Pressed Success

Where to find the best Cuban sandwich

Dear Mr. Gold:

I was wondering where I would be able to find a delicious Cubano sandwich and some strong Cuban espresso.

—Ellis Song, Los Angeles

Dear Mr. Song:

Cuban sandwiches, those divine, decidedly unkosher concoctions of ham, roast pork, cheese, pickles and mojo pressed flat on lengths of French bread, are among the greatest things ever to come out of a sandwich press. In the right neighborhoods of Tampa and Miami, you can find two or three Cuban sandwich places on every block. In Los Angeles, you can find pretty good versions at all the usual Cuban restaurants — including Rincon Criollo, Versailles and El Colmao, among others, but a Cuban sandwich, as well as its cousin the medianoche, is something best consumed bellied up to a counter with a frothing glass of juice or a bottle of malta close to hand. The version at Tiara in the garment district is delicious, but a bit too elegant. The version at Porto’s in Glendale is too dry. Which brings us, as always, to the venerable Café Tropical in Silver Lake, which has become a little more upscale in the last few years, but which still serves a formidable Cuban, juicy and garlicky and lacquered with pickles. And the Cuban coffee is remarkable too. 2900 W. Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake, (323) 661-8391.

—Jonathan Gold

LA Weekly