4101 Bergenline Avenue
Union City, New Jersey
(201) 867-7341 - Fax: (201) 867-0017



Restaurante el Artesano - Video #1

Restaurante el Artesano - Video #2



January 28, 2015
El Artesano Restaurant

Union City: 10 spots that make it a hot dining destination:

El Artesano: Consistently voted one of the best restaurants in New Jersey, El Artesano is a cut above the already excellent and famed standard of Cuban restaurants in Union City. Its always vibrant atmosphere has kept El Artesano a brilliant bustling restaurant for nearly 40 years. More than just a busy restaurant, this Cuban joint really makes you feel like part of a community, even if its only your first visit, offering everything from early breakfast to late night, Cuban-strength coffee.


New Jersey Monthly, August, 05
El Artesano Restaurant


Restaurant row begins at this bustling restaurant on the corner of 41st Street. Take a seat at the long red counter or at one of the little tables, with best rolex replicas their shiny, pink tablecloths, plate-glass tops, and vases of pink flowers. Café con leche consists of a mug two-thirds-full of steamed milk with a pot of heavenly dark coffee on the side. The menu features traditional classics such as Spanish paellas and mofongo (mashed green plantains with crispy pork rinds and pork chunks in chicken broth).


The Record, December 25, 2002
Lifestyles Food Section

The essential Latino centerpiece, By Leslie Koren

The holidays at El Artesano, a Cuban institution in Union City, means only one thing: the aroma of pork roasting. The sweet, succulent scent wafts from the restaurant's chimney, flavoring the corner of 41st Street and Bergenline Avenue. Walk inside, and you are galtiscopio replica watches transported to the warmer climates of most Spanish-speaking countries, where roast pork, or lechon, is the centerpiece of the holiday feast. "People just drool," said Ignacius Alfonso Jr., whose father began roasting pork at holiday time when their restaurant first opened in 1974. Their cooks, using five large ovens, roast the pigs around the clock in the days before the holiday. Last night, as on all previous Christmas Eves, or Noche Buena, the lechones filled the front windows of the restaurant, providing the most enticing of holiday decorations Traditionally, Latinos spend the holidays at home, surrounded by family, and not in a restaurant. But since few people have ovens large enough to fit a whole pig, many buy cooked lechon from a market or restaurant. Some people order the pig from a meat market, marinate and season it themselves, and then take it to a bakery for roasting At El Artesano, the pig is cleaned, the liver extracted, and the bottom half of the pig is sliced open. The whole pig marinates for up to two days in the mojo, a garlic-based sauce, seasoned with oregano, pepper, and juices from sour orange, pineapple, and lime. It takes about five hours in 350- to 400-degree heat to cook a 25-pound pig. The guess replica watches whole roasted pig, cooked until the skin is crispy and golden, is commonly garnished with an apple in its mouth. The smallest size pig, between 15 and 20 pounds, costs about $120 and feeds between 20 and 30 people. The largest, between 31 and 45 pounds, costs about $175 and feeds up to 45. Customers also can purchase either pork shoulders or pork loins. The pork is often accompanied with yuca con mojo (the root vegetable is served in a similar garlic-based sauce), dark rice, black beans, and avocado salad. A traditional dessert is buñuelos, a yuca and sweet potato fritter in the shape of a figure eight, drizzled with syrup.


Three Guys from Miami, September 2002



October 2, 2001
Critic's Review, S M Kilnisan

If you dine out frequently and follow the food trends, then you're sure to know Latino cuisine is all the rage. Even mainstream, non-Latino restaurants have dabbled with the cuisine's colorful palette to enliven their culinary creations with the likes of spicy-hot chilies, the sweet-sour nuances of coconut and citrus and the savory licks of cilantro and pimento. But if you're looking for the real thing, then the best source is Union City and its array of fast-food Latino restaurants, many of which still emphasize Cuban fare. On a Sunday afternoon, we paid a visit to one of the oldest of the genre, El Artesano, a bustling diner-like restaurant where for the past 25 years the take-out business has been as brisk as the sit-down. The pace can leave you a bit breathless and a deficit of Spanish a bit bewildered. Space between the tables is tight and on a busy night the wait can be long. But all this makes for an attractive, energetic ambience where by dint of cup of coffee - the potent Cuban kind - or a steaming bowl of chicken soup, you'll feel overtaken by something larger - a community. The El Artesano is nearly a 24/7 operation; the kitchen opens seven days a week from 6:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. There are separate menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as specials for each meal... Ready for a complete immersion course? You can start the day with a cafe con leche and a buttery slice of pan Cubano (toasted bread) still warm from the plancha. (The plancha is a hinged grill primarily used in the making of hot pressed sandwiches like Cubanos - ham, roast pork, melted cheese and pickles). Much later, say fifteen hours or so, when work is over and the day is done, the scene switches to the counter where you're leisurely winding down with a cafe carajillo (coffee with brandy), along with a media noche, which in Spanish translates as "midnight sandwich." (El Artesano has a full liquor license. Granted, the wine list leaves much to be desired; however, the Cuban cocktails are inexpensive, frothy and exotic. ) Because informality and cheap prices reign here, you can easily sample the menu of traditional, home-style dishes without breaking the bank or drawing to much attention to yourself. A full range of Cuban-style sandwichesare served along with the dinner menu. Appetizers offer some traditional favorites like corn tamales, wrapped in husks and filled with shredded pork. The flavor is at once sweet and savory. Try the empanadasthe beef was expertly seasoned with garlic, olives and roasted green peppers. Other starters include shrimp sauteed in garlic, ham and chicken croquettes, avocado salad, and a Cuban-style hamburger. The soup selection is a grandmother's repertoire and includes seven hearty selections from chicken soup and a formidable seafood stew to the classic black bean. Woven into the selection of Cuban home-style entrees is an interesting mix of in-your-face authenticity - (likemofongo: a melange of mashed green plantains, fried pork rinds and chunks of roasted pork) - and continental fare. In the latter category are several paellas. (Main course[s]come with two huge sides.) We focused on traditional Cuban dishes and found them satisfyingly good. Try the ropa vieja, shredded [flank] steak stewed with pepper, onions and tomato sauce. In fact, most of the beef dishes ranging from pot roast to beef stew are better than typical diner fare. However, the house's signature dish, chicken breast stuffed with shrimp and crabmeat, is an acquired taste. It's a wildly rich-tasting dish... The side dishes are deliciously down-home and include golden fried plantains, crispy French fries, and a whopping portion of rice and beans. (We ordered the moros in which the black beans are cooked in with the rice.) Fried yuca was out of the picture, but we managed to get the boiled variety served in a cooked vinaigrette called mojo sauce. The mojo consists of garlic, oil and lime juice and flavors the potato-like yuca perfectly. Desserts include a caramel-sweet, creamy-smooth flan and a variety of Cuban puddings. We tried the bunelo, instead. Made from yuca and malanga, this figure-8 shaped fritter is served in a shallow pool of star-anise syrup. Coffees are excellent; the espresso superb. Too bad we didn't have enough room for the batidos - a cross between a shake and a Smoothie - offered in a variety of tropical flavors.


Time Out Magazine, July 1999

"El Artesano... whose Cubanos are consistently hot, well-packed and delicious. Sit at the counter of this rocking luncheonette and listen as the piped-in salsa is overpowered by the combined humming of juicers, blenders and meat slicers. Along with your Cubano -- which the counterman prepares patiently, making sure it emerges from the press hot and crusty, with properly melted cheese -- try an order of maduros, fried sweet plantains. Or, for a real treat, get the yuca in a mojo sauce of garlic, oil and lime juice. This fantastic side dish will make you swear off french fries forever, and you can't beat the price."


"El Artesano, a family-owned restaurant, is located on the bustling corner of Bergenline Avenue and 41st Street in Union City, NJ. This lively establishment was founded in 1974, after the brothers Ignacio and Rafael Alfonso migrated to the United States from Cuba. Full of energy and ambition, the brothers have endeavored to satisfy thousands of customers with homestyle cooking at reasonable prices. The loyal following and new clientele represent not only Cubans but also many other nationalities.

With over 25 years of service, the menu of El Artesano has expanded. At first, the offerings were typical Cuban dishes. But today, the great variety includes not only the traditional menu items like congri rice with pork and yucca, and ropa vieja, but also authentic dishes from Spain such as paella and shrimp in wine sauce. The family is also quick to point out that El Artesano is the only restaurant in the area that prepares just one of the many dishes that make the restaurant a worthwhile trip: pechuga de pollo rellena con camarones y cangrejo (breast of chicken stuffed with shrimp and crabmeat).

The Alfonso family looks forward to welcoming you and serving up a great meal!"



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