The Early Word–Favela Cubana


Favela Cubana’s Cubano sandwich

Favela Cubana is a newly opened Cuban-Brazilian spot just south of Washington Square Park, located in the same odd little strip mall as Rhong-Tiam. “Favela” is the Brazillian Portuguese word for a shanty town, so adding “Cubana” on the end…I suppose evokes down-home Brazilian-Portuguese. The owner is Italian, but has lived in both Brazil and Cuba; he also owns Cubana Cafe (110 Thompson Street).

Main courses include arroz con pollo, lechon, Ipanema-style chicken and Bahia-style shrimp. Our waiter said that there’s live music on the weekends, performed from a small stage in the back of the restaurant.

The Cubano (above) was pretty good–funky-edged lechon with ham, swiss, great pickles and sharp mustard. But at $9, it’s an expensive sandwich. To be fair, it is very large, and two people could easily share it with a bowl of soup.

More food, after the jump. 



Bolinho de bacalhau, Brazilian salt cod fritters ($8) were crisp and greaseless, full of good-quality shredded salt cod.

The menu said that samba ($4) (also the name of a Brazilian dance) would be a mix of corn, mango and avocado. Ours came without avocado, and the result was pretty boring, although I guess that’s what we get for ordering corn out of season.

The sopa de mariscos ($8) is a mild, clear broth bobbing with salmon, shrimp and some very tender squid, along with snow peas and cubed sweet potato. Comforting on a cold day, but I thought it was improved by a few shakes of the malagueta chile hot sauce on the table.

Favela Cubana
543 La Guardia Place

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