Jan. 23, 2015 By Michael Florio
A new Cuban restaurant opened its doors on 31st Avenue last month.
Sabor de Cuba, located at 37-03 31st Ave, opened on Dec. 29 and offers diners tapas, empanadas, plantains, Cuban sandwiches and a variety of other popular dishes.
Sandra Zambrano, who co-owns the restaurant with William Alba, decided to open the location based on the fact that there are few Cuban eateries in Astoria.
“We noticed that there were few Cuban options in the area and we thought we could be one of the first ones here,” she said.
Zambrano, an Ecuadorian immigrant, has lived in Astoria for the past 15 years. Her business partner, William Alba, has lived in the neighborhood his entire life.
Zambrano said that when the two of them decided to open a restaurant they knew it had to be in Astoria.
“This is a great community,” she said. “There have been a lot of new people moving here from the city over the past 10 years and they are looking for nice restaurants and a lot of variety.”
The menu features a variety of tapas, such as Concha Rellena (which is stuffed baked clams with garlic mojo sauce), Cigarro Cubano (roast pork, ham and Swiss cheese wrapped in a grape leaf) and a variety of empanadas.
Entrees include Cuban sandwich, Ropa Vieja (shredded beef), Pernil, which is roasted pork served with rice and black beans and Paella, which is seasonal seafood rice with clams, mussels, shrimp, calamari and chorizo.
Dessert items include bread pudding and passion fruit flan.
The restaurant also has a wide selection of wine and beer. It also offers Sangria.
Zambrano said the chef is willing to cater to people’s requests and will cook dishes for those who do not eat meat or cheese.
Zambrano said they have decided to keep the menu simple for now—as they wait to see how the community responds to the food. She added that the restaurant plans to expand its menu in coming months.
The restaurant is open from 4 pm to midnight, seven days a week. However, Zambrano said she plans to serve brunch on weekends starting February.
The restaurant can seat 58 people, which includes the bar area.
Zambrano said business has been mixed.
“So far I cannot complain,” she said. “I am not expecting to be packed everyday just yet, but for a new restaurant, business has been good.”