Authentic Cuban restaurant run by the family behind Havana Carolina in Concord. 

Why we love it: Dinner at El Puro is an experience meant to take you back in time to 1950s pre-revolutionary Cuba. On Wednesdays, they have live music and free salsa lessons. It’s the kind of place that makes you feel like you’re not in Charlotte anymore.

Must-order dishes: The portions are generous, so here’s our recommended order for two. Start with empanadas ($4). Then, do a surf-and-turf setup for entrees, with an order of Rabo Encindido — a red wine braised oxtail with asparagus ($40) and an order of the Paella O Pa’ El — mussel, calamari, mahi mahi, peas, white wine infused rice ($36). Most entrees come with a side, and you’d be doing yourself a disservice to not throw an order of sweet plantains.

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