Today’s Groupon is muddled with tropical taste, splashed with foreign flavors, and garnished with Latin locomotion. For $15, you’ll get $35 worth of scrumptious Cuban cuisine at Havana Café, an authentic eatery praised by the Phoenix New Times as the best Latin bistro. Redeem your Groupon at one of three locations.
Scooping up a chipful of it or getting your fill on the dance floor, Latin Quarters has more than one kind of salsa. Inside the colorfully painted and decorated interior, the dance floor is frequently home to salsa dancers and toe-tappers, while surrounding tables enjoy authentic Puerto Rican cuisine and colorful cocktails. During dinner, customers start meals with flaky, golden-brown empanadas lined with jerk chicken, spinach and cheese, or a mix of pork and yellow rice. Then, they graduate to entrees of fried pork chops topped with zesty chimichurri, or the Tropical Picken Chicken, which is served with homemade salsa verde and dressed in an edible grass skirt.
Tropical Picken Chicken takes its name from its signature dish: pica pollo, a Dominican poultry specialty of flame-roasted chicken made tender by a tropical citrus marinade. Each dish on the menu sends diners' imaginations on a tour of the Caribbean, with special entrees like authentic Puerto Rican fried chicken, Cuban ropa vieja, spicy jerk chicken, and morsels of ham, cheese, and sauce sandwiched between planks of fried plantains. Guests dine in the open air on the umbrella-covered patio seating or gather amid the interior's checkerboard floor and paintings of tropical islands to enjoy meals of Miami-style pulled-pork sandwiches and stuffed empanada pastries.
At Mambo Grill & Tapas, precise preparation is just as essential to the bar's mojitos as it is to the kitchen's slow-cooked pork. The staff rejects premade sour mix in favor of their own tangy formula, and squeezes the lime juice onsite instead of simply shopping for lemonade and dyeing it green. The resulting citrusy sips pair well with the venue's Cuban entrees. From plantains stuffed with picadillo—ground beef, veggies, and potatoes cooked in housemade tomato sauce—to hand-cut beef fillets and pan-seared salmon, these dishes display a mastery of the balance between spice and sauce.