El Castillo de Jagua

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82 Good

One of the last places in the area where you can sit down for a meal and spend less than $10.

113 Rivington St., New York, NY, 10002



Known For

The lowdown

El Castillo de Jagua is the kind of place where neighborhood softball teams settle in and enthusiastically loosen their uniform drawstrings, awaiting monster portions of delectable, down-home Caribbean cooking (Cuban, Dominican, and Puerto Rican). Rotating daily specials cover classics like sancocho soup and goat and chicken stews; salty bacalao is served on Fridays. The easy feel extends to the restaurant’s comfortable interior, with stools along a lunch counter, twin rows of tables topped with burgundy tablecloths (sensibly covered in wipe-down plastic), and a window full of artificial greenery. Morning, noon, and night, the kitchen turns out solid savories: At breakfast, eggs meet mangu, a mound of mashed plantains, and are served with superlative café con leche. Midday and beyond, the Cuban sandwich matches a wad of moist pulled pork with cheese, mayo, pickles, and ham. Battered steak features a crunchy, slightly sour golden crust. Red beans and yellow rice are the preferred accompaniments, except with the roast pork, which comes with cristianos y moros (white rice and black beans, respectively). White stucco walls adorned with tiles and crustacean-themed crockery evoke a look that seems about 1,500 miles and, aesthetically speaking, light-years away from the hard-edged, glass-box boutique hotel next door. It’s one of the last places in the area where you can sit down for a meal and spend less than $10. Leave the money you’ll save in the tip jar.

What you need to know

Insider Tips Daily specials are less than $8.

Recommended DishesCuban sandwich; small sancocho; pernil asado; salmon Castillo.

DrinksBeer and Wine

Noise LevelCivilized