John Curtas is …

FLORIDA CAFE

Is Cuban food a bad joke or what?

George Costanza got it right on Curb Your Enthusiasm: “I always get excited thinking about the prospect (of Cuban food); but the reality always disappoints me.”

Undaunted, we let ourselves get excited the other day and found ourselves craving a Cuban sandwich. Pork on pork with pickles and mustard….yummmm! And by gosh, some thick, rich black bean soup sounded good too!

On our way to the Florida Cafe we thought of Cuba. Of beautiful beaches and bodacious women, Tito Puente and crazy good Cohibas, Tony Montana, Ricky Ricardo and The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love.

Then we ate and all we could think of was bland and boring pork, with only the tiniest smudge of mustard and no pickles at all to liven things up.

Even worse was the tasteless…and we mean tasteless black bean soup. Frijoles negros: the most character-free of any famous dish in the world. Without the raw onions on top, it would have had no flavor at all.

How can this be? How can a Caribbean country so steeped in so much colorful tradition have such ridiculously tasteless food?

Perhaps when Cuba and the U.S. finally restore relations, we can restore some vim and vigor to this cuisine. Or maybe Cubans just like things unseasoned?

ELV thinks he’ll go dance a little mambo while contemplating such weighty concerns:

FLORIDA CAFE

1401 Las Vegas Blvd. South

Las Vegas, NV 89104

702.385.3031

www.floridacafecuban.com

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22 Responses to FLORIDA CAFE

  • I recommend you hop just a wee bit north to Rincon Criollo where the black beans rock. I can recommend these dishes without reservation:

    plantanos maduras (mandatory appetizer)

    palomilla empanizada
    fricaze de pollo
    boliche
    ropa vieja
    bistec criollo (nice smoky flavor, however the pollo criollo does nothing for me)
    camarones enchilados

    The swordfish can be quite tasty or on other visits a bit dry and overcooked. I’ve never tried the paella (serves 4), nor oddly enough have I tried the cuban sandwich.

    Cheers,
    Scott

  • Agree with you about Florida but there is nothing wrong with the cuisine that more talented chefs wouldn’t cure.

  • Worst meal in Vegas I ever had was here.

  • Since the owner decided to open his Havana Grill, this restaurant has gone down due to neglect. The food served at this location is very bland and tasteless. The food at Havana Grill is a little better but way overpriced for Cuban soul food. I agree with the reader that recommends Rincon Criollo, that is a better bet. They do not have delusions of grandeur and serve excellent Cuban dishes.

  • Terrible food – and worse yet, we used a debit card there. Someone in the kitchen had a card reader that took our information – they passed it around to friends via phone and we had 10 charges to our card within minutes of giving the card to the restaurant. The bank did find out who at Florida did it and we got our money back – will never set foot back in this place again.

  • Hi guys, I don’t know about you guys… just don’t know what the real cuban taste is like… I’ve always have been eating at The Florida Cafe and it’s been always the best food in town… pretty much since I came to Las Vegas in 2000 and like I said it always been the best cuban food that I always tried… One of my favorite one is Pollo a la plancha with black beans and white rice… it tastes like the one that may Grandma used to cook…

    I will always, go to The Florida Cafe and eat the best cuban food in town!!!!

    Oh and the service is is the best…. I will rate that 5 star….

  • I strongly agree with you Jose, I think that Florida Cafe has a great service and the quality of the food, it is the best ever…

  • To all people that talk bad about Florida Cafe, first the phone # was wrong… here is the good one 702-385-3013… Second thing I all the time I do parties at home, I always order food from Florida Cafe Cuban Restaurant and my all my family and my friends always enjoy the food…

    I really think that people who reads this should go and try this food so that you know that is the best cuban food ever….

    On Top of that, the owner always takes care of the customer himself…

  • Este escrito lo voy hacer en espanol por que este es un restaurante Cubano lo que aqui estan escribiendo es pura falcedad como alguien se le puede ocurrir comparar a este restaurante con el rincon Criollo lleno de cucarachas,con tan mala calidad el habana grill y el florida son los dos unicos restaurantes Cubanos por exelencia de las Vegas por favor,y lo de que roban las creditcard eso es mentira es que cuando hay personas honestas con calidad en lo que hacen la gente difama sin escrupulos…

  • El dueno de esos Restaurantes es el tipo mas decente de las Vegas y ayuda a todos los que les pasa por delante…

  • I been in the U.S since 1995 without family to cook the original cuban food.I been coming to the Florida Cafe since then back when it was a small restaurant.I love the food there it makes me feel right at home.welcomed and loved by the people who work there.Now i can stretch my buck even more with their new buffet which is only 10.00 on the weekend with the same traditional cuban dishes as ropa vieja maduritos,yuca al mojo,and picadillo theres more dishes which i cant even begin to name…..I Love it there and i dont get nothing but the best service….and who has white beans???? only Florida Cafe and they are excellent as well as the black beans full of sazon (seasoning and spices) for those who dont know the true meaning of cuban food you dont have to go to cuba to experience it just come to the Florida Cafe……..

  • A mi me encanta el Florida Cafe…hace años que voy ahi con mi familia y a mi familia que somos todos cubanos les encanta esa comida….eso si es sabor autentico cubano…un sazon especial como en casa

  • Spanish language comments from your Hispanic readers proves one thing. Spanish is a dialect. Mayan is a language. Why do Latinos call languages dialects, and dialects languages?

  • Well after reading this comments, I decided to go and and try cuban food at the Florida Cafe Restaurant… it was the first time I ate this food but it was really amazing… the service, food, drinks everything was just great…

    I recommend this place to any people who wants to eat cuban food or just want to have a great restaurant experience!!! you should go with your family and try it out yourself…

  • Oh my friends, I don’t know what you guys are talking about specially the boys who wrote the article…John Curtas and George Costanza…. who are this guys???to me and the rest… they just are two people who does not have any else to do, if you look this guys are writing so many articles a week… that is just the way they think…

    My best advice it’s to the people who reads this, it is to go out and taste this food and I can promise you that you will go back to Florida Cafe Restaurant!!!!

  • I agree with you Jason…

    Just go and see what it is really like…
    Don’t believe what people says until you experience it your self… there is no way to compare Florida Cafe to any other Cuban Restaurant…. it is just the quality, service and food that makes this restaurant so special…

    I wish you the best guys!

  • The best meal I ever had, just like my mom used to cook back in cuba, esos frigoles y arroz, there is no way to compare ese sobor cubano…Pollo a la plancha
    wow! tienen que probarlos…

  • Ya no hablen mas de esa comida rica. I’m on my way to Florida Cafe righ now…

  • Que lastima me da que la gente levante falsos testimonios sobre los demas….Porfavor si no saben lo que de verdad es comida cubana no opinen…gracias a estos escritos yo visite florida cafe por primera vez con mi familia,y de lo que ustedes dojeron no es mi opinion ya que quede fascinada con la comida y del pan delicioso,los frijoles riquisimos y los postres ni de hablar…casi me llevo al cocinero para mi casa…Its a shame how people write bad comments about someone else…if you have no idea of what cuban food taste like please dont give out an opinion specially a bad one.Thanks to all these comment i visited the florida cafe for the first time with my family,and i have to say that the food was phenomenal,the bread great,the beans outstanding and the desserts amazingly good….i almost took the cook home….oh yeah the cuban mojitos where authentic and delicious…i loved everything….

  • I love the florida cafe,i love the food,the service the atmosphere….oh yeah and the fabulous drinks….

  • Vivian, Sam, KC, Jason, et al: Are you all related to owners/employees at Florida Cafe? Or perhaps you should start your own food blog, or at least learn the meaning of the word “opinion”. Personally, I read all of Mr. Curtas’ reviews; and laugh or groan or learn something new. I email some of his prose/recommendations to friends, completely disregard and disagree with others. But this I believe: he is knowledgeable and honest about food/wine and the meals/restos he writes about.

    For the record, I am a gringo, have never been to Miami, but absolutely love Florida Cafe. I’ve eaten there at least 50-60 times in the past few years, when the place was half the size, and decor half as nice. Their Cubano sandwich that I’ve tasted at least twenty times, is nothing like what Mr. Curtas wrote; always first rate ingredients, pickles aplenty, and I seldom finish it….because it’s so huge. In fact, I was happily surprised to see a smaller (cubanito?!) recently added to the lunch menu. At times, I absolutely crave the moros y cristianos, plantains, chorizo, filetillos pollo; and I will continue to be a regular customer.

  • Realmente me encanta este blog, y los comentarios me parecen muy atinados. Gracias.

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