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best cuban food los angeles

foodie5 Sep 17, 2006 06:28 AM

does anyone know of a great cuban place?

  1. g
    goon Sep 17, 2006 06:42 AM

    Try Havana Cafe on Old River School Road in Downey. I love to go by every now and then. My favorites are the fried plantains and black beans and the desserts. Well everythings good to go. Mmmm. I'm getting hungry thinking about it.

    1. l
      lawrence Sep 17, 2006 07:21 AM

      i don't know about it being the "best", but versailles on venice blvd near motor ave is a west LA staple. skip the garlic chicken and go straight for #1, roast pork - meltingly tender roasted pork in a strong lemony garlic sauce with marinated raw onion rings, white rice, black beans and sweet, gooey plantains. their prices have slowy risen a couple dollars in the past decade, but the portion size is huge and you're appetite will be quite satisfied. however, your date or SO might avoid you for the rest of the nite ;)

      they also make a good arroz con pollo and rabo encendido (oxtail stew - not as big a portion though). and if you like things spicy, there's always a full bottle of tapatio hot sauce on every table.


      1 Reply
      1. re: lawrence
        Das Ubergeek Sep 17, 2006 02:41 PM

        Eh, I'm just OK on Versailles. The only one that's good is on Venice and Motor, and even then it's not wonderful.

        I'm going to suggest El Criollo on Victory and Fulton in Van Nuys... the creamiest moros, the best ropa vieja, and great fish.

      2. TheDexter Sep 18, 2006 10:56 AM

        I thought Versailles was fun and tasty. Usually drop in on the La Cienega/Robertson area location.

        1. n
          Newkie Sep 19, 2006 06:33 PM

          I agree that Versailles is awesome. Not sure about the rest of the menu, but the garlic chicken and roast pork are unbelievable.

          1. f
            f_diva Sep 19, 2006 06:36 PM

            El Rincon Criollo is HANDS DOWN better than Versailles, and the service is so great. Basically Sepulveda/Culver.

            4361 Sepulveda Blvd
            Culver City, CA 90230-4715

            1 Reply
            1. re: f_diva
              jessiebelle Sep 19, 2006 07:13 PM

              i've been going here since i was a little girl. so glad to hear someone also loves it. although cuban roast pork is all i really know well here. but it is sooooooo good.

            2. c
              cincodemayo1 Sep 19, 2006 11:52 PM

              ANYTHING is better than Versailles when compared to real cuban food (take a trip to Miami, eat some cuban food, then report back and tell me how you like Versailles).

              That said, I have yet to try a really good (meaning authentic) cuban place out here. Not a fan of Versailles. But if you're just looking for breakfast or lunch, head to Porto's in Burbank or Glendale. Always crowded, but worth the wait.

              I once asked for a cafe con leche at Versailles, and they made it with Maxwell House coffee and served it black! So wrong...

              1 Reply
              1. re: cincodemayo1
                young_chower Sep 20, 2006 01:30 AM

                Try El Cochinito in Silver Lake. I hear it's the real deal.

              2. c
                Chow Bella Sep 19, 2006 11:56 PM

                Guantanamera in Burbank. El Criollo in North Hollywood. Never Versailles. Ever.

                1. e
                  Ernie Sep 20, 2006 02:48 AM

                  La Cubana in Glendale. Been there since the early 70s and for good reason. Limited days and hours but you got to try their lechon. Its tasty and not greasy/dirty like Versailles.

                  1. m
                    miamicuban Jan 15, 2007 04:01 PM

                    Uh unfortunately El Cochinito is little more than a hole in the wall poor service and poor food quality, It is unfortunate that many people use this restaurant to compare other cuban restaurants to. I would not recommend

                    1. Chowpatty Jan 15, 2007 04:13 PM

                      OK, now that Miamicuban has posted three times saying places he or she DOESN'T like, is there any place that passes muster for you? What about the new place on Pico?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Chowpatty
                        miamicuban Jan 15, 2007 04:26 PM

                        Unfortunately chowpatty just went there on friday as far as service goes it was horrible and I made reservations. I tend to base my experiences on 1. Service 2. Food quality , I would not reccomend La Bodeguita de Pico based on Service, but based on food flavor yes one of the few places that the food actually tastes good, unfortunately the bad service outweighed the overall experience, go and be ignored half the night my reservation was at 8:30 I was seated promptly and just left there, until we were recognized at 9:05 pm when they brought finally brought cold bread and butter, this is not a exageration when you see the owner just walking around staring into the dining area and not helping out that just upset me further, The satff was just overwhelmed , believe me I have heard good things about this place and frankly the poor service just turned me off.

                      2. m
                        miamicuban Jan 15, 2007 04:33 PM

                        And to kind of answer your question what cuban place can pass the muster Havana mania is decent, versailles is ok , El floridita is good, mayumba is ok , frankly there is really no cuban place that just stands out here in L.A. , When I open my own restaurant I hope I can change that.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: miamicuban
                          Ernie Jan 15, 2007 04:59 PM

                          Have you been to La Cubana in Glendale yet? Much much better than places like Versailles

                        2. Das Ubergeek Jan 15, 2007 05:08 PM

                          As I said earlier, El Criollo on Van Nuys and Fulton is very good, as is Guantanamera in Burbank (I know, a decent restaurant in Burbank, can you believe it?)

                          Service at both places is definitely "on Cuban time".

                          Versailles...meh. And that disgrace of a Versailles in the food court at Citywalk ought to be forced to put big signs in the window "DON'T EAT HERE, IT'S COLD AND DISGUSTING".

                          1. t
                            TravelPath Jan 15, 2007 07:28 PM

                            How about Cuban in OC...I have been to Felix's on Orange Circle a number of times...it is inconsistant at best...but good black beans!

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