While on vacation, I will often look for experiences that help me understand and define the character of the city that I’m visiting. After living in New York for over 10 yrs, I realize that I definitely take the City for granted and have not delved into finding its heartbeat as much as I would when visiting a new location.
Fortunately, there are those around me that have helped me find those little gems in the City that have helped color my stay here. On a cold NYC night, me and my fellow classmates in Jessica Rodriguez’s Latin percussion class decided to take her out for her birthday, and we thought, what better place to take her than somewhere you can hear some live Salsa, and get some good Cuban food (I’m sure their awesome $6 mojito deal on Tuesdays didn’t hurt our decision either). 🙂
Located steps away from Columbus Circle, you’ll find one of the City’s finest Latin dining experiences. For the strict foodie experience, I know there are many other options for Latin cuisine that NYC can offer, but I get the feeling that for a fun night of food+music+live salsa music, Guantanamera Restaurant is an experience that is hard to beat. My selection for the evening was the delicious Ropa Vieja (shredded skirt steak braised in a garlic sauce of fresh tomatoes, sliced onions and mixed peppers), which was quickly served from their courteous and friendly staff. It’s also important to acknowledge the quick turn-around time for their drink service, which insured that we always had a drink in our hands, and definitely kept the party mood going! Although the dining experience was great, what made this night really memorable was experiencing the Pedrito Martinez Group for the first time. Recognized for his skills on the congas, Pedrito Martinez and his band will skillfully amaze any music aficionado who appreciates quality Latin percussion. As a bonus, what most of us diners didn’t realize was that Guantanamera is also a popular hang-out spot for Latin artists, many who arrive with instruments in-hand, after they’ve completed their gigs elsewhere. Put a group of amazing artists in one room, and what you get is an insane impromptu jam session at the end of the night that just has to be experienced live! So for anyone in the City who is looking to have a memorable night, dining on some tasty Cuban dishes, and being awe-struck by the musical stylings of some truly amazing Latin musicians, make sure to check out Guantanamera Restaurant. Check out Pedrito working some of his magic here:
Value: 4/5 (particularly due to the Tuesday night special)
Overall Score: 4/5
Address: 939 8th Ave, New York City, NY 10019
Website of Pedrito Martinez: http://pedritomartinezmusic.com