Jorge Castillo: The Fernadez family works from a nicely balanced menu that spotlights the most typical classic Cuban dishes. By focusing on a more compact menu, the kitchen can prepare everything with care.

Glenn Lindgren: A good lechón asado (roast pork) is one of our touchstones for evaluating Cuban restaurants. If a kitchen can produce a good lechón, they are doing something right. At La Cubana, you receive a very generous serving of tender roasted pork, moist and succulent. In fact, all of the entrees are generously sized, so plan to get a box for leftovers!

Raúl Musibay: By focusing on a smaller menu, they guarantee that everything is prepared with care.

Glenn Lindgren: That's a lesson many restaurants can learn from. So many try to do too much (like a certain delicatessen we ate at in Westwood) and NOTHING comes out very good.

What a long strange trip it's been for La Cubana restaurant, the Cuban dining gem in Glendale California. A long-time fixture on Colorado Avenue, the popular restaurant closed for nearly a year in 2006 while it underwent extensive remodeling. La Cubana then opened for a few months and then abruptly closed again when a new owner purchased the building. This was a terrible turn of events for the Fernandez family, who opened their first restaurant in Glendale in 1973 with just $200 in working capital.

Finding a new location took the better part of a year, but Fernando Fernandez is a proud and determined man. Together with his wife Eneida and daughter Mari, he has now relocated La Cubana to a space on North Maryland Avenue that was formerly occupied by Maurizio's Italian Kitchen.

La Cubana's new location on a beautiful, tree-lined brick street fronted with shops and a movie theater is perfect and the restaurant itself is stunning. The dining room features earthy brown floor tiles and dark wood chairs and tables covered with starched white tablecloths. The restaurant is very open and airy and the sound of classic music provides a nice backdrop to clinking glassware and quite conversation.

Jorge Castillo: Glendale was once one of the biggest Cuban areas in California. Glendale doesn't have a little Havana area like we do in Miami, but throughout the city, you'll find several Cuban restaurants, bakeries, meat markets, a fish market, and small grocery stores.

Glenn Lindgren: The "A" health rating earned by this restaurant is apparent the moment you walk in the door. This is a very clean restaurant maintained with pride by the Fernandez family.

Raúl Musibay: We just love a small Cuban restaurant with real, friendly Cubans waiting on the tables. La Cubana is exactly that place.

La Cubana Restaurante

Raúl Musibay: The Cuban bread is very good here. They start you out with a basket of Cuban toast pre-buttered, flattened, and still warm from the plancha.

Jorge Castillo: Tasajo is dried beef that's been reconstituted and at La Cubana, they cook it with plenty of golden onions. The onions are sweet and tender and give the meat a delicious flavor.

Glenn Lindgren: The enchilado de camarones is a generous serving of shrimp in a piquant tomato sauce. Boliche (Cuban pot roast) is sliced from tender, slow roasted eye of round.

Jorge Castillo: The fabada asturiana is a rich bean stew with chorizo, ham, and morcilla – blood sausage. So many restaurants leave out this essential ingredient that really makes the fabada here sing.

Raúl Musibay: All of the entrees come with the standard black beans and rice and plátanos maduros.

Glenn Lindgren: Diners that are more adventurous will be well served by ordering yuca as a side dish. They don't overcook it here as they do at so many places and the flesh is firm, yet tender with a tasty garlic and oil sauce.

Jorge Castillo: The lunchtime crowd still gravitates to the Cuban sandwich and the medianoche, both excellent with real ham and roast pork on real Cuban bread.

Raúl Musibay: The machaca de cerdo is shredded pork in tomato sauce and onions. El choripan features Spanish chorizo with ham and Swiss cheese – kind of like a Cuban without the roast pork.

Jorge Castillo: Desserts here are worth every effort to pace yourself during the meal. All are made in La Cubana's bustling kitchen.

Glenn Lindgren: The crème Catalan, the Spanish version of Crème Brûlée is not to be missed – it is sweet, creamy, and oh-so-decadent with its crunchy sugar topping. All in all, La Cubana is well worth a trip to sunny Glendale.

HOURS: Wednesday and Thursday noon to 9:00 p.m. | Friday and Saturday noon to 9:30 p.m. | Sunday noon to 9:00 p.m. | Monday and Tuesday CLOSED

PRICES: Most entrees between $10 and $15

DRESS: Casual

WEBSITE: lacubanarestaurant.com

(Photos courtesy La Cubana Restaurant)

The Details
La Cubana
135 N. Maryland Ave.
Glendale, CA 91206
818-243-4398
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