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Restaurants & Bars 3

SD-Tropical Star

Dumpling | Nov 5, 200212:24 PM

I finally found this place, which bills itself as a Puerto Rican and Carribean restaurant and market. It's at 6163 Balboa Ave., west of 805, in a mini-mall where IHOP is. The sign says 11-9 Mon-Sat, but I heard the server tell someone on the phone they were only open until 8:30, so maybe they don't want to seat people after that.
They have a wide variety of food at reasonable prices (nothing over $10, most entrees $7). You order at the counter, and they bring you the food on styrafoam plates.
We had a Salvadoran pupusa, Colombian empanadas, a Colombian arepa, tostones (fried green plantains), a pastelillo (meat filled empanada), a plate of pernil (roast pork) with rice and beans, and guanabana shakes. Everything was good and tasty, but nothing was really outstanding, which might be because they're trying to do too much. I do think it's better than the things I've had at Andre's patio, more flavorful, and it definitely fulfills a craving for Carribean food.
The batidos (shakes) were a little more watery than I like (but still yummy), the pernil was a little dry, but in a very flavorful sauce, and satisfying. I really liked the Colombian empanadas (in a cornmeal shell), but Sr. Dumpling thought the pastelillo was most like what his Colombian aunt used to make for him.
The tiny market is a great resource for Latin products. I was most excited about finding the right masa to make arepas at home with. They have all kinds of guava paste, chocolates, beans, etc.
I will definitely be going back, and recommend it to anyone wanting to try some tasty morsels with a tamarindo soda! We just barely grazed the menu, there was still, platanos maduros, ropa vieja, some yummy soup they only make on saturdays, whole fish, and DESSERTS! Go there and eat!

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