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San Rafael - Mambo's Café Redux (Cuban & Puerto Rican) – There may be simple greatness here.


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Restaurants & Bars San Francisco Bay Area Cuban San Rafael Puerto Rican

San Rafael - Mambo's Café Redux (Cuban & Puerto Rican) – There may be simple greatness here.

rworange | | Oct 3, 2006 04:58 AM

I was just going to append to the post from a few days ago ... but,no ... this place deserves another spotlight.

Ok, this time I didn’t just happen to be in San Rafael. I made a trip across the San Rafael bridge and paid the toll just to go to Mambo ... the beans I had a few days ago were just that good.

I wanted the Cuban tamale and I was interested in trying the Moro beans. Out of tamales, so I ordered the chicken chicharrons with moro rice and maduros.

This is it. This is real Cuban food. This is not food that is adapted to Bay Area tastes or sensibilites. This is what made me lose my mind over Cuban food in Miami.

This is so good I forgot to copy down the menu description. I ordered it because it was in some special marinade I never had before. Amazing, amazing, amazing.

Cubes of white meat chicken with bones attached in a vinegary marinade had crisp crunchy skin and the most succulant, juicy white meat I have ever eaten. This is the reason the word succulent was invented. It was topped with raw white onion rings.

The moro rice was lovely, tasting of bay leaf and other spices. About moro rice ...

The maduros were fine and not greasy. Not as outstanding as the rice and chicken but so perfectly suited to the whole. Total Cuban comfort food.

Today the dinner came with a salad that was pretty fine too ... red and yellow cherry tomatoes, crisp red pepper, romaine lettuce, cucumber and lots of raw white onion rings. I hate raw onions. I scarfed these up they were so good. The onions are really mild and crisp and slighly dressed in a nice vinagrette.

There was an older gentleman from Cuba at the next table explaining to his friend that this was exactly like the food he ate in Cuba ... I’m guessing pre-revolution. Another table was commenting how perfectly the steak was done.

Again I apologize. The place has been open four days. Not fair to rave. Anything can happen. However, if the food continues to be this good, it just may go on my top five restaurant list.

Usually, to save on calories I eat a little at restaurants and bring leftovers home to enjoy for future lunches. I ate every single bite at this restaurant. No leftovers today ... darn.

This so blows Laurel’s out of the water. On my first post I worried that Mambo might have stiff competition with Sol Food opening next door. Now I think Sol Food should be concerned. Hopefully San Rafael can support two great Cuban/Puerto Rican restaurants.

The food at Mambo's Café isn’t fancy, just well done. It’s real Cuban food.

Previous Mambo post:

Mambo's Café
903 Lincoln Avenue
San Rafael, CA 94901
Phone: 415-453-1155


They’ll see. They are thinking 11am – midnight, maybe seven days a week. If planning to go early or late or on Sunday or Monday ... I’d call to be sure.