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Restaurants & Bars 4

Baracoa - Cuban in Atwater

Rafi | Mar 12, 200209:10 PM

Went for second time today to this newish smallish family-type Cuban in the no longer so sleepy neighborhood of Atwater. Located on the same stretch as Osteria Nonni (try the trout!) and Tacos Villa Carona (last time I was there Huell Howser was doing a story on the place; guess this chowhound is a few steps behind on the Atwater tip) and across the street from the Danish Bakery whose name I can't remember (good apple turnovers) , Baracoa is definitely going to be a regular haunt for me. It's only two minutes from Silverlake but might be worth a longer trip.

First lunch. I had the special: ropa vieja (sp?), which for those of you who don't know is a kind of stringy stewed pork dish. I've had it in NY Cuban restaurants but never before in LA. This was as good as I remembered -- rich and juicy without being a total fat bomb. Today's lunch was even better. Again I ordered the day's special: picadillo. Never had this before. It's another stew, this one made with ground (not shredded, ground) beef, olives, raisins, and tomato. Almost Morrocan in flavor. (Any food historians out there know its origin?) I loved it -as the waitress knew I would when she kindly offered me a taste before I ordered. My lunches both came with rice and beans -- wonderful soupy black beans clearly flavored with pig (unlike the tasteless black beans you get so often at more Americanized restaurants.) As for the on-the-menu items, the roast chickens that my friends ordered on my first visit were sadly not on par with Versailles or Zankou. Not bad, just not great. However, the Cuban sandwich that my lunch companion ordered today looked excellent. He pronounced it delicious and actively ignored my pleading-for-a-taste glances – what higher praise is there? Also terrific: the intensely flavored flan. A dessert for serious caramel lovers.

Prices very reasonable.

Baracoa Cuban Cafe
3175 Glendale Bl
Atwater Village
323 665 9590
closed Sunday and Monday

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