One day I got the craving for Hispanic food... being from Puerto Rico, it is hard to find authentic Latino food that tastes like the one my mother cooks for me when I go home; and not the typical over-seasoned (or under-seasoned) to make it more "Americanized". The one that got the closest has been "Old San Juan" Restaurant in Manhattan (review available).
We stopped one day at the Dunking Donuts next door to "La Bodega Hispana" to get coffee. I went in and loved the look of the food. A few days later I came back to try it. This was 2 years ago...
Ever since then, I come here once a week in average (while in town) for a taste of mama's style food. Everything is soooo delicious!
As for the meal, here is how you order...
First, choose the small or large container for your portion. I used to order the large container but it is enough food for 2 to 3 people. I've come down to the small portion as it is more than enough for one person... probably two!
Once you choose your container, choose white or yellow Spanish rice. Then choose the beans you want: red or black. I always go for black beans. The staff is more than generous with the amount of food served.
Finally, order the main item on your meal. They usually carry a chicken, pork and fish among many other items such as tamales, soups, vegetables and much more... what makes it so unique? The way is cooked, the Spanish seasonings and how much flavor the food has! The only thing I did not like is the "tostones" (deep fried plantains) as they should be eaten right off the fryer and not let it stand for too long... otherwise they get soggy. But everything else has been fantastic!
As for price, I will have the small container with rice, beans and a main item with an extra of something (a veggie, empanada, soup, etc.) The food is enough for two (possibly three) people and I've never paid more than $10.00. Prices varies depending on your choices. I always come for lunch and most of the time I will have enough leftovers for dinner.
The place is mostly for takeout. One table in the back is available for eat-in. If you come at lunch time, you will be sharing the table with many Hispanics on their lunch break.
The staff speaks full English and Spanish. Plenty of cold drinks available. Hispanic soft drinks such as "Malta" (my favorite - a sweet malt) available as well as beer and other regular soft drinks.
It is my favorite place in town for Spanish/Latino food! Once a week visit has not go unnoticed by the very friendly staff and I've gotten a few freebies or a special discount here and there...
My only suggestion: come at lunch time or early afternoon to get the food at its freshest and best.
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