Cuban Food: Keeping It Real

Cubans in this town have it tough. There are plenty of places you can speak Spanish, but few with decent arroz y frijoles. The key, says Miami native Oro3030, is to piece it together.

-La Cubana has excellent, authentic ropa vieja–but their moros y cristianos (black beans mixed with white rice) is just passable.

-Havana Mania has good lechon and great mojitos, but also poor beans and rice.

-At Cafe Baracoa, you can get an authetic flan and good arroz y frijoles, but the rest of the food is unimpressive.

-El Cochinito is a big board favorite, with delicious roast pork, chicken, plantains, and beans.

El Colmao also gets a lot of love. Says ZoeZ, the food is marvelous–occasional special of Galician soup is so deeply flavored, they must use nine chickens to a bowl. There’s tongue on Mondays, and a dessert called tocino de cielo (bacon from heaven), something you don’t see every day. Downside: crap neighborhood, including the parking lot in front where the guard promises to take care of your car–for a tip. Leaving the lot, you may have someone tap on your window, trying to make a sale. Despite the (otherwise) positive reviews, though, Oro3030 reports being disappointed there.

Some hounds consider Xiomara to have the best Cuban sandwich in LA, but the prices are off-putting–if you’re used to paying $3, it’s hard to fork over $12. Still, it’s cheaper than air fare to Miami.

Few places are more authentic, or more humble, than La Caridad, says Kris P Pata. The husband-and-wife team are as genuine as the food they cook.

La Cubana Restaurant [East San Fernando Valley]
720 E. Colorado St., at Everett, Glendale
818-243-4398
Map

Havana Mania [South Bay]
3615 Inglewood Ave., at Manhattan Beach Blvd., Redondo Beach
310-725-9075
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Baracoa Cuban Cafe [Atwater Village]
3175 Glendale Blvd., at Edenhurst, Los Angeles
323-665-9590
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El Cochinito Restaurant [Silverlake]
3508 W. Sunset Blvd., at Golden Gate, Los Angeles
323-668-0737
Map

El Colmao [Koreatown]
2328 W. Pico Blvd., at Vermont, Los Angeles
213-386-6131
Map

Xiomara [Pasadena-ish]
69 N. Raymond Ave., at Union, Pasadena
626-796-2520
Map

Xiomara On Melrose [Hollywood]
6101 Melrose Ave., at Seward, Los Angeles
323-461-0601
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La Caridad Restaurant [Echo Park]
2137 W. Temple St., at Alvarado, Los Angeles
213-484-0099
Map

Board Links: REAL CUBAN FOOD