With churrasco steaks, grilled red-snapper fillets, and shredded flank steaks rubbed with Cuban spices, it's hard to tell which dish earned Papi's Cuban & Caribbean Grill the tile of Best Cuban fare in 2010 and 2011 from the readers of Creative Loafing Atlanta. It could have been owner Rey Regalado’s recipe for pork marinade passed on from his father. Brought to America in a harrowing tale of escape from oppression, the signature sauce now trickles beneath layers of smoked pork, ham, swiss cheese, and dill pickles on the cuban sandwich or traditional masitas de puerco made with tender cubed pork. Selecting from a stash of family recipes, chefs fill plates with bold flavors and cap meals with such sweet treats as coconut flan and rice pudding. As the sun falls out of the sky on Fridays and Saturdays, live salsa music populates the dining room with toe-tapping beats and digestion-aiding rhythms.
Piquant Caribbean spices meet artistic plating and global culinary influences inside Cala Bar and Grill, where the kitchen staff tosses crawfish and jerk chicken into bowls of creamy pasta and pairs blackened tilapia with white-cheddar grits. Platefuls of plantains and a mix of rice and peas are served as sides, and the cocktails?flavored with rum, ginger beer, and mint sprigs?are bestowed with names such as Voodoo and Jamaica Mule.
Bright-red accent walls and colorful artwork on the dining room's walls juxtapose with a monochromatic theme that fills the space, conveyed via black tables, chairs, and banquettes. The result is a vibrant space that gives off a modern vibe. Throughout the week, the bar and grill treats guests to live performances by musicians and comedians.