From intimate neighborhood hangs to grand restaurants channeling nightclubs, there’s no shortage of places in D.C. to find Cuban food. Blending influences from African, Spanish, indigenous Taino, and Caribbean cooking, Cuban cuisine has hallmarks such as signature pressed sandwiches, vaca frita (fried and shredded steak typically topped with onions), empanadas, and ropa vieja (shredded beef cooked in tomato sauce and spices) with sides of sweet plantains or black bean soup. Strong, rum-based cocktails are a must.
Mi Cuba Cafe in Columbia Heights is one of the best options in the area. Casta’s Rum Bar in the West End is a newer addtion. Meanwhile, the team behind always-crowded Colada Shop plans to open its third location, at the Wharf development, this winter. D.C. just lost a short-lived Cuban favorite with the closing of Little Havana, which is turning into a Mexican restaurant.
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