Cafecito is my second favorite Cuban restaurant in Manhattan, that is after Havana Alma de Cuba.
It is particularly special to me because my husband and I had many dates here while we were still dating one another. And now Cafecito is one of our favorite Manhattan spots… at least that is “one” thing we both can agree on. 🙂
Although I don’t venture much into the East Village, just for Cafecito, I’ll do it.
185 Avenue C #1
New York, NY 10009
MENU: Cafecito Menu
RECOMMENDED TO: Bar Scene, Casual Dining, Couples, Small Groups.
We each started with a drink. My husband went for a Cafecito Mojito which is the usual classic mojito with muddled mint leaves, rum, and lime. Refreshing and crisp, but a tad bit on the strong side.
I went for the Mango Margarita which was succulent and smooth. I was ready to PARTAY after just 1 drink.
For appetizers, we ordered a trio of Empanadas – a choice between the beef, chicken, and vegetarian. We opted for 2 chicken and 1 vegetarian empanadas.
My favorite was the vegetarian empanada which echoed flavors of a potato & pea samosa, and the chicken empanada stuffed with shredded chicken was a close second. Flavorful, flaky, and muy delicioso!
My husband ordered our “favorite dish” at Cafecito – Fricasse de Pollo. Allow me to explain, fricasse is a term used to describe a stew dish, and y’all know pollo is chicken. The pulled roasted chicken is cooked with tomatoes, herbs, and green peas and served alongside yellow rice. This highly flavorful and juicy dish also came with a side of a tostones (fried salty plantains) and a garlicky tangy sauce – incredibly mouthwatering.
Since I didn’t want to order the same dish, yet again, I spread my wings a little and went for the Camarones Al Ajillo. Based on looks alone, my initial thought was why didn’t I get the chicken? I’m shallow, I know!!! Nonetheless, once I tasted this heavenly dish cooked in a garlic, citrus, and butter sauce with large juicy pieces of shrimp, I quit whining in my head. Furthermore, my dish was suppose to be served with maduros (fried sweet plantains), however I substituted mine for the tostones instead and they were so gracious about it.
VERDICT: 4.5 / 5
Cafecito is one of those restaurants which will always hold a special place in my heart for various reasons. It really is no surprise that I still trek all the way to the East Village just to dine at this warm and cozy establishment since 2006. It is one of my favorite restaurants in Manhattan mainly for their food, drinks, and friendly service.
Speaking of service, their service is a tad bit slow, but I’m guessing they really take the time to prepare the food, like the slow cooked juicy shredded chicken, and this place is always busy whenever I dine here. Having said that, their genuine and friendly service more than makes up for their slow service. And I don’t mind waiting for my food while I sip a delicious margarita which seems to get me effortlessly tipsy.
For these reasons and many more, my husband and I keep coming back to Cafecito, sometimes just for a great meal, and other times for a celebration, such as, a blog milestone (haha). An absolute jewel in the East Village! Highly recommended!
Decor: Good (warm & cozy)
Service: Good (genuinely friendly, but a tad bit slow)
TELL ME: What’s your favorite Cuban restaurant? and your favorite Cuban dish?