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Best cubano Manhattan

OK-besides Mrs. GG's left over pork loin //smithfield ham /jarlsberg combo on a ciabatta roll toasted and pressed which clearly rules-what's the best in Manhattan? My contenders are Sophies, the now defunct Spanish American aka cuchifritos, Margon, Havana Chelsea, Havana Central, el Castillo de Jagua and Cibao on Clinton. Cast your votes or write-ins. Thanks.

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  1. The cubano at the spotted pig is pretty darn good. Really great chunks of roast pork in it. I haven't really tried any of the more traditional places, but I thought I would throw that out there.

      1. re: KTinNYC

        Margon is great, but if you want to get super technical, it's not a traditional Cuban Sandwich. It has salami in it, which I believe is a Dominican thing. Delicious nonetheless!


      2. I really like Cafe Habana's.

        1. Have you been to Downtown Bakery on 1st Ave. near 4th st.? They have a great no frills version and it is pretty damn good. Cafe cito on ave.c does a good one too but I have not really had too many in this city.

          1. The best place is Milanes in Chelsea. It's such a hole in the wall but these people are the real deal.

            1. Cafecito without a doubt.

              1. I like Cafecito too. I've not been to Sucelt on 14th-looks promising.Anybody been recently?

                3 Replies
                1. re: guttergourmet

                  The bread at Sucelt is a deal breaker. Too doughy and not well toasted.

                  1. re: guttergourmet

                    cafecito's cubano is not good, it does not have real fresh cooked pernil on it and that is essential for a sandwich cubano. i have to say -as a cuban- that i do not like any of the ones that are mentioned here. for me the best cubano sandwich was on the bronx, on 161 and grand concourse but they closed a few months ago.

                    1. re: LRS

                      agreed. the service was really bad when i went too.

                  2. The cubano at 5 Ninth, while not traditional, is delicious.

                      1. for an unconventional cubano, i'd recommend (oddly enough) dinosaur barbeque. they use pulled pork, and it is quite good, if a bit non-traditional.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: adam

                          Agreed...they are delicious! esp with the chipotle bbq sauce

                        2. I thought Sophie's and Schiller's cubanos were pretty good till i had the cubano at Spotted Pig. Tender tender pieces of real pork, right amount of mustard, crusty bread and i didn't stop eating to see if it was those little french pickles or if they were spicy peppers in the sandwhich. DELCIOUS!

                          1. Mambi on 177th and Broadway makes a pretty mean Cubano. Nothing fancy, but real deal. And the price isn't bad at something like $3.50. I remember them being rated as the best in the city a while back by one of the publications that does a best of list but can't rememebr which one.

                            2 Replies
                              1. for a traditional cubano, El Castillo de Madison on Madison St/Rutgers, is pretty tasty. their pernil is fantastic and makes the sandwich. at $4.00, it's a pretty good deal as well.

                                1. jimmyjazz: AMEN! i grew up on their cubanos. get that and a bowl of mondongo (tripe soup) you have an amazing meal.

                                  1. ok....all you people that know about the best cubano sandwich have never mentioned the best kept secret in Manhattan ha!

                                    you are missing the deal of the century with THE best sandwich...138 st and B'way...that place has been there since the 60's and they make a kickass spanish coffee that could have you wallpapering at 2am. Take the 1 train and get off at 137st and cross the street and go to the little hole in the wall on the corner of 138th and broadway. I dare you!!!!

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: leandrolisa

                                      Margon...Just had lunch there today...A mid-town bargain at 5 dollars per; expertly grilled and very tasty. And the people who work there are remarkable...nice, caring and proud.

                                      1. re: leandrolisa

                                        Well, maybe not *that* well-kept a secret ( http://www.chow.com/digest/754 ). But how recently were you last there? NY magazine's listing says it's closed ( http://nymag.com/listings/restaurant/... ), and the phone is now disconnected.

                                        1. re: leandrolisa

                                          That place is called "La Flor de Broadway" and is totally amazing. It ruined me for cubanos at other places because they just can't compare. Get the "especial" and make sure you ask for garlic and pickles. It will blow you away.

                                          Oh man, I just read the above post about it being closed. What a bummer!

                                          1. re: vinegarhill

                                            It is now renamed "La Nueva Flor de Broadway" and has reopened at 3395 Broadway, between 137th and 138th Streets. Their cubano sandwiches are as good as ever!

                                            1. re: toddg

                                              Is La Flor really back??
                                              You made my day!
                                              Their cubano was the real deal, with pickles and garlic, grilled flat and concentrated, almost crunchy on the outside, meaty and gooey on the inside.
                                              I loved standing at the counter with a cup of their killer coffee!

                                        2. Nice to see this thread resurrected. My updates are Havana Chelsea RIP :( . But Spotted Pig, though untraditional, is truly fantastic.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: guttergourmet

                                            I just went way uptown on the rec of this board to try La Nueva Flor-
                                            I must be missing something- the Cubano i had was dry, on soggy, bad bread, and just generally tasted bad. I think it is the first time I have thrown out half of something that came highly recommended by chowhound....
                                            maybe I'm missing something?
                                            Hope to try Sophie's soon.

                                            1. re: jeffffposc

                                              sorry to hear that-I was planning a trip to try it myself. Anyone know whether it's gone downhill or just an off day?

                                              1. re: jeffffposc

                                                Ive had sofie's and i couldnt finish it...Awful.
                                                Cafe Habana is my favorite.
                                                The cubano app at Son Cubano is good, if you're really hungover...Greasy.

                                            2. I haven't been to any of the downtown spots, but I really like Floriditia in Washington heights (not related to the harlem restaraunt). It's not as fancy as some others, very light on the sauce, pillowy enriched Cuban bread pressed down, and really crispy tasty pickles. If you are in the neighborhood pick one up :)

                                              4162 Broadway, New York, NY 10033

                                              1. I'm still a big fan of Cafe Habana, which was only mentioned a couple times in this thread. Dependable if anything, and delicious. Gotta add my vote.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: dwagner6

                                                  I don't think Cafecito's version is that great, I walk a block over to Joselito on 9th and D . ... for $4 it is a very solid option (cafecito charges $10), the clientele there is very local (not that it should be an automatic pass, just may mean that there are limited options). I know recession is bumping up the price of many of the cheap eats, but i just can't stomach paying $10 or more for what could be a mediocre sandwich.