**CARIBE RIQUEÑO’S KITCHEN IS NOW CLOSED**
Ropa vieja, tostones, fried plantains, mandioca, rice and black beans, finding Cuban and Puerto Rican food in Buenos Aires is just as common as finding… ummmm… well… I can’t think of a witty enough analogy so let’s just fail and say it’s not common at all. But you can still imagine my utter excitement when I stumbled on this tiny hole in the Barrio Chino pared serving a type of food rarely seen in the city.
Caribe Riqueño is one of those unassuming spots that just creeps up on the block, with a kitchen full of culinary surprises. With no more than a handful of tables, this Puerto Rican and Cuban food-love den whips up Caribbean wonders, with the token Argentine comfort food menu, available for the gastro-challenged.
Who can go to a Cuban restaurant and not order a Cuban sandwich? When I ordered, the owner wanted to make clear that this isn’t the same Cuban that’s generally made in the US, which of course made me need to try it even more.
This Cuban — which actually pretty much resembled my favorite Chicago Cuban at Cafecito — was made with delicious mojo marinated pork shoulder, ham, melted cheese and mustard. Sure, maybe the ham wasn’t the best quality, the bread choice could be improved and I’m used to Cubans with crunchy dill pickles and really flattened with a sandwich press, but for under 30 pesos, it made for a great sandwich. Especially with that homemade roasted pork, totally eat-all-day-breakfast-lunch-lupper-linner-dinner worthy.
Alto guiso, alto frijoles. Caribe Riqueño specializes in a number of hot n’ hearty comfort dishes, like carnita guisada, ropa vieja, grilled chicken, fish and salads. The cook has also been known to prepare specialties not on the menu, like chilaquiles or other Cuban-PR greatness plates.
Probably my favorite thing to order on the menu, they make snacky dishes to picar, like fried plantains, yuca fries, tostones and insanely delicious and tangy chicken wings. (Photo credz alitas de pollo: Caribe Riqueño)
We mustn’t forget to show gratitude for spicy sauces, especially this much obliged spicy-ass kick.
And another shout out to the house sangria. Because 45 pesos for a liter of sangria makes me want to celebrate like it’s Jesus’ birthday.
Unlike some people who complain about smelling like food when they return from small homey restaurants (with not the best ventilation), I choose to embrace that grill-fried-food-Benihana-RonofJapan odor. Move over Brad Pitt with your fancy Chanel N°5 , eu de cubano is the new Bath & Body Works splash you’ll be bottling like Dustin Hoffman in that perfume murderer movie.
With the owners running the show, the service is super friendly and helpful (they even speak flawless English), and really care about the customer experience — enthusiastic about others trying a cuisine that many have not tasted before. And they are so cool that when it’s hot in the summertime, shirts are not mandatory. No shirt. No shoes. Yes Service.
Montañeses 2108, Barrio Chino Cuba 2904, Nuñez
Mon – Sat: 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm, 8:00 pm – close
Sun: 12:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Average price: AR$60 pesos