Best Old School Restaurant: (TLD Suggests) El Castillo de Jagua

El Castillo

The Dominican diner on Rivington Street, just a couple of doors down from the swanky Hotel on Rivington, has endured in the face of gentrification for almost 30 years. El Castillo, a bastion for cheap, filling Latin specialties, came in second place in our reader survey.

You can always find a longtime resident who will tell you the place “isn’t what it used to be,” but in our book, you can’t go wrong with the huge cubano stuffed with succulent roasted pork ($5), a bowl of chicken soup ($5) or a platter of mangu (mashed plantains) with fried eggs and pickled onions ($4.50). Earlier this year, in a feature on classic LES diners, owner Luis Miguel Collado told us he’s confident people on the Lower East Side will always have an appetite for fresh, affordable food, no matter how fancy the neighborhood becomes.

El Castillo de Jagua
113 Rivington St.
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