Last Update
Oct 3rd, 2018

Juana La Cubana Cafe

3308 Griffin Road
Dania Beach FL, 33312
(954) 985-8899
Overall Rating
2.0
Food
Service
Ambiance
Value
Last Review
10/02/2018

Details

Hours: M-Sat 11am-9:30pm
Dress Code: Casual
Parking: Private Lot
CC: Yes
Alcohol: None
Outdoor: No

Pros

Decent Cuban Food
Free Parking

Cons

Storefront Ambiance
Overpriced considering Cheap Portions
No Lunch Special Menu

Critic's Review

I was never going back to this place's previous location, but they've come out of the shadows and moved into a space on Griffin Road. With the Hard Rock under construction, it's still not on the way to anywhere, but it's a lot easier to find.

I thought it would be nicer inside, but this place is worse than their old location in terms of ambiance. A storefront with tables lined up throughout.

I sat at a table and asked about the $9.99 "Daily Specials" they had on their sidewalk sandwich board, but there was only one "Special of the day" and it didn't sound appealing. I ordered an iced tea and pretended to look at the menu; already knowing that I was ordering a cuban sandwich. The tea came out with an actual lemon; I've gotten used to getting a lime at the south of the border places.

I ordered the "regular" cuban; the server pushed the "humongous" version for $2 more but I didn't want to take 1/2 a sandwich home. I wanted lunch.

The place is pretty dull; wi-fi is locked but you can read the walls if you want. I guess this is a Spanish thing; Casa Frida has writing on the walls also.

The sandwich came out in 7 minutes. One thing that annoyed me is that you can't get a Cuban Sandwich without the unwanted fries. Kind of a regular sized sandwich; maybe a bit smaller than what you get elsewhere.

No special Cuban condiments on the table. Just your standard diner setup.

At first inspection, it looked ok, except for the obvious lack of cheese. Also just a couple of the cheap round sandwich pickles.

The bread was very good; almost flakey. I tasted a piece of the pork; because the pork is the entire point of a Cuban sandwich. No taste at all. Just gray meat. It was also a small piece of pork that only covered half of the sandwich, which combined with the lack of cheese made 1/2 of the sandwich into a ham sandwich.

Edible but pretty lame. For $8.25 in a little dump like this they shouldn't cheap out on ingredients.

Conclusion

Despite the 3 billion 5 star reviews for this place online; I've never had anything that was better than very average. The new space is very dull and so is the food; it's just a lot easier to find now.

Review 9/2/16

I was in the mood for Cuban food, but I've run out of places to go. I'd had a pedestrian breakfast at this place and it was time for something more challenging.

This place is crazy out of the way, but once you've found it it's not too bad. It's located in a neighborhood clubhouse type facility; there's tennis courts across the street and there's sort of a beach for neighborhood residents. You can't use the beach or play tennis if you don't live here, but you can go to the restaurant.

The big change from the outside is that they now have tables on the "sidewalk", if you can call it that.

Inside is about the same; a bit more crowded for lunch than breakfast but it was pushing 2pm so I had no trouble getting a table.

The server lady dropped off some menus and I ordered an iced tea with lemon; it was initially delivered without a straw. I had to flag down the chef/runner to get a straw. It's served in a plastic cup; college party style.

Looking at the menu, I was virtually shocked at the prices. Their lunch menu had no "dishes" on it; just sandwiches and salads, and their prices were up even MORE than my last visit. From 8.95 to 11.75 to $12.95 in a bit more than a year is way too much; $12.95 for Ropa Vieja is what you'd pay at dinner at most Cuban places. $8.95 is just too much for a Cuban sandwich at a place like this.

The one lady was overmatched by 4 tables; she never actually came by to take my order. The Chef/Runner guy came by and I ordered the Ropa Vieja with Tostones (you get rice and beans and a choice of fried plantains or Tostones).

One of the big things here (apparently) is to sign the wall, sort of like they do in bathrooms.

I didn't sign the wall. 5 minutes later the chef/runner guy brought out my food.

I was surprised by the portion; this is a lunch special portion, with a small bowl of beans. As the dude is walking away I speak up to get his attention "Sir.....I ordered the tostones". "Oh, sorry, keep those and I'll get you some."

I don't really eat either, so no real damage done.

The ropa was decent; not garlicky enough and I usually don't care for olives with my beef (the main reason I never order Picadillo).

I was half done before the tostones came out. It came with a dipping sauce, which is good because tostones generally have zero taste.

Unfortunately the sauce also had no taste, so there was just green stuff on tasteless discs. I didn't eat the tostones.

Another table was cashing out so the woman was totally consumed. I had to wait a while to get my check. Meanwhile I checked in on Yelp to get the 10% discount they offer.

At 2:30 the place was empty. My check was order# 72; not too busy for a Friday.

Conclusion

Juana La Cubana is like a pudgy girl who after someone tells her she's cute goes out and gets a playboy bunny tattoo. In just over a year they've raised their prices by more than 50%. The cute little cuban cafe is now priced like a fancy restaurant, without any of the perks or service that you get for the higher prices.

The problem is the this place is typical Cuban food; no better than you get at Las Vegas or La Bamba; when it was cheaper than other choices you could make a case to come here. Now there's a very strong case not to come here.

Review 7/10/15

I was just plain curious about this place, and since they put olives in their Ropa Vieja, lunch wasn't going to work. They had a "Spanish Style" omelet with potatoes and Chorizo that sounded interesting for just $4.50 (according to their website), so I hit the road late morning and headed up to Griffin Road. 10:30am is just about the best time to be on the road around here in terms of traffic, so I figured it would be clear sailing. Of course I hit the draw bridge on Davie Rd that made a mockery of that idea.

The place is located in a neighborhood behind the big Cielito Lindo restaurant. There's not much going on back here; a lot of trailer size homes and rough roads. The "cafe" is located in some sort of recreation center for the neighborhood. I saw people getting out of their cars with beach stuff, so maybe they have a beach or something in the back? It looked deserted the first time I drove by.

Despite the name of the place, this place originated in Guatemala. They moved to the US in early 2014, which is when they translated their website into English.

You can't miss the cafe with the door adorned with the caricatured Cuban woman. Inside is a modest room not unlike many other cuban cafes or corporate lunch rooms.

The lady server (who I assume was also the owner) came over right away and took my order for American Coffee.

The first cup I got was absolute mud; probably made at 7am and it was now about 11. The lady seemed to realize this as she said "I'm making a fresh pot". When I looked at the menu I was surprised by the prices; The omelets were $6.75. Not that that's an outlandish price, but it was 50% more than the price on their web site. They've only been open for a year so it's not like

One thing unexpected was the "American" style setup; not funky hot sauce; just Heinz.

It was taking longer than I expected given that there was only 1 other table waiting for food. They seem to do more delivery than eat in, which probably caused the delay.

It actually only took 11 minutes.

The omelet comes with "Havana Potatoes" or "Papitas Habaneras" as the Spanish description; I couldn't find any translation for it as a standard dish. With a real "Spanish Potato Omelet" , the very thin potato slices are cooked with onions in good Spanish olive oil; I was hoping for something similar with chorizo thrown in. Spanish omelets are frittata-like in that they're not flipped.

But the filling in this omelet was sparse and the chorizo wasn't very flavorful. There was nothing particularly tasty about the potatoes wither; they had kind of a dull taste that needed some salt. I was halfway done when I got the fresh coffee, and then the bread came out.

I was surprised that the bread wasn't pressed, but it really doesn't make much different. The bread was the best part of the meal.

The "other" breakfast I had at a cuban cafe was at Las Colinas, and I found that disappointing. This was fine as a source of fuel and protein, but I can't say that anything was better than just "OK".

This place has been racking up 5 star reviews and Yelp and I think I understand why; when you check in you get a 10% discount coupon. How is it possible that not 1 review even mentions the discount? There's something very fishy about Yelp in general; you'd think that the discount was something to be mentioned.

I'd shown the woman the discount previously; I went to the table where they had their POS and she says "$8.50 please". I asked "Is that with the discount". Then she did some typing and made some confused faces and came back with $7.16. Ok, well 10% of $8.50 is only 85 cents, so I don't know how that could be, but I gave her my card and headed out. She wasn't able to figure out how to give me a receipt so I snapped a photo of the bill.

I looked at it later and it appears that they have a 10% deal but they don't have their POS programmed with a 10% discount, so she just took off the coffee, which is almost a 20% discount. No wonder they raised the price on the omelet.

It doesn't look like they have the correct phone number on the check either.

Conclusion

My impression is that these are really nice people who are working hard to earn a living, and in a city overrun by corporate rip-off restaurants I can appreciate that sort of work ethic. I think that they probably took this space not understanding the area, because I can't imagine a much worse place to open a restaurant. There isn't much business around and nobody is driving by.

I've been to every Cuban Cafe in the area and there's nothing different about this one; while these "authentic" little cafes are quaint they don't seem to translate into anything special in terms of food. The good thing about it is that it's cheap; but I wouldn't go out of my way for what I got here today.

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