The Cuban sandwich isn’t quite an endangered species in New York, though the neighborhoods where it once flourished—from South Brooklyn to the Lower East Side—have changed almost beyond recognition. Yet plenty of folks in this town haven’t forgotten how to layer slow-roasted pork with ham, Swiss, and pickles, season it with citrusy, garlicky mojo, and press it between two slices of light Cuban-style bread. Here’s an alphabetical list of some of Chowhounds’ best-loved Cubanos:
1. THE CANNIBAL
113 E. 29th Street (between Park and Lexington avenues), Manhattan
Roasted pig’s head and top-shelf ingredients like Vermont ham and Gruyère fill this upmarket Cuban sandwich.
2. CIBAO RESTAURANT
72 Clinton Street (at Rivington Street), Manhattan
This homey Latin survivor, just down the block from molecular-gastronomy lab WD-50, turns out a fine budget Cubano (pictured)—with a lagniappe of crispy skin, if you like.
3. CUBANA CAFÉ
80 Sixth Avenue (at St. Marks Avenue), Brooklyn
Reasonably priced Cubanos, as well as more substantial dishes and bracing cocktails, make this a prime spot for a bite before or after a visit to nearby Barclays Center.
4. DON PEPE RESTAURANT
42 Fourth Avenue (between Pacific and Dean streets), Brooklyn
This Latin old-timer, one of a handful around South Brooklyn, makes a cheap Cubano, full of porky, garlicky goodness. And like Cubana Café, Don Pepe is convenient to Barclays Center.
5. EL CASTILLO DE JAGUA
113 Rivington Street (at Essex Street), Manhattan
Like Cibao, another legacy luncheonette a few blocks away, El Castillo serves a solid Cubano in the heart of a changing Lower East Side.
6. EL SITIO
68-28 Roosevelt Avenue (near 69th Street), Woodside, Queens
Despite complaints of inconsistency, this Roosevelt Avenue hangout remains a Cuban sandwich destination for many in Queens.
7. FLOR DE BROADWAY
3395 Broadway (between W. 137th and 138th streets), Manhattan
This classic Latin diner feeds the City College crowd with very good Cuban sandwiches under $5.
136 W. 46th Street (between Sixth and Seventh avenues), Manhattan
A soulful alternative to Midtown’s interchangeable delis, Margon adds Genoa salami to give its Cubano an edge in flavor and texture.
9. PILAR CUBAN EATERY
393 Classon Avenue (between Greene Avenue and Clinton Place), Brooklyn
This solid ‘hound favorite makes a Cuban sandwich distinguished by authentically airy bread and superior pork marinated in tart, garlicky mojo sauce.
10. THE SPOTTED PIG
314 W. 11th Street (at Greenwich Street), Manhattan
This Village gastropub’s take on the Cubano is premium-priced at $18—yet worth it, fans say, for its high-quality ingredients.