NYC was hot hot hot today! Temperatures reached 90* in the city, and the last thing I wanted to be doing all day was sitting in a cubicle. I wasn't too keen on rushing back to my apartment either, so I went for an early dinner at Guantanamera. This Cuban restaurant on 8th Avenue (at 56th Street) has become one of my favorite places to bring out-of-towners for a "New York" dining experience. They have live latin music Tuesday-Sunday nights starting at 8:30p (think bongos and boys that make you want to shake your hips) and they make really great red and white sangria. Ocassionally you'll catch Marcos sitting in the front window rolling complimentary cigars for the restaurant's patrons. Depending who I go with and how hungry they are, I like to split the chicken empanadas to start. The pinchos (marinated skewers of beef, chicken and shrimp) are delicious too. I must admit when I find something on a menu I really love, I usually don't stray from a sure thing... I always get the arroz con pollo when I hit up Guantanamera- it's just so good! Served in a banana leaf, it's always steaming hot and fresh tasting. If I'm feeling up to the task, they also have really great desserts. (Try the chocolate cake with ice cream!)
photo courtesy of Guantanamera
If you plan to go later in the evening or with a party larger than 2, I would suggest making a reservation. The place isn't huge and I've encountered a long wait there. They also do takeout! (212-262-5354).