• Zafra Kitchen: Colorful Cuban-Latin Fare in Hoboken

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    Colorful, Cuban-inspired food + off-the-beaten-path BYOB: That’s just the tip of the treats that you’ll find at Zafra Kitchen, a Latin-inspired restaurant located at 301 Willow Avenue. This corner spot in Hoboken is a colorful hidden gem — perfect for some home-cooked Cuban, Peruvian, and Argentinian fare, just a few blocks off Washington Street. Here’s a bit more about Zafra Kitchen, a long-time staple in the Mile Square:

    zafra hoboken cuban

    Cuban chef Maricel Presilla set up shop in this cozy residential corner spot in 2000, with many accolades to follow. {She’s also known for the ever-popular Cucharamama and Ultramarino’s Cafe, all located within a few blocks of each other — and equally delicious.} The L-shaped patio at Zafra houses big red umbrellas and colorful tablecloths, ideal for an Instagrammable shot if that’s your thing.

    zafra hoboken cuban food restaurant

    On the inside, you’ll find vibrant oil paintings by Cuban artist Ismael Espinosa and colorful oilcloth tablecloths. It’s a bit snug, but that adds to the vibe. The menu, based on Chef Presilla’s trips throughout Latin America is pan-Latin, and the simple-yet-amazing eats will wow you with every bite. In fact, it hasn’t only wowed us at HG; Zafra has been featured in the WSJ and New York Times {rated as excellent!} as well as honored by Zagat on a yearly basis. Presilla was also invited to the White House in 2009 to cook for a Latin American gala in which Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. She told the NYTimes that Justice Sotomayor “had my pasteles and she said they were like her mother’s.” ‘Nuff said.

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    Among the offerings on Zafra’s menu, you’ll find Cuban sandwiches, Peruvian ceviche, Argentine beef, tamales, salads, soups, and a fave — Ropa Vieja. The Yuguita Frita Con Salsa De Cilantro aka yuca fries are out of this world. On a budget? Not to fear: The quesadillas de hongos are $5 and are oh. so. good. Also write-home worthy: The Papa Rellenas, of course — Cuban-style mashed potato ball filled with beef hash, Ecuadorian ají relish. Dinner prices max out at $25, so it’s easy to enjoy a home-style feast.

    zafra hoboken cuban food restaurant

    Papa Rellenas — yessss plz

    For the BYOB lovers, bring a bottle of wine or liquor to Zafra, and the staff will whip up a pitcher of sangria, margs, or mojitos.

    zafra hoboken cuban food restaurant

    Yuca Fries, with avocado dip

    And while yes, the restaurant is BYO, head to the last page of the menu and take a gander at the non-alcoholic drinks {all which can most likely be concocted by adding a little gin/rum/vodka if desired or left virgin}. The house special {frozen Ecuadorian limeade} and the Costa Rican sorrel punch are at the top of our list.

    Finish off your meal {or perhaps come with this as the main entree in mind} with spiced hot chocolate, made with Venezuelan chocolate and DEFINITELY something to write home about. It’s j’amaze and so toasty for a cold fall/winter evening.

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    Zafra does catering and takeout, and their hours are Monday through Thursday, 9:00AM-10:00PM, Friday 9:00AM-11:00PM, with Saturday and Sunday Brunch from 10:00AM-3:00PM and dinner hours till 11:00PM on Saturday and 9:00PM on Sunday. It’s a cozy, fun spots that’s ideal for a Cuban or Latin-food craving, complete with authentic decor and noteworthy chef.

    Have you been to Zafra? What did you think?

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    Written by:

    Jen is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Hoboken Girl. She started the site to discover and share the wealth of things happening in Hudson County. Her roots in the area extend to her maternal grandparents, who owned two textile factories in Weehawken and North Bergen. When not planning the next Hoboken Girl event/volunteer project or editing her life away, she can usually be found shopping at local boutiques, eating an Insta-worthy meal, walking her French bulldog + rescue pup, or watching the latest murder doc on Netflix with her husband.


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