Latin Comfort Food

Sofrito Mama's Makes Puerto Rican Food Shine

Chef Judi finds authentic Puerto Rican food at a family restaurant.

By Judi Gallagher August 4, 2016

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Puerto Rico shines in an old strip mall on North Beneva—at least for now, that is. Come January 2017, Sofrito Mama’s is moving downtown near the sheriff’s department and will have indoor seating. But don’t wait…go, and go quickly. You will love this place, seriously. Sure, you can’t eat inside, so you either have to get take-out or sit outside (even on an August afternoon), but somehow you just don’t mind. The food is that good.

Think of Latin comfort food, served up in big styrofoam containers, that’s made with love from old family recipes. If this were a food truck you’d want to hire it for your next wedding or family reunion. You’d want it driven around your neighborhood like the ice cream truck so you could chase it down the street, money in hand, waiting to grab a roast pork sandwich and caramel flan.

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So, by now you get the point. Sofrita Mama’s cooks up authentic Puerto Rican food like empanadas, bacalaito (fried codfish fritters) and pernil, the melt-in-your-mouth roast pork that’s marinated and slowly cooked for up to 10 hours. Try that with fried plantains and a side of avocado and tomato salad, and then order two CubaRiquenos—their version of a hot pressed sandwich with roast pork, off-the-bone ham, Swiss cheese, pickle and mustard on an Italian roll—to go. (This version pays slight homage to the owners’ former home of Philly.)

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There are carnes fritas, fried pork chunks and my family’s favorite: guisados, a tasty chicken stew. Go to the dessert case for a few orders of caramel flan and tres leches cake and grab a couple of cans of nectar, too.

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Sofrito Mama’s offers a daily special, some so special they only prepare them in season. Trust me, a Friday with gazpacho codfish salad for $11 will do the trick, or perhaps the pasteles (stuffed banana wrap) on Saturdays, or two Puerto Rican tamales stuffed with stewed pork or stewed chicken for $10.

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Side orders include yellow rice, stewed beans and white rice.

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There is a note that prices may vary slightly due to market prices, but I have always found a great meal at a great price here.

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Sofrito Mama’s is open Monday through Saturday from noon until 7 p.m., closed Sundays. Catering is a big deal here. You’ll feel like you are bringing the family home with platters of their house specialties.

935 N. Beneva Road #613, (941) 554-8786


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