Food Porn: Papi’s Family Restaurant

***UPDATE: Unfortunately Papi’s has since closed since we wrote this article.

Thanks to our lovely twitter followers suggestions, I’ve found some restaurants that I’ve never known about.  My trip to Papi’s Family Restaurant last week was one of those discoveries, thanks in part to the suggestion from our own Buffalo Foodie Phil from Black & Blue & Gold.  Originally, we were looking for some type of Cuban food and the only place that I found online was apparently closed, so Puerto Rican it was!  My experience before hand was pretty limited, I’ve been to Niagara Cafe and that’s pretty much about it.  So I was really excited to try a new place and see if I can enjoy something besides a Beef Pattie.  Aomehow I ended up eating Octopus and a meal out of tall wooden cups.  Check out how our trip went..

We walked into this restaurant on a Tuesday night and were the only people in there, which can be awkward but we were greeted by the waitress right away and were told to just sit wherever we’d like.  Looking over their menu, it really goes from the extremely cheap and affordable to the more expensive and adventurous.  You can get lobster dishes for about $20+ or you can get their delicious pastellilos (beef patties) for under $2.50.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t in a position to really splurge and spend 20 bucks on a entree off their Seafood menu.  But seeing an Octopus Pastelillo (pictured below) on the menu, I realized this might be my only chance to try this out.  I’ve never had Octopus before and I feel I didn’t get a true experience since I tried it for the first time in what’s essentially a deep fried pastry, but I don’t care.  It was amazing.  Not only was the octopus delicious (not that fishy at all and had a texture that was a mix of crab and shrimp), but the pattie itself was cooked amazingly.  When we left the chef came out and asked how we liked the food and asked who ordered the octopus.  He told me that it’s been very popular since they started making them and he goes out of his way to cook the octopus just right.  They have some other flavors, like the typical beef or chicken, but they also have a lobster, crab and even pizza flavored pastelillos.  For under $3 I can’t recommend ordering any one of these enough, everything about it was delicious.

That was just the appetizer though, for my dinner I ordered the Pork Mofongo (pictured below).  I’ll be honest, I had no idea what I was ordering.  But I love plantains and when I read the description I thought I was actually ordering Pastelon, which is kind of like a Puerto Rican Lasagna.  As you can see from the pictures below, Mofongo is nothing like that.  Our waitress came over and brought these three wooden cups on the table and could tell from the look on my face that I had no idea what I was doing.  Sucking up my pride I just simply asked “So, what do I do?”.  She informed me that you take the cup with the garlic “soup” and pour some of it into the mashed plantain (looked like cornbread) and stir it up.  You can add all of it together but she said she didn’t like it that way.  It was really interesting, the pork was deep fried so it had a crunch to it but I would have preferred the pork be a little more tender.  The plantain was pretty dry but adding that warm garlic sauce, it really helped and I basically dipped everything into it.  For $9 you get a really great amount of food and it’s definitely a unique experience.

Both Jay and our friend Julian ordered sides of Fried Plantains which came with a side of ketchup mixed with some type of hot sauce.  They loved them, they were still thick enough to have a soft chewy inside with a nice deep fried crunch on the outside.  For only $2 it’s a steal and I think a little bit of a healthier option then the normal French Fry.

After we went to Papi’s I actually did more research on it and I noticed several reviews that talked about poor service.  Even though our servcie wasn’t terrible, we did have some moments where I wasn’t sure if our waitress remembered us.  But it certainly wasn’t anything that would prevent me from coming back and compared to my meal at Niagara Cafe, I’d probably recommend Papi’s.  Their menu is much larger and has more of those “out there” restaurant items that people should try out.  A lot of people hear the term “Puerto Rican” cuisine and either confuse it for Mexican or just assume it’s something weird that they won’t like.  In both regards they couldn’t be further from the truth.   You can order delicious entrees/sandwiches and they even have a large selection of deep fried items for the less adventurous types.

Papi's Family on Urbanspoon

One thought on “Food Porn: Papi’s Family Restaurant

  1. Jay G

    I had a completely different experience.. My waitress had no idea what she was doing. There was a piece of plastic in my pastelillo. That forgot my salad, my rice was not good. I had tostones, they had no sauce. I couldn’t get a fork , they had no silverware; I ended up with a spoon. My Friend Cuban sandwich was sent back because there was no lettuce, tomato, onion, or mayo on it which was ordered. Then when we gt the bill not only was the plastic pastelillo not taken off the bill was $5 overpriced.. Which I calculated in my phone and the waitress wasn’t trying to hear any of it and when it came time to give us change they had no singles, so we got dimes!!! The whole experience was horrible. I will never go back!

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