Casa Adela – Manhattan’s standard for Puerto Rican fare
In a city that seemingly grows and changes by the hour, it doesn’t take long for a business to claim neighborhood establishment status. Staying open for over two years can often be a pretty large accomplishment especially in the East Village which is often unrecognizable every 5 years. This is what makes Casa Adela so special as it has been serving up some of New York’s most authentic Puerto Rican cuisine since its opening in 1976.
Named after its owner, Casa Adela is located deep within the East Village in a rather unassuming block on Avenue C. This neighborhood establishment is usually inhabited by locals as its location doesn’t entice much foot traffic as it’s rather far from many major subway lines. Yet for those who do venture to this little oasis of Caribbean cuisine, expect food as authentic and delicious as if it was cooked directly on the island of Puerto Rico. The seating area is small with roughly 6-8 small tables packed tightly together where the bustling kitchen takes up most of the restaurants space. Don’t let the size of the dining area fool you, as Casa Adela rivals any other East Village cantina in satisfying the local populations hunger cravings. Whether it be take out or dining in, most of the patrons are local repeat customers as this spot is very much still a hidden gem even after having been around for almost 40 years. If you have the choice definitely dine in and take advantage of the slow paced atmosphere and joyous energy that Casa Adela exudes almost as if you are having a meal in your own families kitchen.
As for food, there really is no wrong decision on the menu as Casa Adela keeps its options simple and compelling. The sandwiches are all made on fresh bread and packed with so much mouthwatering goodness that your stomach will debate your mind whether it can finish the entire thing. Beyond the traditional staples of pork and rotisserie chicken (which are other must haves), the mofungo is a delectable dish that combines the sweetness of fried plantains with the savoriness of pork pieces to create a Frankenstein’s monster of delicious flavor. Combine all this amazing food with the fact that the meals are relatively cheap, and this little restaurant would seem to have it all. Make sure to finish off your meal with one of the cities best cafe con leche, a perfect pick me up for those cold New York days.
This little gem serves food breakfast through dinner (open 7am-11pm) and makes everything from fresh fruit smoothies and eggs in the morning to chicken and rice in the evenings. During the week, due to its small size, the dining area can fill up rather fast so expect a small wait during peak meal times. Casa Adela is cash only but since the check is never that expensive, it’s certainly a wonderful tradeoff. Not many restaurants can serve up such great food for three meals a day, but Casa Adela has been giving the East Village this and more for almost four decades.