Cheap Eats 2010: Cuba de Ayer
100 great places that offer great food at low prices.
Reviewed By Todd Kliman, Ann Limpert, Rina Rapuano, Kate Nerenberg
Comments () | Published June 11, 2010
Cheap Eats (2010) Cheap Eats 2011
Cuba de Ayer
Address: 15446 Old Columbia Pike, Burtonsville, MD 20866
Phone: 301-476-9622
Neighborhood: Burtonsville
Cuisines: South American, Cuban
Opening Hours: Tuesday through Thursday 11:30 to 8:30, Friday and Saturday 11:30 to 10, and Sunday 11:30 to 8:30
Price Range: Inexpensive
Dress: Informal
Noise Level: Chatty
Reservations: Not Needed
Best Dishes Ham croquettes; beef empanadas; vaca frita; ropa vieja; masitas; picadillo; Cubano sandwich; plantains; black beans and rice; tres leches cake.
Price Details: Appetizers $2 to $7, entrées $8 to $15.

Why go: This pulsing, handsomely appointed hole in the wall isn’t just the best Cuban restaurant in this Cuban-poor region—it’s the real deal. The kitchen minds the details, whether it’s taking time with a bowl of inky black beans or giving a proper fry to the shredded tangle of meat known as vaca frita.

What to get: A definitive version of smoky black beans and oiled rice; tender fried ham croquetas; the zesty beef hash known as picadillo; vaca frita; sour-orange-soaked pork masitas; a faithful if not quite wondrous Cubano sandwich; strong, sweet Cuban coffee; tres leches cake.

Best for: A festive but affordable night out. The soundtrack pumps out good Cuban music, and after a drink or two you can easily forget where you are.

Insider tip: Portions are substantial, so unless you’re interested in covering a lot of ground, you can share an appetizer—or skip it and concentrate on entrées.

>> See all 2010 Cheap Eats restaurants here        

Subscribe to Washingtonian
Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 06/11/2010 RSS | Print | Permalink | Restaurant Reviews