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Gustazo – Waltham, MA

Looking to go somewhere different, we found Gustazo on the old Google machine. The menu looked amazing so we decided to check it out on a Saturday night!

There was definitely an older crowd at the restaurant- it seemed like there were a lot of Waltham locals. Older families too, not necessarily with young kids but more like parents of college students and sons and daughters in their 20s.

Appetizers at Gustazo come one at a time as they are made in the kitchen. The waiter (who was very friendly and attentive) would just pop out with appetizers as they were made.

The appetizers ordered had me craving for more after I finished. They weren’t big in size, but damn they were delicious – and frankly, not easily found elsewhere.

The first appetizer ordered, the bacon wrapped sweet plantains, were unbelievably good. The menu description hooked us into trying them – it just sounded so unique! When it was served, the smell permeated through the air. It tasted even better than it smelled. The orange slices served added sharp contrast of tartness to the goat cheese that was served over the plantains. This was a petite appetizer, but heavenly and so worth ordering.

Yet another interesting appetizer that I just had to try was the oxtail. Served in a bowl, the braised ox tail meat was mixed in with warm creamy polenta and grilled avocado. The ingredients perfectly complimented each other, making it another outstanding order. No regrets here.

After sampling two appetizers, I needed to fill up a meal. We ordered the Arroz Con Pollo a la Chorrera – a Risotto-style Cuban rice with chicken thighs, grilled asparagus, soft poached egg, maduros and rice. Chicken and rice combo was money, and the plantains were awesome too. Samantha agreed, adding that said she wanted to “marry these fried plantains”. The grilled asparagus was lightly salted and was great addition to the meal. I ate all of it and loved every bite.

I decided to indulge with what would be our first affogato ever. As a restaurant that doubles as a cafe, we figured Gustazo would be the right place to give it a go. The espresso was great and the French vanilla ice cream was creamy. It was just the right amount of dessert to split, and we were so glad it was on the menu.

The whole Waltham area has such a great food scene with a diverse selection of restaurants to dine at – Gustazo certainly held its own.

TL; DR: Gustazo has great Cuban dishes with a unique and modern take. With the selection of dishes to choose from, you literally can’t go wrong.

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