In the heart of Frank Sinatra’s hometown sits the charming Zafra, the first restaurant owned by Cucharamama owner, Maricel Presilla.  The Cuban expression “making a zafra”, which means harvesting sugar cane, is represented with an authentic sugar cane juicer behind the bar.  During Presilla’s opening her father gaver her a beautiful mural, now hanging in the dining area, depicting the sugar cane harvest, for good luck.  And good luck it has brought! This gem, in Hoboken, New Jersey, had me feeling as though I was seated in the kitchen of a Latin American home.

The result of Presilla’s persistant cooking from scratch is bona fide Latin American tapas.  Dishes originate from Argentina, Mexico, Spain, Ecuador, Chile, Guatemala and Brazil, but the core of Zafra’s menu if Cuban.  For a more relaxed atmosphere Zafra is BYOB, so I recommend bringing in a bottle of red wine, for the waitstaff will mix and serve Sangria at a small charge!  Tapas to my liking included, Empanadillas con Pebre, crisp empanadas filled with beef picadillo and spicy chilean cilantro sauce; Croqueticas de Jamón, cuban ham croquettes with lulu sauce; and Chrizo Encebollado, sauttéed chorizo with onions and green olives.  At an unbeatable price you can’t go wrong ordering an assortment of tapas!


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