>> Mambo's Cafe | Eat the World Los Angeles

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Mambo's Cafe

CUBA 🇨🇺

COVID-19 UPDATE: Indoor and patio dining are open.

Always fascinated by odd geographies, it does not quite seem fair that a location west of the 5 should not be included in the Valley. But this small part of massive Glendale pokes out towards Burbank and gobbles up a few blocks in that area on the other side of the interstate. While Burbank could use some delicious food to call its own, unfortunately this section of Victory Blvd. and Mambo's cannot quite be claimed.

It does seem that a lot of Burbank workers make their way here for lunch though, as the parking lot and patio fill up for quick meals. The owner knows a lot of the customers by name and greetings for locals are in abundance. But walking in for the first time is also like walking into a friend's home, each customer is treated like a long-time regular.

Many foods from around the world have yet to reach mass-market appeal for lunches with a group of diverse colleagues, but Cuban food has a certain accessibility that offers something for anyone. A decent array of fried goodies, beef and potatoes, delicious sandwiches, and rice and beans.

In fact the appetizer list is so full of fried goodies that an order of the Mambo combo platter ($18.95, above) makes a great beginning. This plate is loaded by ground beef-stuffed empanadillas, ham pate croquetas, very potato-forward papas rellenas, tostones with mojo, and Spanish chorizo.

As for the sandwiches, the media noche ($10.95, above) is often the most satisfying of options. Made with the same ingredients as the cubano (roast pork, ham, pickles, mustard), the thing that sets this sandwich apart is the sweet egg bread that is toasted nicely.

As with the roast pork ($13.95, below) entree, that particular meat was dry in both dishes on this visit, but very tasty. Play with the mojo and salsa that they give you and all is well. Next time dishes like ropa vieja and camarones al ajillo will get a look. Although not what Cuban food is famous for (at least in the US), vegetarians will be impressed by the section of the menu focusing on plant-based options.


📍 1701 Victory Blvd., Glendale, Verdugos

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