When you graduated from college, you were going to travel around Central and South America like a drunk Magellan in search of food, fun and fiestas. We know because you told us over and over again every time you had more than three margaritas at the Rio. But despite all of that big talk, you spent all of your money on Hot Pockets and bar tabs and the farthest south you ever made it was Cancun junior year.

Don’t worry, the sting from your missed globetrotting opportunities are about to be dulled by Leña. It’s not Buenos Aires in the spring, but your taste buds probably won’t know you took a 10 minute Uber ride from Downtown to South Broadway to try a hodgepodge of dishes styled after classics from Texas to Tierra de Fuego.

The menu has the potential to overwhelm you with goodness, but don’t worry. We've let the servers guide us each visit and we haven’t been disappointed yet. They’ll definitely recommend the Chilaquiles, flank steak and octopus ceviche. And, they’ll be right.

The beauty of a place like Leña—besides the awesome food, drinks and atmosphere—is that it can give you a taste of places you’ve never been but without the requisite hepatitis shots. A win-win if you ask us.

Food Rundown

Watermelon Gazpacho

Yeah, yeah, go back to Russia…This is actually awesome and for us served as sorbet-like palate cleanser between spicy small plates.

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Basically a fancy Frito pie with chicken but our table devoured it. It was also fun to watch this arrive at other tables. The frenzy level always seemed high when this dish was involved.

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Ceviche de Pulpo

Octopus is everywhere right now. But here it is done just right.

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Empanadas Verde con Elote

Leña throws bananas at you a few different ways and these empanadas happen to come with green plantain dough. While they sound very interesting, they were one of the only snoozers on the menu.

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Entraña de Bisonte

Bison is not a cow. It’s a semi-wild animal and it is always slightly tough. Not an issue here. This was a crowd pleaser.


Flank steak. Yes. Yes.

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Short rib served Korean style which we learned means thinly sliced and tastes a little like ribeye with thin discs of bone involved. We liked but would order the two above again before giving this another try.

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Suggested Reading

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Los Chingones

Solid tacos, great vibe, a rooftop patio, and stiff drinks. Los Chingones translates roughly to "badasses," and we're not here to disagree.

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We like this classic LoHi Mexican spot, we just wish we loved it. Hit it for happy hour and a few drinks and bites, but keep your expectations in check.

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There aren't a ton of compelling reasons to go downtown for dinner these days, but Rioja is still one of them.

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Learn the meaning of "Asian fusion." Or just have a really good lunch.