Owner Jose Gonzales, who was born and raised in Cuba, bought out his business partners in the now-shuttered El Cid (El Cid 2 is still open on Kedzie Avenue) to pursue a new venture close to his heart: a family-run Cuban restaurant and rum bar. Gonzales has been working with a student of Nitza Villapol, known as the Julia Child of Cuba, to create a menu that's "authentic with a twist." Think black beans with apples, three different takes on plantains, ropa vieja sliders (shredded beef with peppers and onions), and a pulled pork sandwich with Cuban barbeque sauce called the Fidel. Sandwiches cost about $6; entrees range from $8-$18.
Paladar freshly squeezes its own sugar cane juice -- Gonzales said he thinks it's one of the few restaurants in the state that has its own sugar cane machine -- and its drinks list will be heavily rum-based, with rum tastings, different types of mojitos, and other rum cocktails.
Housed in the former Cafe Bolero space (after moving from beside the Congress Theater in May 2013) features a spacious outdoor patio overlooking Western Avenue.