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Nov 25, 2008 01:35 PM

Porto's tarts @ Tropi-Cuba Cafe (Torrance)?

I know we're not supposed to spread unconfirmed rumors on this forum, but I think I found Porto's Bakery tarts (guava, guava & cheese, coconut) in the South Bay.

They look and taste just like Porto's Bakery product. Tropi-Cuba has a small kitchen, and from the front of the house, I didn't see the sort of pastry kitchen needed to make a full range of pastries from scratch. So I think they're buying parbaked tarts from Porto's wholesale factory. I'll ask the Tropi Cuba management to confirm next time I'm there.

This place is more than a bakery / cafe. It's been open about a month and a half, and they have a full lunch & dinner menu of Cuban food. Nice looking room in a strip mall across from Harbor UCLA Medical Center. I haven't tried the food yet, but I was so excited to have Porto's tarts without the traffic-laden hump to Glendale that I had to come blab about it here

Tropi-Cuba Cafe
21730 S. Vermont Ave.
Torrance, CA 90502

Tropi Cuba Cafe
21730 S Vermont Ave, Torrance, CA 90502

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  1. It's confirmed. Tropi-Cuba buys some of their pastries from Porto's in a parbaked state, then finishes them in the store. I had some of the guava-cheese tarts still warm, and they're so good I just want to whimper like a puppy and piddle.

    They also have serve some other Portoesque items like the potato balls. I think this is Tropi Cuba's house-made version because somehow the meat filling seems a little different than Porto's. All the same, it's good.

    The restaurant in back only serves an all you can eat $12 buffet at lunch. The arroz con pollo is terrific, and so are the four soups they serve every day. Some of the other buffet stuff is good, others not so much. Given the amount of choices, you'll probably find something you'll like.

    If you don't want such a huge lunch, the cafe in front of the restaurant sells sandwiches for $6 or so. I went with another friend, and we split a Cubanito and a lechon. The shredded bits of pork (lechon) was flavored well, if a touch on the over-roasted side. While there are some nits to pick, the sandwiches were good. Seeing how this is across the street from my office, I plan on making Tropi Cuba Cafe a regular stop.

    1. wow.
      i am so excited about this.
      the south bay never really had any good cuban places.
      i love porto's and wished that it was closer.
      thanks for the rec!

      1. Thanks for the tip!

        Used to work in Glendale and went to Portos all the time. Will be good to have another place to check out in the area.

        1. Reviving this old thread about Tropi Cuba. Just went there for lunch; didn't realize it was buffet for lunch. Not a buffet fan, but rather enjoyed the arroz con pollo (rice and chicken, Cuban style) and the roast pig. The flan was nice for dessert. The service was very friendly and helpful.

          The bakery next door was fantastic, from good empanadas to great pastels. So light and crispy. The queso pastel was just great.

          Just a few miles from my work, it's a treat having something this good so close by. If you're in the Carson area, another nice place for lunch, though I would if they didn't do buffet.

          Tropi Cuba Cafe
          21730 S Vermont Ave, Torrance, CA 90502

          4 Replies
          1. re: Ogawak

            Glad you liked it. Buffet isn't the only option, even if you're sitting in the back part of the restaurant. You can also order sandwiches or soup from the bakery menu. The buffet's a little too much food for me. You can also order food to go from the bakery counter.

            It's walking distance from my work, but I haven't been in months because they manage to screw up parbaked, frozen pastries from Porto's, and those are mainly what I went for. I understand they've changed chefs since they opened.

            The puffed pastry hasn't risen puffy and dark golden - instead, it's flat, pale, and deflated - a sure sign of a too-cool oven and a chef that either doesn't know to turn up the oven, or doesn't care. Compare the ones you buy at Porto's versus the same item prepared at Tropi-Cuba and you'll see what I mean.

            Though re-reading Ogawak's report, perhaps they've changed chefs again and the pastels are good once more. Might have to visit here on the way home.

            1. re: Professor Salt

              Your description of the puffed pastry as puffy and dark golden sounds like the pastel I had today. Definitetly very light and crisp. If Portos is better than that, it must be heavenly.

              1. re: Ogawak

                I hate to break it to you, but Porto's is WAY better. I stopped by Tropi Cuba on the way home today, and the pasteles still look wan and unpuffed.

                Oh, just wait until you go to Porto's itself and see how much better they can be when they're done correctly.

                Tropi Cuba Cafe
                21730 S Vermont Ave, Torrance, CA 90502

                1. re: Professor Salt

                  Getting back from a long trip, my husband met me in baggage claim with a big hug - and Porto's pastries in the car. Yes, they are that good - they easily replace flowers!