>> Cha Cha Cha Cuban Café | Eat the World NYC

04 August 2020

Cha Cha Cha Cuban Café

CUBA 🇨🇺

[COVID-19 UPDATE: As seen in the photo above, there are a few seats in front if you would like to enjoy your food, but Cha Cha Cha is doing primarily pickup and delivery service at the moment.]

Having never been here before restrictions were put into place for dine-in services, the joy and hospitality this room is most certainly full of cannot be independently confirmed. But even in these days opening the door is much more like stepping into the kitchen of a friend rather than a restaurant.

The staff is busy cooking and sorting lunch orders coming in on the phone and various apps, but never stops being friendly and accommodating, even apologizing that the indoor tables are unavailable when a takeout order is ready.

The cute interior can hopefully be enjoyed soon.

When the dining room is back open, it will be with great pleasure that a return visit will need to take place. Besides these good moods, the restaurant is full of cute reminders of Cuba (including bar stools made from real drums), great music, and artwork with scenes of home.

On this particular visit, food was being picked up for a trip down to the beach, but a few appetizers were necessary to take care of growling stomachs. This was a good opportunity to sit at a table in the front.


The plate above includes an empanada de pollo ($2.50, left) and an order of croquetas de hamon ($1.50, right, their spelling), along with two different types of mayo-based dipping sauces. The croquetas are fried to order and tasty, bites are rich with ham and pepper, and maybe a dash of nutmeg?

The empanadas are also fried in their Cuba renditions, but retain their moist meaty filling. You can also select them with picadillo, but this was full of shredded chicken. To be honest, neither of the snacks requires the sauces, each one full of its own spices that outshine the condiments.


After Florida, New Jersey saw the most migration from Cubans over the years and is no stranger to some of the best Cuban food around, including some very impressive cubanos. The cubano ($9.95, above, lunch price) at Cha Cha Cha checks all the right boxes: toasted right with the cheese oozing out, while the savory, sweet, and sourness of the ingredients all play off of each other perfectly.

When the pickle is allowed to dance and showcase itself like it is in this sandwich, happiness is usually quick to follow.


Amongst other dishes that are also available for lunch specials (Monday through Friday, 11:00-14:30) is the lovely ropa vieja ($10.95, above). This shredded and spiced flank steak is cooked in a savory creole sauce and also takes hints of sour from its olives.

For those that are fascinated by Latin American rices and how each country can create its own taste within them, you will not be disappointed by the ample portion here. Scoops of it with the black beans (both come with the ropa vieja) are enough to conjure up memories of sitting down at a restaurant right on the malecón. For now, the Jersey shore or some proximity to it, will have to suffice.


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