out or reading -- both in the cozy inside area or on their beautiful patio. Quite possibly my favorite coffee shop in the area!"

4. 5411 Empanadas

Photo: Mattin L./Yelp
5411 Empanadas, a Latin American and Argentine spot that offers empanadas and more located downtown, is another much-loved, inexpensive go-to, with 4.5 stars out of 75 Yelp reviews. Head over to 811 Louisiana St., Suite 320, to see for yourself.

Empanada options include the Chicken Curry, the Malbec Beef, the Ratatouille, the Sweet Corn and the Mushroom, Thyme and Blue Cheese, among others. (See the full list here.)

Yelper Alejandro J. said, "Great place! I've been there several times. Nice decor, great service and amazing empanadas. My favorites are the caramelized onion and Parmesan, the malbec beef and the bacon, dates and goat cheese."

5. The Empanada Company

Photo: Carol C./Yelp

Finally, over in Central Northwest, check out The Empanada Company, which has earned 4.5 stars out of 60 reviews on Yelp. Dig in at the Latin American spot, which offers empanadas and more, by heading over to 2925 W. T C Jester Blvd.

With meat, breakfast, fruit and dessert empanadas, there's one for any time of day. Look for the Holy Mole! (chicken breast with rice and mole sauce), the Picadillo (ground beef, tomato sauce and veggies) and the Brisket with green sauce. (See the full menu here, which also includes soups.)

Stephanie L., who visited it on Sept. 12, said, "Solid place. Enjoyed the large selection of empanadas! There is a lot of parking. Will have to come back to try the dessert options. Was very fresh and tasty."
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