A Chicken in Every Pot

¡Hola, Alegría! Welcome to

We ordered the grouper criolla special ($24) and of course the arroz con pollo for dinner. Both were excellent representations of Latin home cooking — the moist fish fillet was infused with all the flavors of its rich, hearty sauce, a delightful blend of seafood stock, black pepper, tomato, garlic, and roasted red and yellow bell peppers that had been reduced to a velvety pool of utter deliciousness. Mildly flavored black beans and yellow rice came with it, and we inhaled a plate of yuca frita, fried crisp, salted, and served with a rather strange roasted corn mojo. (The oil may have started to turn rancid; we left the mojo almost untouched.)

Then my black pot of chicken and rice, practically heaving in its own steam, a great bargain and almost perfect. I shouldn't force a comparison burdened with all the weight of childhood nostalgia — what pot dish today could rival my first bite, the single swallow that opened my mouth and heart to a whole gigantic world outside the crib? But Alegría's arroz con pollo is good stuff. A little salty, maybe.

Ricardo's special bread pudding ($5) floats an island of custard layered with guava and raisins in a shallow bath of chipotle chocolate sauce. There's a scoop of homemade Colombian coffee ice cream alongside, and here was another blast of nostalgia — it tasted just like the coffee ice cream at the old Howard Johnson's (yes, HoJo's made fabulous ice cream, once upon a time). And thus, we ate up an entire textbook example of Latin America's great contribution to global cuisine and the three ingredients I hope I never have to live without: coffee, chocolate, and pepper.

Joe Rocco

Location Info


Alegria Cafe

4900 Linton Blvd.
Delray Beach, FL 33445

Category: Restaurant > Cuban

Region: Delray Beach


4900 Linton Blvd., Delray Beach (in BocaRay Plaza). Open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. till 9:30 p.m.; Sunday 2 till 9:30 p.m. Call 561-496-2727.

Our whole bill, sans sangria, came to $74. We could go back and have the roasted Sinaloa chicken at lunch, if we wanted, for a mere $9, a shredded skirt steak for $8, or a trio of grilled chicken, steak, and roast beef sandwiches with a salty pile of sweet potato fries. And for those last few nights before payday, Alegría's generous early-bird menu offers a choice of four appetizers, seven entrées, and two desserts. Start with Prince Edward Island mussels in spicy tomato broth or Ricardo's Mexican-marinated chicken wings, follow with Sinaloa-style chicken ($15.95), grilled skirt steak ($17.95), or pan-fried fish of the day ($16.95), then make a happy ending of bread pudding or tres leches to be out in time for your 7:30 show. Almost makes you want to move to the wilds of West Delray, doesn't it? Now, if only somebody'd open a kava bar and an indie cinema in the same strip mall, we'd be totally hooked up.

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