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Cuban Food Lovers, attention please.

Ollie Jan 3, 2006 06:59 PM

Seeking opinions on Havana Mania in Manhattan Beach. Been going there for about 4 years & in my humble palatable opinion, one of the best cuban food places in Southern Cal. Even better than Versallies. Is there anyone out there that would agree with me. If you haven't been there, like Cuban Food, live in the South Bay or wouldn't mind the drive. I would strongly recommend it. If you've eaten there & agree/disagree, I'd love to hear from you.

Link: http://havanamania.com/

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    GildaK RE: Ollie Jan 4, 2006 01:13 PM

    I had a b'day party there once (not my choice) as I love cuban food. It was just ok. The first time I was there I loved it! So I assume they don't do well w/large groups as a lot of folks said food was so-so during the b'day night.

    I for one love the place in Hollywood, La Floridita (sp?)....the best mojitos and the best chicken dishes.

    1. d
      DiveFan RE: Ollie Jan 5, 2006 08:04 PM

      Havana Mania is pretty tasty, convenient and a Must for Cuban food lovers. Haven't been there in a while, but Little Havana in Manhattan Beach had some killer lechon asado :-).

      1. o
        Oro3030 RE: Ollie Jan 5, 2006 08:45 PM

        I went once and thought it was pretty decent. Good mojitos as I recall. It's certainly better than the stuff they serve at Versailles here. I hear El Colmao is the best in LA but I haven't been.

        Oh, I am from Miami, have Cuban relatives and have spent my life eating Cuban food.
        Head to Miami if you want the good stuff.

        1. w
          wilp RE: Ollie Jan 15, 2007 07:56 PM

          Both are good, but not great. I got spoiled in Miami with Versailles (the real one) and others - Nothing here comes close.

          Please tell me why there has to be such a void in my life? Its not fair. A good Cuban Coffee would even help.

          There is one on Florence about 1 mile west of the 710 (cant find on google)on the north side of Florene, it was on the same level - Good traditional Cuban dishes, Sangria, etc.

          PS. Yes, I just realized I replied to a post a year old - damn!

          4 Replies
          1. re: wilp
            Das Ubergeek RE: wilp Jan 16, 2007 12:15 AM

            Now, cafe cubano I can help with -- say what you will about their sandwiches, Porto's has astonishingly good Cuban coffees, both cortaditos and cafes con leche.

            1. re: Das Ubergeek
              wilp RE: Das Ubergeek Jan 16, 2007 03:07 AM

              Thanks Geek, Ill give it a try. Ive been meaning to go by there, heard they make a good cuban sandwich as well.

              1. re: wilp
                Das Ubergeek RE: wilp Jan 16, 2007 04:40 AM

                Their sandwiches get mixed reviews. I like the medianoche (it's a good breakfast with a cortadito) but not everyone agrees.

                1. re: Das Ubergeek
                  Will Owen RE: Das Ubergeek Jan 17, 2008 10:51 AM

                  I got the Cubano and liked it very much. I'd have liked it better if it were larger, but then I'm a pig. My friend loved his medianoche. I'm not as crazy about their meat pies as lots of people I know seem to be, but I could seriously hurt myself with those potato balls...

                  Autobooks, down the street, is a client of mine, and I've decided to time my visits there for elevenish, just so I can beat the bulk of the Porto's lunch crowd.

          2. t
            Tari RE: Ollie Jan 16, 2007 12:38 AM

            I really like Havana Mania and go there frequently. The only thing that I have had there that I didn't like was their steak. Their lechon asado is yummy!

            1. r
              ramblinwrek92 RE: Ollie Jan 16, 2008 10:24 PM

              Went to the one in Brea. I ordered the Pollo Cubano. It came with white rice and black beans and fried plantains. Gotta have the rice and beans if you are doing Cuban. The chicken was well flavored. If I have to be picky, the fried plantains were cut a bit too thick to my liking. I was hoping for a hunk of Cuban bread with my order but alas, none. On a slightly off topic note, Nothing like some buttered Cuban toast with cafe con leche.

              1. l
                Low Blood Sugar RE: Ollie Jan 17, 2008 08:40 AM

                I'm cuban(born in Miami :)..) Havana Mania is pretty decent, most dishes are good. I'd be wary of their lunch specials as they seem to be pre-made(dishes will come out of the kitchen a minute and a half after you order). I had some arroz con pollo that was NOT good, overcooked rice that was crunchy in the middle(how it that even possible?).

                Little Havana was EXCELLENT. I ran into one of the owners at In-N-Out and I grilled him about the closing of the restaurant. He said they were 'tired of running it'. I told him they could have sold to someone else. Now there's the cheapest of the hawaiian food places in that location. :(

                El Colmao is the most authentic cuban food experience in L.A. VERY similar in vibe to a place in Miami. The neighborhood is awful though(including streets blocked off with concrete barriers to stop the drive-up drug trade). GO DURING THE DAY.

                And since I probably won't be replying in other cuban food threads, 2 places to avoid at all costs are Versailles in Manhattan Beach(consistently bad, totally different than their other locations)and La Cubana in Glendale(I didn't know tamales were supposed to taste like aluminum and plastic!)

                1. Will Owen RE: Ollie Jan 17, 2008 10:55 AM

                  There's a Cuban place we've wondered about on Lakewood, in Downey. Can't remember the name. Does anyone have anything to say about that? Now that Henry Moffett's has closed, we need another interesting stop on our trips down to Long Beach.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Will Owen
                    Monkeybrains2 RE: Will Owen Jan 17, 2008 11:24 AM

                    The place in Downey is the Tropicana Bakery & Cuban Cafe. I had their large Sandwich Cubano which was very good.
                    They serve 8 different sandwiches and have a large selection of yummy looking baked goods.
                    Address = 10218 Paramount Blvd, Downey.

                    1. re: Monkeybrains2
                      Will Owen RE: Monkeybrains2 Jan 17, 2008 01:55 PM

                      Paramount? Did they move, then, or what? The place I'm talking about is the one we always drive by on Lakewood, I think just a bit north of Florence. On the right as you head south.

                      1. re: Will Owen
                        Monkeybrains2 RE: Will Owen Jan 17, 2008 02:00 PM

                        Must be a different place. Tropicana is just south of Florence Ave.

                        1. re: Will Owen
                          salsa_angel RE: Will Owen Jan 18, 2008 10:09 AM

                          This place is Florida Cafe on Lakewood Blvd. Really good food. My mom and grandmother (both Cuban) have also eaten there . If it passes their test, then I know it's good.

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