Mix up your dinner routine and check out historic Norcross’ Mojito’s Cuban-American Bistro, a family-run eatery that’s been a tasty staple for seven years now, and whose head chef, Elsida Cortes (also known as Mom), still arrives before dawn to start cooking from scratch.
Mojito’s delivers homemade, comforting Cuban classics so authentic you might think you’re in Miami, especially once the live music gets kicking on weekends and patrons turn the modest dining space into a dance floor. The wait easily takes an hour on busy nights at this bustling hotspot. Luckily, time passes quickly when you sip on the restaurant’s namesake Moijto, a refreshing sugary-tart concoction that holds rum, lime and mint.
Once you’re ready to start feasting, Mojito’s massive menu offers an impressive line-up of Cuban dishes to choose from. Start with the ham croquettes, made in-house daily from ground deli ham, rolled in breadcrumbs and deep-fried, or the mariquitas (deep-fried green plantains sliced thin like chips) served with mojo dipping sauce. If you can’t make up your mind which appetizer to try, go for the Mojito’s Sampler, which includes ham croquettes, beef empanadas, yucca fries and stuffed plantains.
The nacho-like Loaded Mariquitas come with plantain chips instead of tortilla chips. / Mojito’s Cuban-American Bistro
A plethora of entree options is available to tickle your taste buds—from a chicken, seafood and pork section to beef to house specialties like classic paella teeming with scallops, calamari, shrimp, mussels, squid, chicken and pork.
Dinner here won’t leave you hungry, as the food is filling and portions are generous. The delicious pollo empanizado (a chicken breast fillet lightly breaded, pan fried with ham, and served with white rice, black beans and plantain slices) is so big that its edges dangle off your plate. If you want to eat like a real Cuban, be sure to squeeze some lime on your chicken for a little extra zest. Other menu highlights include the camarones enchiladas (shrimp served in a tomato-based Creole sauce), the vaca frita (shredded flank steak fried to a nice crisp) and, of course, the Cuban sandwich. End your meal with a dessert of arroz con leche (rice pudding), flan or guava cheesecake.
Insider tip: If you find a bay leaf in your black beans, ropa vieja or other dish, tell your server and score a free drink as part of the restaurant’s “Infamous Bay Leaf Challenge.”
Mojito’s, 35 South Peachtree St., Norcross, 770-441-2599, mojitosbistro.squarespace.com.