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A green-skinned guava, sliced open to reveal a pink fleshy interior with white seeds, is isolated on a white background
Guava.
Anna Kucherova/Shutterstock

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Where to Eat (and Drink) Guava in the Boston Area

From guava and cheese empanadas to guava margaritas, here’s where to find the tropical fruit in meal or cocktail form at local restaurants

While fresh guavas are not the easiest to find in Boston, guava dishes and drinks can still be enjoyed extensively in restaurants and bars around the city and beyond. The flavor of ripe guava is often described as floral, tasting somewhat like a cross between a strawberry, mango, and pear. Thanks to the high levels of pectin in the fruit, it is an ideal fruit for making jams and other preserves, because pectin serves as a natural thickener when heated. This means guava dishes can be found year-round and in many different ways.

Here’s a guide to some excellent Boston-area dishes and drinks that highlight guava: empanadas with guava and cheese, guava cocktails, dishes with guava barbecue sauce, and more.


Empanadas and other dough-wrapped treats

El Oriental de Cuba, 416 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, Boston
Buenas, Bow Market, 1 Bow Market Way, Union Square, Somerville
Peka, 304 Washington St., Brighton, Boston

Six empanadas in several different shapes sit on a blue plate on a wooden surface. One is split open, dripping with red jam.
An assortment of empanadas from Buenas at Bow Market, including guava and cream cheese.

Guava and cheese is a popular combination, with the saltiness of the cheese cutting through a very sweet guava jam.

At Jamaica Plain’s El Oriental de Cuba, which has an all-around outstanding menu, one can find guava and cheese empanadas offered as an appetizer. (The restaurant is part of Jamaica Plain’s exemplary Caribbean food scene, and the Cuban sandwich is a must.)

Buenas — the empanadas-and-more shop located at Union Square’s Bow Market and soon adding a sibling, Super Bien, at the Speedway in Brighton — has a rotating menu, but there’s often a guava empanada available, stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped in Buenas’ reliably delicious dough. (It’s almost always available frozen and hits the fresh menu about every other week.)

And while not an empanada, Brighton’s Latin American restaurant Peka’s los tequeños de Christy — tequeños are Venezuelan cheese sticks — consist of cheese wrapped in puff pastry, served with a guava-lime dipping sauce. It’s a perfectly flaky start to the restaurant’s tapas section of the menu.


Cocktails

Blossom Bar, 295 Washington St., Brookline Village
Coquette, Omni Boston Hotel, 450 Summer St., Seaport District, Boston
Mariel, 10 Post Office Sq., downtown Boston
Gustazo Cuban Kitchen, 2067 Massachusetts Ave., Porter Square, Cambridge; 240 Moody St., Waltham
Citrus & Salt, 142 Berkeley St., Back Bay, Boston

A light pink cocktail is served in a short, wide glass, garnished with a sprig of fresh mint. It sits on a white marble table inside a restaurant.
Coquette’s Martinique smash cocktail with Martinique rhum, pinapple, guava, coffee, and lime.

Guava cocktails are growing in popularity in Boston, and most often guava drinks are accompanied by rum: Try the bocadillo sour from tropical cocktail destination Blossom Bar, which comes adorned with a delightful piece of guava paste; the Martinique smash from Coquette, which is as beautiful as the restaurant’s decor; or the frozen guava daiquiri or the guava mojito at Mariel, Coquette’s older Cuban-inspired sibling in Post Office Square.

If rum isn’t for you, there’s always Gustazo Cuban Kitchen’s gin-based guava blossoms cocktail or Citrus & Salt’s guava margarita.


Barbecue and other saucy meats

Orinoco, 477 Shawmut Ave., South End, Boston; 22 Harvard St., Brookline Village; 56 JFK St., Harvard Square, Cambridge
Gustazo Cuban Kitchen, 2067 Massachusetts Ave., Porter Square, Cambridge; 240 Moody St., Waltham
Casa B, 253 Washington St., Union Square, Somerville

Small meaty ribs topped with strips of pickled beets sit on a pale puree of hearts of palm and pineapple, topped with chopped scallions and crushed peanuts.
Guava-glazed baby back ribs at Gustazo in Cambridge.

Guava pastes and jams are sticky and sweet, making guava an excellent base for barbecue dishes.

At Latin American restaurant Orinoco, which has three locations, the mini costillitas dish features slow-steamed baby back ribs with a guava barbecue sauce and a side of yucca fries. There’s another guava dish available, too: a Spanish flatbread with guava preserves, goat cheese, arugula, and fig glaze.

And back to Gustazo Cuban Kitchen: In addition to its outstanding cocktails, Gustazo serves fall-off-the-bone guava-glazed baby back ribs, accompanied with hearts of palm pineapple puree, pickled beets, and crushed peanuts.

At Casa B in Somerville’s Union Square, which has its roots in Spanish Caribbean cuisines, the small-plate menu is packed with guava dishes. The restaurant infuses guava into the tomato sauce for its albondigas (meatballs), and there’s also a queso frito (fried cheese) with guava sauce, as well as choripan — chorizo with guava puff and guava sauce.


Dessert and sweet treats

The Old Havana Cuban Restaurant, 349 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, Boston
Daniel’s Bakery, 395 Washington St., Brighton, Boston
Manoa Poke Shop, 300 Beacon St., Somerville

A spoon holds a scoop of orange cream cheese frosting and a bit of yellow cake in front of a white paper bag with a logo for Manoa restaurant printed in green.
Guava cake from Manoa.

It goes without saying that guava is a delightful ingredient in dessert. The Old Havana Cuban Restaurant in Jamaica Plain knows this well, with both guava cheesecake and churros with guava on the dessert menu.

In Brighton, Daniel’s Bakery has a delicious guava and cheese Danish (essentially breakfast dessert), and Somerville’s Manoa Poke Shop has a perfect slice of guava cake with a heavenly guava cream cheese frosting.

Mariel

10 Post Office Square, , MA 02109 (617) 333-8776 Visit Website

casa b

253 Washington Street, Somerville, MA 02143 617 764 2180 Visit Website

Orinoco Kitchen

477 Shawmut Avenue, Boston, MA 02118 617 369 7075 Visit Website

Peka Restaurant

304 Washington Street, , MA 02135 (617) 789-4100 Visit Website

Manoa Poke Shop

300 Beacon Street, , MA 02143 (617) 945-1042 Visit Website

Citrus & Salt

142 Berkeley St., Boston, MA 02116 Visit Website

Blossom Bar

295 Washington Street, , MA 02445 (617) 734-1870 Visit Website

Coquette

450 Summer Street, , MA 02210 (617) 882-0090 Visit Website

The Old Havana

349 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, Boston MA (617) 477-4248 Visit Website

Gustazo Cuban Restaurant & Cafe (Cambridge)

2067 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02140 Visit Website

El Oriental De Cuba

416 Centre Street, , MA 02130 (617) 524-6464 Visit Website

Daniel's Bakery

395 Washington Street, , MA 02135 (617) 254-7718 Visit Website

Bow Market

1 Bow Market Way, , MA 02143 Visit Website
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