September 26, 2010
4211 Park Avenue
Union City, NJ 07087
  • Cost: $
  • Alcohol: None
  • Parking: Street
  • Take Out: Yes

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September 26, 2010


A working class cafeteria serving large portions of hearty Cuban fare at low prices, El Unico is one of the best places you can eat in New Jersey’s “Havana on the Hudson.”  Heaping plates of Lechon Asado (roast pork), Ropa Vieja (shredded beef), and Rabo de Ternera (oxtail) served with rice, beans, and yuca or sweet plantains. Average plate price: $4.50 – easily the most protein per dollar you’ll find just about anywhere statewide. Not that hungry? Try the decent Cuban Sandwich or a variety of savory and sweet Empanadas. Even hungrier? Order the grilled Churrasco steak. The breakfast specials on the wall are an even better value. Fruit shakes or strong Cuban coffee to wash it all down.


There’s counter and table seating, the service is friendly, and Spanish helps, but isn’t necessary. The space and food isn’t as fancy (or expensive) as some of the Latin American cuisine you can find down the hill (Hoboken) or across the river (Manhattan), but it’s just as satisfying. El Unico is a local place serving the diverse Union City community. As my wife said, “This reminds me of the food I ate growing up.” I imagine many immigrants feel the same way about El Unico.


Serious Eats