Photo by Karina Romero
Opened: May 2023
Owners Keeon Pullen, Angel Renteria and Lennis Rivas Montero (the Cuban born-and-bred cook of the trio) have been turning out a limited selection of classic Cuban eats for just over a year now, first from a food truck, then from a gas station kitchen near Sky Harbor and now from a tiny strip mall restaurant in Glendale. I love every affordable, delicious morsel – like bite-size ham croquettes, three breadcrumb-coated logs whose crunchy exteriors yield to salty-sweet innards of creamy ground ham ($3.29). In a similarly crunchy-to-soft vein, papa rellena, a breaded and fried orb of mashed potato stuffed with ground beef, hits the meat-and-potatoes sweet spot ($3.99). Florida’s iconic Cubano sandwich, layered with roast pork, ham, pickles, mustard and Swiss cheese, then grilled until the cheese oozes out the edges, is crisp perfection ($11.99). Meanwhile, ropa vieja, Cuba’s famous dish of slow-cooked shredded beef, has the wondrously supple texture that evokes the raggedy “old clothes” for which the dish is named ($14.99). Served with congri (black beans and rice) and a simple salad, it’s superb. Ignoring Cuba’s coffee culture would be crazy, so try a strong, sludgy Cafe BomBom (espresso with condensed milk, $2.99). It’s bomb.
Wild Card: Shredded coconut-strewn coco flan ($3.99) and a whipped cream-topped guava milkshake ($6.99) both make dreamy desserts.
5025 W. Olive Ave., Glendale, 480-925-5840, cubanitaskitchenaz.com