Owner Melissa Vias originally unveiled Malanga Café not only to share the exotic dishes crafted from her meticulous collection of Cuban recipes, but to transport diners to the music- and amusement-filled atmosphere of Cuba itself. Head chef Haydee Porras blends traditional ingredients to forge from scratch items such as crispy croquettes, steaming tamales, and a traditional suckling pig that smokes and crackles as it rotates in its sweltering roaster. Meanwhile, succulent morsels of shredded pork nestle into pillowy baguettes to craft the pan con lechon, whose popular recipe arrived from Santiago de Cuba via Vias's husband. Postmeal, patrons can amuse other senses with games of Cubilete or the rhythms of a live band, then sign a giant mural awash with famous Cuban sayings to personalize a part of history and provide an effective alibi against sushi-eating accusations.
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