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Apr 15, 2010 12:00 PM

Cuban Pete's - Charlotte

Really enjoyed my first visit to this new cuban restaurant on Central Avenue. My wife and I shared the paella. It was very good, and at $36 was a bargain. Big enough to feed 4. Chicken, chorizo, clams, mussels, shrimp and 2 small lobster tails. The shrimp were a little overcooked, otherwise it was delicious. Even had that nice, brown crust on the bottom of pan that paella should have. Lots of inventive drinks and sangrias and excellent service. I'm looking forward to returning and delving further into the menu.

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  1. Seems like this place only lasted a few months. I had out of town guests visit there last spring and they are asking to go again over the holidays. I didn't go with them but they raved. They're from Union County, NJ, so they know their Cuban. What happened? Any other good Cuban in Charlotte?

    7 Replies
    1. re: southernitalian

      The only other place I know of in CLT is down on Hwy 49, near Carowinds. It's called A Piece of Havana and it's a nice place, good food & service and with all the traditional dishes including media noche, empanadas, etc.

      There is a place called Carlos' Cafe in Love's shopping plaza in Rock Hill, SC that was great. However, it changed ownership a couple of years ago and I haven't been since then so I can't attest to how good the food is now. Here is a link:

      1. re: lynnlato

        Carlos Cafe has changed ownership a couple of times during its lifetime, and apparently went through a bad spell with one owner, but under the current ownership (they've had it 3+ years), the food is excellent. I have only been to Piece of Havana once, but I didn't think the food was as good there as at Carlos (actually, my experience as PoH was bad enough that I wouldn't go back). The one limitation Carlos Cafe has is that it is a very small place, and while they do serve beer, wine, and sangria, they do not have a full bar.

        1. re: MelMM

          It's been a couple of years since I've been to Carlos' Cafe, but I enjoyed it last I was there. Its simply too far a drive for me.

          What made your experience so bad at Piece of Havana that you wouldn't return? How long ago? I've been several times and have never had a complaint. If I recall correctly, they used to bake their own Cuban bread too.

          I'll have to make a point to get down to Carlos' Cafe sometime soon.

          1. re: lynnlato

            Oh, where to start... Ordered a skirt steak, medium rare. Waitress comes back later and asks me, "You wanted that well done, right?" I said no, medium rare. It arrived well done. I sent it back. New one arrived almost as overdone as the first. I ate it. The tostones were soggy with grease. The beans and rice were underseasoned. Rice was mushy. The only good part of the meal was a tamal. That one thing was quite good. There were a few other issues with the service, but the big disappointment for me was the food. That was about two years ago. I live in Rock Hill, so Carlos is more convenient for me and the food is better. No reason to go back to PoH.

            1. re: MelMM

              Oh well, yea, that's not good. I hate that one crappy experience can forever cloud an impression. I know I've been to places for the first time and had a bad experience and have never returned. It goes to show how important are first impressions.

              Like I said, I should get down to Carlo's Cafe soon. Thanks for the feedback. :)

              1. re: lynnlato

                Hmmm... You might want to wait a few weeks. I just got back from Carlos. The meal was a cluster (ahem) if there ever was one. There has been some turnover in the kitchen, and they are training a new cook. We went through this about a year ago, and had a couple sub-par meals, then it all went back to normal. To their credit, they tried to fix things, and comped what they couldn't fix. I'm sure they will get the new cook up to speed soon, and things will be back to normal, just like before.

          2. re: MelMM

            Carlos Cafe is moving from Rock Hill to the Tega Cay/Fort Mill area this upcoming April 2012 by the Super Walmart on Hwy 160. Much larger location, outdoor seating, full bar service.

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