Cuban-born owners George and Zulima Chavez evoke a latin villa with faux window arches, iron sconces, and elaborate murals of ivy scored doors and old-world brick. Amid these rustic trappings, waiters deliver traditional Cuban platters of salmon a la plancha, Spanish sausage sandwiches, and flame-kissed NY choice-cut steaks. While munching on fried plantain chips at the granite-top bar, patrons can peruse the framed artwork of the Cuban countryside and roosters setting their alarm clocks.
When you're a regular at Romeu's Cuban Restaurant, you can tell the date by what you're eating. Tuesdays mean beef stew?Wednesdays, chicken fricassee. There's a special menu for every day of the week, complete with different soups and lunchtime sandwiches. But there's a menu of mainstays, too: oxtail, omelets, steaks, and fish?including entire fried snappers, not just the parts that the chef didn't want to eat. The entrees come with the classic Cuban sides of rice, beans, and plantains. And if you'd like something cool and sweet to complement your lamb shanks, try one of the fruit juices. They range from fresh-squeezed orange juice to more obscure drinks like mango nectar and pear juice.
For the Vilarino family, opening a restaurant wasn't just an opportunity to celebrate their Cuban heritage. It was their shot at surviving in America after fleeing the Communist regime of their home country in 1980. And in the 30 years since they opened the first Las Vegas, they've found plenty of success, adding a dozen more locations along the way.
Perhaps it's the authenticity of the food that people have fallen for, as Las Vegas Cuban Cuisine's menu is an ode to classic Cuban recipes. There's a Cuban sandwich, of course, paired with plantain chips, as well as ropa vieja—shredded flank beef that's marinated in garlic, peppers, onions, and bay leaves and topped with a tomato sauce. Even the selection of beverages includes Caribbean-style drinks, such as pineapple soda and cafe con leche.
Within the tropical green walls of La Parrilla Rotisserie & Grill, cooks caringly squeeze lemon and lime wedges over fresh shrimp and octopus morsels before passing the plates off to servers who run the tangy ceviche to awaiting diners. The cooks then turn toward their flame grill where they flay tender pork to join with juicy whole chickens that they slid off the rotisserie only moments ago. Their traditional Peruvian and Dominican dishes usually hit the table alongside fluffy yellow rice, plantains, and garlic potatoes.
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.
Las Culebrinas Restaurant’s tapas-inspired yet generously portioned plates enrapture patrons with a tantalizing tour of Cuban delicacies. Pack on protein with meat and pork dishes such as the Cuban–style grilled top-sirloin steak ($12.95) or fried pork chunks seductively laid out in a bed of avocado sauce ($10.50). Deep-sea diners can submerge palates in seafood and fish dishes including the lobster, shrimp, scallop, fish, and mussels in marinara sauce ($26.95) or baked filet of dolphin, sprinkled with chunks of spanish sausage and creole-sauced ham ($17.50). Poultry entrees such as the breaded chicken breast, topped with tomato sauce and melted swiss cheese ($11.50), command the attention of traditionalist taste buds, and specialties including frog legs slathered in garlic sauce ($19.95) satiate the appetites of well-traveled eaters or sedentary time-travelers.