Mamajuana Cafe! I just happened across this place one day when I was walking back from La Marina, and upon finally entering it this summer, I can tell you, it’s worth a shot.
No, it’s nothing super special, and I would almost never make the trek up to Inwood just to party at Mamajuana, but if you’re in the area and looking for something to do, this is not a bad option in the least.
On an average Sunday night, folks were in here eating, drinking, dancing and turning up like few other places in Manhattan are at this time of the week. No, it was no La Marina or PhD in terms of its turnt-upness, but for the 30 or so people that were on the dance floor that night, it didn’t seem like they were interested in being any place else.
Let me start off by saying that the food was surprisingly good. If you’re looking for some good Puerto Rican and Dominican food, this may not be the best place in all of Inwood, but it certainly is in the conversation for places worth grabbing a bite. I had some of the arepas, tacos and pulpos, and I’m telling you, I was in heaven.
As for the turn-up, there wasn’t much of a dancing space, but don’t tell that too the people that killed the club that night. Obviously, the latin music came on strong, and my latino brothas and sisters got it in. I personally have continued to evolve my salsa skills over the years, and I’m at a point where I can do a little salsa-ing on my lonesome and look pretty good doing it. It’s when you bring a second-party into the mix that my feet get a little tied up.
Eventually though, they did play the hits, so if you’re looking for some hip-hop and r&b in your life, Mamajuana will give you a taste of it. That said, that may have just been because I rolled up in there with a number of black folks that may have warranted a change from the norm–but the DJ seemed ready for it, so I doubt the music changed because of the audience.
So again, this place is a nice, little, neighborhood spot that I would recommend if you should happen to be in the neighborhood. In all honesty, there’s no way you should go out of your way to hit this spot up if you don’t live within a reasonable distance of Dyckman Street, but even if you do, you won’t be disappointed.