Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >
Jul 18, 2007 12:41 PM

Looking for the best cuban sandwich

I love Cuban Sandwiches and I had a really bad one this past weekend. I took some chowhound advice and wound up at Buffs pub for wings (ehh) and also ordered a Cuban Sandwich. It was maybe one of the worst sandwiches I have ever been served. It was very dry and the bread looked old and tasted old. The meats were nothing like what I have had in other Cuban Sandwiches. Believe it or not I did have a good one in Fenway Parlk at Louis Tients place. I am looking for one that really does have th roast pork and lots of pickles and mustard. Buttery and pressed. Does anyone have a favorite place that they get them at? Thanks.

Ps. Even though I did not like Buffs Pub I did have a nice waitress who gave great service and was friendly and efficient.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    1. re: Bostonbob3

      El Oriental de Cuba - hands down.

      There, I've thrown down the gauntlet.

      1. re: Bob Dobalina

        I like the Cubano there. I really do. Just not as much as the Chez Henri version.

        1. re: Bob Dobalina

          Conversely Bb3, I'm siding with BD. El Oriental's Cubano is the best and most authentic in town. I also like Chez Henri's non-trad, a lot, but if I've gotta choose gimme El Oriental de Cuba's.

          1. re: Harp00n

            Fair enough. But you're wrong.

            (That's a joke, BTW.)

            1. re: Bostonbob3

              Chortle, chortle! You got a million of them, Bob! ;-b

              Another place that has good Cubanos is Pollo Tipico in Lawrence. They use pork that seems to almost have the consistency of brisket. Very delicious!

        2. re: Bostonbob3

          Chez Henri, PLEASE! El Oriental de Cuba HAS OLD CUBAN WOMEN COOKING, ITS THE BEST

          1. re: I can eat

            My belief is that they're so radically different, they're not really comparable. The Chez Henri Cubano, while may not be cien por cien autentico like El Oriental, it's pretty goddamn amazing. And isn't that the crux of Chowhound - maximizing deliciousness.

            1. re: I can eat

              Having to choose between the two, I'll take EOdC but Chez Henri's is still a damn fine sandwich by any measure. BTW, why are you SHOUTING???


          2. I'd have to go with Chez Henr, tooi. Can't think of any other that approaches the greatness of their sandwich...

            1. Izzy's in Cambridge, which specializes in Puerto Rican fare, makes a mean Cuban sub - great meats, lots of pickles, slathered in mustard.

              15 Replies
              1. re: Bob MacAdoo

                Can you (or itaunus) talk more about Izzy's? Stumbled across it last night on a haphazard trip from Central to Inman and wondered what's good there.

                1. re: gini

                  Izzy's is a combination sub shop and Puerto Rican restaurant that dates back to roughly the early 80s. Usually you will be served by Izzy or his wife, but they didn't manage to get their kids to remain with the shop. I tend to order off the 6-7 fixed daily plates that rotate through the week, trying my best to time visits around the pernil (Fridays and Saturdays). Which is falling apart pork shoulder, slightly spicy and with a achiote tint, which I get with yellow rice (with some pigeon peas). I have had the goat, the ropa vieja, and the oxtail. The Montanero plate is also good for two, but I still stick to the specials. For whatever reason haven't had the mondongo there. Other things to order would be a side of tostones, yuca al mojo... some of the stuff in the fried case is decent, but hasn't wowed me (sometimes fresher than others, but usually not too stale).

                  I would eat lunch there every week if there was metered parking nearby. Also they usually take a summer vacation of up to a month, so check they are open before making a trip. No booze, but I think they do take credit.

                  1. re: itaunas

                    Thank you, that sounds fabulous. Sounds like dinner next week!

                    1. re: gini

                      Puerto Rican food tends to be a bit greasy by some standards and Izzy's is not exempt, but is far from the most greasy I have had. (Hint I have seen the white goya manteca food service containers around there.) I also think they use some premixed spices for seasoning a fair amount of the dishes, so someone allergic to MSG might have a bit of trouble there.

                      The neighborhood around there has improved since Izzy opened, but it doesn't hurt to be careful at night. In the past you might have had people drinking 40s on the sidewalk just across the street, but there are still areas (the basketball court further up the street) where that might still go on.

                    2. re: itaunas

                      Itaunas, what is the Montanero plate? Can you park on the street near Izzy's? What else would you recommend at Izzy's?

                      1. re: buffet king

                        Montanero (roughly "country platter") is their combo plate with rice and beans, beef and pork, fried plantains, and maybe a salad.

                        Parking is the problem right at Izzys. Both Harvard and Windsor at that location are permit parking. There is non-permit parking near the convenience store at Mass Ave and Windsor, around the Church at Harvard and Prospect, around Broadway (closer to Prospect where the squirrel nut factory used to be) and Windsor, and on Portland St (there is also parking right around the garment district and the basketball courts behind).

                        So you will either need to walk in or take your risk with permit parking. (Cambridge doesn't have 8pm meters yet, nor are they as aggressive at night as Somerville, so you might be ok in the 7:30-9pm timeframe. There are some spots that turn permit at 6pm, so they do sweep through the area sometime after 6pm and I have been caught before then.)

                        1. re: itaunas

                          Is the beef and pork grilled or fried in the Montanero? How about daytime parking for lunch. I want to pickup some takeout for lunch. Is there a metered parking lot close by? Thanks for the information.

                          1. re: buffet king

                            Fried, probably on the griddle. They do have a milanese (breaded fried state) combo plate, so they might sub that for you if you ask nicely. But consider the daily plates too (carne guisado, stewed goat, ropa vieja, roast pork, etc)

                            No metered lot nearby, there are a couple of spots right by Mass Ave (near Royal East). Last time I was there they were redoing the curb out front, but there wasn't any indication that there would be a drop off area.

                            If you are looking for a charbroiled steak, Tropico (salvadoran) on Cambridge St has a decent carne asada taco (and nice chicken legs).

                        2. re: buffet king

                          late but i second the pernil, goat, and oxtail

                        3. re: itaunas

                          I took a test drive to Izzy's in Cambridge. It was easy to find. Izzy's is closed for vacation. I went to J&J Restaurant in Somerville for some takeout. I got a beef prego sandwich ($3) and an order of pork and clams ($10.95). The beef prego sandwich was okay but a little dry. The pork and clams were very good. Nice marinated pork cubes, diced fried potatoes and littleneck clams in a very tasty broth.

                          1. re: buffet king

                            Yeah, I warned Gini to call ahead earlier in the thread. I think the Snack Bar also goes on vacation soon.

                            One thing you might consider at J&J (that hounds seem to miss) is they have Molotov, one of the two local Portuguese restaurants that carry it (Sunset is the other). I'm not going to describe it to leave a little suspense, but it is unique (hint many portuguese sweets are yolk-heavy, so this is different).

                        4. re: gini

                          I really liked the octopus salad there! Special only, I believe...

                        5. I went to Izzy's today to get some food for lunch. I got a large roast pork sub ($4.95) with mustard, pickles, salami and ham. I asked if it was like a Cuban sandwich and the man at the counter said yes. I have never had a Cuban sandwich or a roast pork sandwich before. The roast pork was juicy, flavorful and not dried out. The sub was delicious. The pickles and mustard made the sub taste so much better. I also tried a beef turnover and a chicken & cheese turnover. Both were homemade according to the guy at Izzy's. I liked the beef turnover better than the chicken one. I also picked up some food for dinner. I got the Montanero plate with yellow rice and pigeon peas, fried plantains and a salad. I will have that for dinner. Note: parking is a problem at Izzy's. All of the side streets near Izzy's are permit parking only. There are some parking meters on Broadway near the Garment District store. I parked in a metered space on Broadway and walked to Izzy's. I will definately return to Izzy's in Cambridge.

                          1. re: buffet king

                            Traditional Cubans don't have salami on them, but I understand that the ones at Montrose sometimes contain mortadella (per an old thread here).

                            1. re: Dax

                              I'm pretty sure there was salami in the roast pork sub. Definately there were ham on the bottom of the sub. It was close to a Cuban sandwich. However, it wasn't grilled like a Cuban sandwich. Also I think a Cuban sandwich has swiss cheese. There wasn't any swiss cheese in the sub but it was very tasty. You can't go wrong for almost 5 bucks it was a nice packed sub. It was very filling and packed with pickles on top. Cudos, to Izzy's!

                        6. I know it is not in Boston but if you ever go south and cross the water to Martha's Vineyard, Humphreys has amazing Cubans. Just as you describe. Keep it in mind for a day trip some day- and they are open year round in their Vineyard Haven location.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: mvi

                            humphreys also has the best donuts (and holes)!

                          2. If you can't get a seat at the bar at Chez Henri, continue up Mass Ave to Arlington and give the Cubano at Tryst a try. Its not 100% traditional, but worth it. Less than the Chez Henri too. I like their bar, apps, and sandwiches, but have always avoided the dining room.

                            Absolutely worth the visit to Izzys for their roast pork, but have never had their cuban sub myself. And if you are doing a Cubano tour, make sure to visit El Oriental de Cuba.

                            Updated: Link to Tryst review