Best Salvadoran Restaurant (2001)
You will not find iced tea at Variedades. Instead, you can slake your thirst with wonderfully refreshing aguas -- tall glasses of melon and other fresh-fruit drinks with bits of pulp. Set in a large room with off-white walls and burgundy tablecloths, Variedades has simple, understated decor. The flavors are the big draw. The restaurant offers delicious cuisine from various spots in Latin America: honeycomb soup from Honduras; tacos, tostadas and quesadillas from Mexico. But Salvadoran fare is this spot's bread and butter, and the restaurant is at its very best with such classics as yucca con chicarrón (yucca with fried pork), bistec encebollado (beef with sautéed onions) and pollo a la crema (chicken stew in sour cream). The warm corn tortillas are the thickest and loveliest you'll ever taste. Meals begin with long strips of fried plantains, perfect for dipping into tasty sauces.