El Rincon Criollo

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81 Good

This Havana transplant is all about Cuban food with hearty meat and bean specials changing daily since 1976.

40-09 Junction Blvd., Queens, NY, 11372

718-639-8158

http://www.rincon-criollo.com/

Known For

The lowdown

The entryway is covered with newspaper clippings detailing one family’s journey from the streets of Havana to beachside prosperity to post-Castro exile in Corona, Queens. The interior is little touched by the decades, with staff photos, homages to José Martí, and Yankees-championship plaques. But despite the detritus (or maybe because of it), crowds of Cuban locals gather for the warm scene further sweetened by waiters in ties and leather vests. What they’re rewarded with is well-considered cooking focused squarely on Cuba and hearty meat and bean specials that change daily. Fritter-like plantains are flavorful but not oil-saturated; stuffed cassava root likewise resists greasiness. Also impressive are creamy milkshakes with tropical flavors reaching to mango and trigo, a wheat drink akin to liquefied Sugar Smacks.

What you need to know

Insider Tips The seafood paella takes an hour to make.

Recommended DishesYuca rellen; ropa vieja; arroz con pollo; lechon asado

DrinksBeer and Wine

Noise LevelCivilized