The family-owned La Rosa Restaurant has been treating diners to upscale Cuban fare for more than four decades. House specialties run the gamut from stuffed beef tenderloin to Valencian paella, and the menu offers more than a dozen fresh seafood dishes, including crab-stuffed snapper, lobster Creole, and mahi mahi in savory garlic sauce. Meat-lovers can fill up on pork churrasco, baby filet mignon, or rack of lamb, while Cuban-style sandwiches and croquettes make for lighter options. To accompany these savory dishes, the staff prepares mango pie and cream cheese custard and fills glasses with Spanish, Italian, and Australian wines.
Chef Willy Hernandez is an international man through and through—and the evidence can be tasted at Zielo Restaurant. His Dominican Republic heritage presents itself in the Caribbean-steeped trio ceviche, with shrimp, whitefish, and coconut-ginger tuna, or the ahi tuna tartare, served over a plantain nest. But influences from Asia, Italy, and France weave their way into the dinner entrees, resulting in such dishes as truffle-infused risotto. And the time Chef Hernandez spent in New York while training in the William's Culinary Institute also gets some face time with the cowboy ribeye and rack of lamb dressed in mustard sauce.
Guests pair this culinary voyage with sips of wines curated by general manager Ervin Machado, a sommelier and wine judge. The deep red of a Louis Martini cabernet sauvignon or Charles Krug pinot noir pops amid the predominantly ivory color scheme, joining the russet tones of the leather-bound volumes upon backlit bookshelves. Calculated swathes of cobalt add another dimension throughout the restaurant, resurfacing on water glasses, lampshades, the front of the bar, and the faces of those competing in breath-holding competitions.
You're immersed in the lively flavors and atmosphere of Mexico the minute you walk into Frida Mexican Restaurant. The bright pink walls?adorned with a painting of Frida Kahlo herself?mirror the spicy ingredients chefs use to season succulent cuts of carnitas, spit-roasted al pastor pork, and savory fish tacos. Chefs layer these meats atop tortillas for the house tacos, as well as on slices of fried masa huarache to create a hearty dish similar to a flatbread. For drinks, however, staff veer away from these spicy flavors in favor of cooling glasses of beer, thirst-quenching bottles of Jarritos, and beer cocktails. These can incorporate anything from a splash of lime juice and salt to a blend of hot sauces and shrimp reminiscent of a bloody mary.
As couples and groups gather for dinner around Caribbean lobster, steaks, and tapas, the wine flows freely, and eventually, the stillness of early evening gives way to the revelry of nighttime. Flamenco dancers climb onto tabletops, music begins to play, and diners set down their forks to clink glasses, deliver celebratory champagne baths to their loved ones, and do some dancing of their own.
This is the scene at Casa Panza, where dinner transforms into an all-night party. Set amongst Little Havana's sparkling nightlife, the Spanish cafe wraps festive visits in an equally festive experience. Outside, a bastion façade mimics that of a fortress, and inside, Spanish tiles, bodega-style wine racks, and hanging ceramics further immerse guests into the exotic decor. On Friday and Saturday nights, flamenco dancers flock to La Cueva, a party area where 50 to 70 guests can take in the show while noshing on tapas and paella. Even more live music can be found at Salon Rojo, a ballroom and nightclub that books performers from around the world and hosts private receptions for up to 250 guests.