Ian Froeb's STL 100

Cocina Latina

When Maritza Rios came to St. Louis County from New York City two decades ago, the Peruvian native wanted to open a South American restaurant. She wasn't sure the county was ready for it, though, so she opened a Mexican restaurant instead. In 2019, she finally realized her dream at Cocina Latina in the Central West End, and you will wish you had already been eating her Peruvian, Colombian and other South American dishes for the past 20 years. The Peruvian dishes are the highlight: ceviche electric with lime juice and ají limo chiles; ají de gallina, brilliant with the yellow of ají amarillo chiles; classic lomo saltado and pollo a la brasa. Look beyond Peru, and you will be rewarded with Colombian empanadas and Cuban ropa vieja.

Hours: Lunch and dinner Tuesday-Sunday (closed Monday)

Last year's ranking: New this year

Opened: 2019

Many St. Louis-area restaurants are closed or limiting their dining options during the coronavirus pandemic.