Tasty? Check. Cheap? Check. Fun? Check.
Cafe Cortadito, a cozy, homey Cuban restaurant, located in Manhattan’s Alphabet City is all of the above and then some more. Cafe Cortadito brings you the best of la vieja Habana with its traditional cuisine: from vaca frita y churrasco, to camarones enchilados, and of course, rice and beans.
Chef Ricardo Arias, a native of El Salvador, and his wife, Patricia Valencia, from Ecuador, opened this neighborhood restaurant in 2007– but why Cuban food, you might ask? Well, the story goes that before Ricardo and Patricia opened their own restaurant, they worked as managers for Victor’s Cafe, long known as a Cuban cuisine stronghold in New York.
With a Cuban-themed decor, everywhere from Cuban cookbooks, candles, cigars, and photos, Cafe Cortadito opens its huge windows for a luminous and refreshing atmosphere over lunch or dinner (yes, even though it’s getting cold, you can still get advantage of the open windows on a warm Fall day.)
Eso si, Cafe Cortadito is small and always, always full, so we recommend making reservations in advance. We ordered the pollo a la plancha ($10.95) con arroz, frijoles, y platanos maduros and the ropa vieja ($12.95)- shredded beef, also with arroz y frijoles negros.
The ropa vieja was marinated with a flavorful salsa criolla, infused with onions, tomatoes, and garlic. The arroz y frijoles negros were just the perfect complement, and to add a touch of sweetness, the platano maduro is always a classic, genius idea. The pollo a la plancha, as simple as it is, was amazing. The chicken was very tasty and fulfilling.
And for dessert? Well, although this time we didn’t have any because we were so full, the tres leches looked absolutely mouthwatering, and so did the casquitos de guayaba con queso crema (guava shells with cream cheese). Before ordering the check though, we couldn’t leave without having their namesake drink: un cafe cortadito– a shot of espresso, with a slight touch of steamed milk. It was the perfect finish to a pleasantly surprising meal.
210 E. Third St near Ave B.
Open Tuesday-Sunday: 11am-11pm