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Cuban Restaurants in North Carolina...?

Does anyone know of a good Cuban place in NC?

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  1. Carmen's, off Airport Blvd on the access road at the outlet mall in Morrisville, 100 yards off I-40, RDU Exit. See http://www.carmenscubancafe.com/

    1. There's also Havana Jax on Capcom Blvd. in Wake Forest. I can't say I can really recommend either, though. Some of the best cafe cubano I've had is made by the owner of the printing shop I use.

      1. yeah, i'd have to agree. any cuban restaurant that can't do a cubano sandwich properly probably isn't worth a visit. carmen's certainly fits that bill, unfortunately.

        4 Replies
        1. re: HeelsSoxHound

          Count me as another who isn't thrilled with Carmen's. I learned this food in NYC where there are literally hundreds of places that make to-die-for chicharonnes de pollo, fried pork chop, Cubano sandwiches, etc. Carmen's falls far short. I've just learned to make these dishes for myself.

          1. re: Tom M of Durham NC

            For me, half of the cubano's charm is in the bread, which is non-existent in the Triangle as far as I know. Having said that, using NC-style pulled pork can actually make a pretty darn good cubano I've learned.

            Carmen's is okay, not great. If you've got a hankering, that's where you go (or havanna jax) since there seems to only be about 2 options in the area.

            1. re: Nab

              Is Carmen's the place in a small strip across from a larger mall? If it's the place I'm thinking about, half is a bar/dance floor and the other is a dining room. It's been a while, but I did have good ceviche and cocktails at what I think is Carmen's.

              1. re: veganhater

                We had a good meal at Carmen's. Maybe it was that we didn't order the sandwich Cubano....the flan was to die for...mine is good, but what we had there was better

        2. Taste of Havana in Charlotte is OK.

          A few years ago, there was a place in Charlotte I liked a lot better but it is long gone and I cannot remember its name.

          4 Replies
          1. re: brentk

            I like Taste of Havana, but avoid it on weekends. The live music was more annoying than enjoyable as it was too loud.

            1. re: brentk

              Carlo's Cafe in Rock Hill was good, but sadly is no more.

              I remember a place called La Gran Havana in Charlotte. Again, it also closed.

              I liked the media noche at A Piece of Havana. And I thought there empanadas were good also. Here's a link to their website: http://www.apieceofhavana.com/

              1. re: lynnlato

                Carlos Cafe in Rock Hill is open. It was bought by a Cuban woman named Flor and her Italian husband Joe. Unfortunately, we haven't had a chance to try it yet

                1. re: lynnlato

                  Carlos Cafe in Rock Hill is open under new management. A Cuban woman from Pinar del Rio (Flor) and her Italian husband Joe bought it. We haven't had a chance to try it yet.

              2. Bolero Cafe is on Market Street in Wilmington. Never been, but it looks good and gets great reviews.

                2 Replies
                1. re: joshuahmel

                  Bolero Cafe is excellent. Great food and decent, cheap mojitos.

                  1. If you are up in Richmond, Try Havana 59-- HAS the BEST cuban sandwich..almost as good as something I had in Miami...
                    Great restaurant in Shockoe Bottom section of Richmond.

                    1. There's one opening on E. Franklin St in Chapel Hill near Elliott rd.

                      1. there is a new cuban restaurat that just opened, it is called "A Piece of Havana" in Charlotte. I went there and it is very good. It is located in South Tryon and Moss Road, the owners are cuban they moved from south FL

                        1. Havana Restaurant in Asheville is very good. We've been there on two trips to Asheville.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: boaviagem

                            I was just about to suggest Havana. Good food.

                            1. re: Leepa

                              They just revamped the wine list. Major upgarde in that area.

                          2. There's a great one in Salisbury, NC - of all places! I was there for work a few weeks ago - and found out about it online - it was great!
                            Mambo Grill
                            Address: 235 Faith Road, Salisbury, NC 28147
                            Phone: 7046370191|
                            Description: Mambo Grill is tucked into the strip beside Food Lion on Faith Road off of Exit 76 in Salisbury, NC. This small family friendly spot serves Cuban food. Serving lunch & dinner- with beef, chicken & pork dishes with rice, beans & fried plantains that are all excellent. Serving breakfast as well, with the best coffee available in Salisbury- its called a Colada.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: amybsloane

                              <the best coffee available in Salisbury- its called a Colada.>

                              Do you mean a "cortado?" That's how it's generally referred to in Cuba. And, as far as I'm concerned, it's a tough decision which is a better use of coffee - the Cuban cortado or Vietnamese cafe sua da. Both are wicked awesome.