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Cuban food in phoenix

Ok... so I know Havana Cafe, and of course i love it. I'm looking for something simpler. A place to grab a sandwich and go. Are there any other Cuban places in the valley.

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  1. Me too -- it's high on my food wish list, and so far I have not found anything. I once had the address of a possible cafe in Mesa, but never got there and I've lost that lead. (We have eaten at two of the three Havana locations and haven't been very impressed.) What I want is a tiny, one-room cafe that serves black beans and rice, sweet plantains, yucca, and if I got really, really lucky, oxtail stew or roasted garlic-lemon chicken . . .

    Sarah C

    1 Reply
    1. re: kittyfood

      If you don't mind the drive, I adore a restaurant called El Cubanito in Tucson- 1150 E. 6th St, Tucson az 85719 520-623-8020. They have everything you asked for, with the exception that the oxtail stew is more of an occasional special. Although the owner is so accommodating that he'd probably head out, buy the ingredients and then make it for you. I love the paella he makes too.

    2. Found this listing at Google Maps. It sounds more like a grocery than a restaurant, but who knows? I've never been to this place and cannot attest to its quality:

      My Cuban Market
      4836 N 59th Ave, Phoenix, AZ
      (623) 873-0505

      2 Replies
      1. re: silverbear

        That is on out side of town so I will follow up -- thanks for the clue. If it really is a Cuban market, they will know if there are any Cuban cafes. (I just called the number and got a message saying that the voice mail box hadn't been set up yet so at least it didn't say it is disconnected.)

        Sarah C

        1. re: silverbear

          My Cuban Market is closed. Their phone number is now a personal home phone #.

        2. Okay, I went to My Cuban Market this afternoon. I asked the proprietress about Cuban restaurants in the Phoenix area, and she conferred in Spanish with the two men sitting at the only table. They all agreed that there is one somewhere in Mesa, owned by an ex-professional baseball player, but nobody knew where it is. Otherwise, their only suggestion was Havana, but they concurred with me that it is "not the same thing."

          My Cuban Market does make Cuban sandwiches, and the owner said she may open a Cuban cafe next door within the next few months, so I will try to keep an eye out for that. Meanwhile, Mesa residents -- any clues?

          Sarah C

          2 Replies
          1. re: kittyfood

            I did some searching and the only thing in Mesa I could come up with is "K-Rico / La Dama del Flan" (The Flan Lady).

            The website is www.theflanlady.com. Looks like more general Carribean than Cuban, but they do feature Cuban sandwiches (or so their website says).

            1. re: Seth Chadwick

              I love good flan, and the guava pastries sound interesting, so if I find myself in that area I would try it. Thanks, and let's all keep looking. There must be a Cuban cafe somewhere in this city!

              Sarah C

          2. I don't think there are any Cuban cafes yet..Cuban musicians yes - Cuban cafes no.

            I had a friend who was Cuban and another who are Puerto Rican and I asked both of them..There answer was no...

            1 Reply
            1. re: Minx

              Well tell them to start one.

            2. There is a Puerto Rican bakery and restaurant in Mesa on Main St. in the location of the former RB Rib House that makes sandwiches and such similar to what you would find in a Cuban restaurant.

              2 Replies
              1. re: dcooke

                The place on Main St. you speak of is K-Rico, mentioned above. Their website is www.theflanlady.com.

                I had lunch there a month or two ago--it's rather small (just a few tables inside). The gentleman who seemed to be the proprietor was very nice and appreciated our questions and our interest in his offerings.

                I had a Cuban sandwich, which I thought was good, but I'm no expert in this realm. We also had the flan, which we thought was very good - apparently they supply flan to a number of restaurants around the Valley, who then claim it as their own.

                Finally, we were given the opportunity to sample a quesito (sweetened cream cheese inside puff pastry). Nice!

                Haven't been back since then, but it's on my list of places to visit again.

                1. re: Davey J

                  That looks like just what I've been looking for... but after gas I think I'll be spending as much as at havana cafe.

              2. Hello chowhounds .. my first post ... it's tough being Cuban in Phoenix with such little choices ... and no places like Sarah says ... but I go to My Cuban Market regularly, combining the trip with the close by Ranch Market.
                Pedro, the owner, makes a mean Cuban sandwich, and also offers croquetas and empanadas ( beef ) and fabulous Cuban pastries such as pastelitos de guayava - absolutely sublime - and even bakes his own Cuban bread - just go early in the day.
                HE IS opening a Cuban restaurant - like the small one room place with good home style cuban cuisine and take out, and it should be open in about 2 months. In the meantime, it's a great place to buy some Cuban food to go, as well as frozen specialties he gets direct from Miami. He is on the corner of 59th Ave and Camelback on the southwest side. Go enjoy his pastelitos and Cuban sandwich - and tell him " el gordo" sent you.

                1 Reply
                1. re: havanaone

                  Thanks for much for this tip! I grew up in south Florida, and I miss the food from there. I have been making Cuban sandwiches at home, but it's not the same without that bread.

                  I am so going to check out the west side location!

                2. I visited My Cuban Market this afternoon. I grabbed a sandwich and was very pleased. I would have preferred a bit more mustard, but the sandwich was juicy and the bread was just fantastic. It was on a round roll, which i'm not used to, but definitely better than the bland rolls at Havana, and half the price.

                  1. I just spotted a new place today. Yami Bakery Cuban and Mexican Restaurant in the strip mall on the southeast corner of Signal Butte and Apache Trail in east Mesa. They have a grand opening sign up. Too bad we'd already had lunch. We'll probably get out to try it in a week or so.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Doug in Mesa

                      Please report back! We will definitely make the trek over there to try it if it sounds worthy. We did recently visit K Rico on a Saturday. He makes a hot lunch special every week, and we've been getting a weekly email announcing the specials.

                      Coincidentally, I went to a new dentist the other day, and the technician who took my x-rays mentioned that he is Cuban. I asked him if he knows of any Cuban cafes in the area, and he gave me the usual answer that there aren't any. (He said he'd taken his wife to Havana once, paid around $75 for dinner, and told his wife he should have cooked at home.) But he has worked as a chef in Cuba, and said he is hoping to open his own place in about a year. He's working on a business plan and doing a demographic study, and he wants to make it a sort of Cuban fast food place with Cuban sandwiches and hot food too. So maybe there is hope, with this guy as well as the My Cuban Market guy planning to open something.

                    2. Sabor Cubano on 20th st and camelback is really good. it's home cooking buffet that's reasonably priced and has take-out as well. Place is not real nice, but food is great- just like grandma cooks.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: astienstra

                        I will try it out and thanks for the information.

                        www.babalooscubancafe.com

                        1. re: astienstra

                          20th Street or 20th Avenue??

                          1. re: JerryMe

                            avenue

                            -----
                            Sabor Cubano Buffet
                            2030 W Camelback Road, Phoenix, AZ

                        2. Hi Everybody!! Yes, there are two new Cuban restaurants in Chandler. "Mimita's Cuban Cafe" at 1950 N Arizona Ave. SW corner of Arizona Ave. and Warner Rd. in Chandler. Behind Dominoes Pizza. They've been opened a couple of months and just had a very nice review in the 9/16 newspaper. The food is excellent and authentic. Large portions with good value. I'm Cuban and my family has owned and operated a Cuban restaurant for over 30 years in Jersey, so I know good Cuban food. Here is my opinion on the Cuban restaurants around the valley. The other Cuban restaurant is "Punto Cubano" at 2160 N Alma School Rd. #116. The owners were just FUN people! He played the guitar and sang songs, a couple of customers joined in and the "back home atmosphere" was great. The food however, was not very good. The choices were very limited, too. Moving on to "Babaloos" very expensive, small portions,(my veryl thin husband had to stop at a fast food place afterwards) The food was some fancy "Chef" trying to do his own version of Cuban cooking. It was tasty, but not authentic Cuban, I guess a cross between Jamaican, Haitian & Cuban. "Sabor Cubano" at 2030 W Camelback Rd. Phoenix. Offers a buffet. The food was authentic, with good value. On weekends they have "Ajiaco" which was excellent! The small restaurant gets very crowded during peak hours. Next is "Havana Cafe" once upon a time they were the only ones, so I had to go there. NO MORE! "Mimitas" & "Sabor Cubano" are much ,much better!

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: Jellybn

                            Since this thread has been bumped, I should mention that Sabor Cubano is no longer a buffet. The owners told me their steam table broke and they decided to convert to full service rather than repair or replace it.

                            Since the move to full service, I'd say the food is better, but the service varies -- always polite, but sometimes overwhelmed and slow. They may not have staffed up to the level necessary for full service. Go when you have time to spare, and it's worthwhile, though.

                            1. re: silverbear

                              good to know...thanks.

                            2. re: Jellybn

                              I work right near Mimita's and I love a killer cuban sando. Thx for info. I'm going to try it today. Any rec's?

                              1. re: danieli10

                                I tried Mimita's for dinner and my parents have been for dinner as well. I ordered the 3-appetizer combination with the Tamal Cubano (moist, fluffy, and delicious), the Croquetas de Jamon (salty and meaty), and the Empanadas de Carne (much larger than I was expecting, and not at all greasy). I opened with the Potaje de Garbanzos and I'm very glad I did - It was unbelievably good. I was completely stuffed and very satisfied.

                                My folks got actual entrees - the Ropa Vieja, which was a big pile of flavorful shredded meat, and the Picadillo Criollo, which my dad thought was the best he'd ever tasted. Substantial portions and delicious food.

                                I'm posting this in hopes of driving some more business their way - last time I visited, it was pretty dead at dinnertime. I hope they might have more lunch business, but it's too far away from where I work. So go, Chowhounders, and support a little local restaurant. I want to eat there again!

                                1. re: Inertia

                                  trying to add a place link (and failing). will try again...

                                  1. re: Inertia

                                    let's see if this works... Mimita's Cuban Cafe

                                    -----
                                    Mimita's Cuban Cafe
                                    1950 N Arizona Ave, Chandler, AZ 85225

                                2. re: Jellybn

                                  Punto Cubano is closed at the Alma School location. I don't know if they moved or just closed. I agree with Jellybn's review of them- they were nice folks (the night I went they were hosting family but technically closed and still made me a sandwich and gave me free sample pastries) but the food was not outstanding.

                                  I will have to give Mimita's a try.

                                3. I tried Mimita's for lunch today and it was ok at best. I had the #25, which is a pretty basic cuban sandwich. The bread didn't taste too fresh and I think they overcooked the sandwich in the press and the pork inside too. I don't think I'd go back. I've had better sandwiches of this style elsewhere. They were a little unorganized too. Not real friendly either. Maybe they didn't have their game faces on yet.

                                  1. Seeing that this thread has come back to life again, here's one update: Sabor Cubano, mentioned above, has gone out of business.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: exit2lef

                                      Mimita's, discussed above, is pretty good, and as far as I know still in business.