Cuba de Ayer

15446 Old Columbia Pike
Burtonsville, MD 20866


Neighborhood: Burtonsville

Cuisines: South American, Cuban

Opening Hours:
Tuesday through Thursday 11:30 AM to 8:30 PM, Friday and Saturday 11:30 AM to 10 PM, and Sunday 11:30 AM to 8:30 PM.

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

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.

Special Features: Wheelchair Accessible, Kid Friendly, Good for Groups

Cheap Eats 2008: Cuba de Ayer

Why go: It’s not Cuba—it’s not even Miami. But the cooking at this colorful hole in the wall is authentic, pulsing with the garlicky, slow-cooked flavors of Havana.

What to get: Ham croquettes, the outsides crunchy, the insides rich and creamy; vaca frita, a mound of beef made lacy, almost light, by double frying (give it a spritz of lemon); a comforting picadillo, beef hash garnished with bits of potato, olive, and onion; the best black beans and rice around; sticky-sweet plantains; a version of tres leches that, in spite of its almost custardlike consistency, still eats like a piece of cake.

Best for: Celebrating on the cheap, courtesy of the family-style plating and the short roster of cocktails and beers.

Insider tip: Forgo the moros y cristianos—black beans mixed with rice, a common side dish; they’re better ordered individually so you can appreciate the savor of the inky beans and the fluffiness of the oiled rice.

Open daily except Monday for lunch and dinner.

See all Cheap Eats 2008 restaurants