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Cuban Restaurant Recommendation

My husband and I are headed to Ft.Lauderdale in a couple of weeks and we want to check out some Cuban food. Nothing too fancy, nor a hole in the wall either. Any ideas?

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  1. Where are you going to be staying? If you're in a neighboring town or in the suburbs, the answers would likely be different.

    I'd definitely go to [Mario's] Catalina, on Federal Hwy. midway between Sunrise and Oakland Park Blvds. It's on the fancy side, white tablecloths, etc., but it's good and by no means haute-Cuban, similar in target to Miami's Las Culebrinas. Not really a place to go for a Cuban sandwich or a snack, though you might(?) be able to do that for lunch; dinner entrees in the teens and into the $20s, no lunch specials on weekends.

    For the basics: Closest to the beach is Las Vegas, one of several locations, on Oakland Park Blvd. at Bayview. It's not fancy, nor a hole in the wall. Adequate if you're close by, but that's about it.

    For a sandwich and a batido de trigo in a hole-in-the-wall, the Tropical in the Sears Town plaza at the western bend of Sunrise and US1 is pretty good. I haven't been blown away by any of the entrees I've tried, though; Audy's Place on SW 4th Ave. around SW 6th St. near downtown is a bit cheerier and also good for same.

    For a trip to the 1970s -- and Ft. Lauderdale's old Cuban neighborhood, such as it is -- there's Don Arturo on SW 27th Av. (Riverland Rd.) just north of Davie Blvd. Good food, dated exposed brick and dark wood decor. For more time travel nearby in the Riverland Shopping Center, Yarly's Bakery has good, old-fashioned Cuban pastries for about $1 apiece. Skip Cafeteria Santa Barbara. It's the blandest Cuban food around, and Cuban isn't exactly racy stuff.

    Also skip Vila's and other locations of Las Vegas. You can do better.

    4 Replies
    1. re: hatless

      When I'm in Boca/Delray I go to Padrino's out by SR7 or The Cuban Cafe. I know Padrino's has a few locations,including one in the Ft. Lauderdale area,what do you think of them? Is one better then the others?

      1. re: stuartlafonda

        I liked Padrino's when I last went to one two years ago. I find it to be a bit too tuned to American tastes, but yeah, it would be on my list of recs for someone who's close to one. I forgot that they recently opened one on Oakland Park near Dixie Hwy.. until then the closest one to the Ft. Lauderdale beaches was in Plantation (a pleasant-enough suburb that no vacationer ever need visit).

        Not my first choice, but yeah, I'd say a better overall bet than Las Vegas for midpriced Cuban.

        1. re: hatless

          One more request,if you please, where would you go for a lechon sandwich, tostones and batida in the area from Ft.Lauderdale to Delray?

      2. re: hatless

        I've been told that there are 2 Catalinas... one close to the beach on 33rd, and then another one. Is this correct?

      3. 1st time in Florida... so nothing to compare it to! my readings have been leading me to Padrino's... I had amazing Cuban food when I went to NYC a few years ago so I must have it again.

        We're staying right at the beach - taking a gamble by staying at the Tropi Rock, and we're not renting a car, but would be willing to take a cab one day to venture out for some good food if we need to...

        1 Reply
        1. re: foodie in seattle

          Forgot to tell you. If you want an authentic Cuban breakfast, go to Miramar bakery (I think that's what it's called) on SR 441. It's closer to Ft. Lauderdale just north of Hollywood Blvd. on the east side of the road. It's a dive so it's really easy to miss. The sign just says 'Bakery'. Get cuban coffees, a loaf of cuban bread and whatever else looks yummy in the case that morning. I now live in Kansas City and I dream about that place. :-)

        2. My mom has a house in Hollywood so we head down there a couple times/year and I always go to Padrino's. It's one of my favorites and is usually pretty lively (expect the waitresses to yell at one another). Head south on I-95 and get off at Hallandale Beach Blvd. Go east and I think once you get over the bridge it's on the right (better double-check directions). About 25 min. from Ft. Lauderdale with moderate traffic.

          1 Reply
          1. re: pmannon

            From most of Ft. Lauderdale, the E. Oakland Park Blvd. location will be closer than Hallandale. There are ones in Boca and Plantation, too.

          2. We'll be spending two nights in Hollywood this December. I haven't had Cuban food in so long it is on my list for dining experiences. We'll be staying at a small place on the boardwalk. I've read several recommendations for Padrino's. Is that the place to go if we don't want to venture outside of Hollywood? (We are going to Hollywood after several days in Orlando, so I'd really prefer to avoid driving that much unless necessary -- I just want to relax by the beach.)

            2 Replies
            1. re: Scotch

              I like it, but I have read other reviews that weren't so great. I haven't been to the one in Ft. Lauderdale. I think if you're on the boardwalk and you go South on A1A to Hallandale Blvd. then go right it's just on the left side. It's been awhile so you'd better call just in case. I'm going over Christmas break! I can't wait!

              1. re: Scotch

                Hollywood and Hallandale are nextdoor neighbors. It's not 15 minutes by car from the Broadwalk (it's not wood) to Padrino's in Hallandale. I add my recomendation for Padrinos. The Lechon Asado (Roast Pork) is excellent!
                ALSO be sure you have the Flan (caramel custard)for dessert!!! Yum!!!!

              2. Los Colinas on Andrews in Ftlauderdale is my favorite. It's the cuban diner tony montana worked at when he got off the boat right down to the dishwashers in the back and the hot sandwich presses up front. this place is authentic! They also serve a killer breakfeast.

                1. GO LOCO and come to South Beach...

                  Lario's on the Beach owned by the Estefans right on Ocean Drive & 8th St. Great Cuban food and awesome people watching. Definately worth the 1/2 hour trek...

                  1. Mario's, definitely. Try the Sangria, and see if you can guess the secret ingredient.