When I think of getting good Cuban food, my first thought tends to be Miami and not New Jersey. While on break from my school and visiting my grandma in New Jersey, I got lunch with my good friend Elvin. He suggested we go to Montclair, NJ and eat at Cuban Pete’s.
When we arrived at the restaurant, I was taken into a world of palm trees, vibrant colors and island music. I definitely didn’t feel like I was in New Jersey anymore. Elvin has eaten there many times, so he suggested we order papita de rellenas and pernil con tostones tapas to start. Papita de rellenas were Cuban stuffed beef potato dumplings, and the pernil con tostones were crispy pork with fried plantains and garlic mojo. I also had my eye on the datiles – almond stuffed dates wrapped in bacon. We ordered all three, along with the Spanish Harlem sangria. The restaurant is BYOB, so we brought our own bottle of wine for the pomegranate, nectarines and apricot sangria mix.
The sangria mix was tasty, not too sweet and it went well with the cabernet sauvignon wine we brought. I tried the papita de rellenas tapas first, and they were very tasty. They weren’t my favorite because they were pretty heavy, but I enjoyed them. I followed it up with the pernil con tostones which was so good. I love fried plantains, and they pork tasted great on top of them. My favorite by far was the datiles. These were the perfect level of fatty, meaty and sweet. The fat from the bacon paired perfectly with the sweetness of the dates.
For my main meal, I ordered the ropa vieja, which was traditional shredded chicken. My dish also came with rice, beans and sweet plantains. Elvin ordered the churrasco, which was guarapo marinated skirt steak and spicy chimichurri. Our meals both looked delectable when they arrived. Elvin said he really enjoyed his food, and I definitely enjoyed mine. The chicken was juicy and flavorful, and I couldn’t get over how great the sweet plantains were. Being so far from Miami, this was pretty good Cuban food.
The service was pretty good, but the food and the atmosphere really made the overall experience. This restaurant is very unique, especially for the area, and the food is reasonably priced. Though it’s not quite like Cuban food in Cuba or Miami, it was pretty close.
428 Bloomfield Ave, Montclair, NJ 07042
Mon-Thur 11:30 AM–11:00 PM; Fri-Sat11:30 AM–12:00 AM; Sun 11:30 AM–11:00 PM