The best New York City Cuban food can be hard to find but worth the hunt. Whether you’re visiting New York for the first time or come here often there are so many Cuban places across the city that you need to try.
New York City has some of the best food in the world from all around the world. With such variety, it can be hard to find exactly what you’re looking for. If you have limited time, you don’t want to waste it on subpar cuisine. If you’re in New York and just craving a Cubano, rice and beans, or lechon asado, we can tell you exactly where to go.
I traveled to the top-rated Cuban restaurants around the city and found out which are really worth your time. All the picks on this list have something special. Check out my list of the best Cuban Restaurants in NYC below!
Best Cuban Restaurants NYC
- Cuba Restaurant and Rum Bar
- Victor’s Cafe
- Guantanamera Restaurant NYC
- Margon NYC
- Havana Central
- Amor Cubano
- Cafe Cortadito
- Cafe Habana
- My Cuban Spot
- Rincon Criollo
Cuba Restaurant and Rum Bar
222 Thompson St, New York, NY 10012
Located a four-minute walk from NYC’s Washington Square Park, you’ll find the best Mojitos around at Cuba Restaurant and Rum Bar. This lively little restaurant often has live music and a fun vibe. It’s near NYU so you’ll be surrounded by a young crowd if you go out in the area after dinner, but there’s so much to do nearby you’ll find something for your group no matter the age range.
The cocktails are highly praised and pleasantly presented at this Rum joint- make sure you try one. The ropa vieja is a flavorful and favorite classic, add in some yuca fries, and you’ll be in heaven. This is also a fun weekend spot with unlimited cocktails offered during brunch (Sat-Sun 12-4 pm).
236 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019
Head over to midtown (52nd and Broadway) for some upscale Cuban dining that has been around since the 60s. You’ll be right in the theater district, so this is the perfect Cuban restaurant. If you have Broadway show tickets, be sure to make a reservation.
The bright and interesting decor goes well with the live music that’s usually playing at Victor’s. Try the assortment of Cuban appetizers (it serves two) to get a good taste of everything they have to offer. The pollo manigua is an extremely tasty chicken. If you’re undecided, order the churros for dessert- the three dipping sauces are fantastic.
Guantanamera Restaurant NYC
939 8th Ave, New York, NY 10019
The theater district staple Guantanamera has a more romantic take on Old Havana style. Their special touch is the complimentary hand-rolled cigars on Fridays and Saturdays, as well as the live Cuban music. Come for a fun time and stay for the food!
You can start with their daily happy hour special- only available at the bar, so order while waiting for your table or get there early. They also have all-night drink specials on Wednesdays and Thursdays in the entire restaurant. The yuca rellena appetizer is perfectly crisped and bursting with flavor from the stuffing. If you’re very hungry, try the paella. They have seafood and vegetarian options.
207 W 14th St, New York, NY 10011
You never know what kind of crowd you’ll get at Coppelia since it’s open 24/7, I guess it matters what time you show up. The good news is you can’t miss it. Wander in for breakfast after partying all night long in the Village, start your night here to fuel up before going out in the lively neighborhoods, or stop in for a quiet lunch.
This heavily Cuban-inspired Latin diner has a lot to offer. Like any diner, they serve breakfast all day so if you’re craving huevos rancheros for dinner, go for it. For a meal, the Camarones Cienfuegos is a great seafood dish. They also have scrumptious burgers and sandwiches. Try the classic Cubano or small bites. Whenever you arrive (and it can be anytime), there will be something delicious to suit your craving.
136 W 46th St, New York, NY 10036
Margon is a delicious Cuban fast food restaurant in the middle of Times Square next to the Kimpton Muse hotel. Get to Margon between photo ops and tourist spots- this hole in the wall is only open until 430 pm. This quick and easy Cuban food should not be missed.
You can’t go wrong with any of the sandwiches, but if you have to pick one, the Steak sandwich is a clear standout. It’s thin steak slices with Margon’s special majito dressing on Cuban bread. They do have tables at Margon, but it’s designed for fast food. Grabbing a sandwich and continuing about your day is the best option.
151 W 46th St, New York, NY 10036
This large and lively Times Square eatery is perfect for those wanting a vacation feel. There’s a long list of tropical cocktails to make you feel like you’re on a beach and not off Times Square. This is a perfect choice if you’re staying in a nearby hotel or have theater plans. Havana Central is very laid back, loud, and fun.
There’s a good mix of classic Cuban fare and Cuban-inspired comfort food, like the Frita burger. The portions are large and tasty and reasonably priced for a tourist-overrun area. If everything sounds good to you, they also offer combination plates like surf n’ turf, ribs, wings, or a vegetarian platter.
2018 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10029
This Upper East Side (111th street and 3rd ave) neighborhood spot is warm, inviting, and perfect for a casual yet elevated bite to eat. You can sip excellent mojitos and sangrias while listening to upbeat live music. Amor Cubano is a fun place with a traditional menu.
The wait staff is extremely attentive and patient. They’ll usually let you taste a drink to help you decide what to order. The Guava Bread pudding is a fan favorite. You should also check out the Chuleta de la Abuela (Grandma’s pork chops) marinated with root vegetables and rosemary. These things are to die for.
210 E 3rd St, New York, NY 10009
This East Village (Avenue B and E3rd St) joint is a low-key Cuban restaurant that’s something of an oasis among the party neighborhood. Here you’ll find a dark wood and candlelit eatery with a full bar and authentic food. The relaxed vibe is perfect for a delicious dinner before heading out into the rest of the Lower East Side.
It’s extremely popular, so make sure to make a reservation. They are well known for their all-you-can-drink Sangria & Mimosa brunch for $22.95, so if you’re looking to party, Cafe Cortadito is a good option. Unlike other places, they offer this deal all week, not just on the weekends, so plan accordingly. The Amanecer Corralito is a sweet plantain omelet and brunch menu favorite.
17 Prince St, New York, NY 10012
The flagship Café Habana location on Prince St and Elizabeth St near the Museum of Ice Cream was created out of an old-school New York diner in 1998. This laid-back Cuban-style hangout has locations across the country and world (there’s one in Tokyo).
Though they have full plates and traditional dishes, Café Habana is known for their small bites and hand-held food. Sandwiches served with their hand-cut fries, an order of sweet plantains, and tostones and guacamole are all favorites. They are especially famous for their grilled corn snack on a stick- smothered in Mayo, Cotija Cheese, and Chili powder served with a lime wedge. You can’t even see the corn under all that wonderful flavoring.
My Cuban Spot
488 Carroll St, Brooklyn, NY 11215
My Cuban Spot is located in the (somewhat) newly trendy Brooklyn neighborhood of Gowanus. This is a literal hole in the wall- you’ll be served through a window and eat at one of the tables on the sidewalk. It’s safe to say this is casual Cuban food at its finest.
It’s the perfect place for lunch (they close at 745 if you want an early dinner). You can grab a Cuban sandwich with a side of perfect plantain chips and eat in the nearby JJ Byrne playground. If you’re just stopping for a snack, the Nutella empanada is a treat, and the three savory options (especially the guava and cheese empanada) are all amazing too.
40-09 Junction Blvd, Corona, NY 11368
Operating in this Queens location since 1976 this family-run Cuban restaurant is worth going to the Corona neighborhood. The good news is you can take the 7 train to Junction Boulevard, and you’ll land right outside Rincon Criollo (corner of Roosevelt Ave and Junction Blvd).
The authentic Cuban food here might be the tastiest you can get. Be prepared to wait. Some dishes (like the arroz con pollo for two) can take an hour. This is not to warn you off, just to help you plan accordingly because the food is worth the wait so clear your schedule. I haven’t tried everything on the menu but feel confident suggesting everything.
New York City is big and has a lot to offer. I hope that this list helps you narrow down your choices to make the most of your time here. If you can’t fit everything in, that’s fine. Any of these will be outstanding- you won’t want to miss a single bite.
Not in the mood for Cuban food? Check out these awesome Greek restaurants around NYC!
Did we leave a restaurant out of this list? Make sure you leave us a comment, and we’ll check it out!