Cuba de Ayer
15446 Old Columbia Pike
Burtonsville, MD 20866
Cuisines: South American, Cuban
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
Noise Level: Chatty
Reservations: Not Needed
Ham croquettes; beef empanadas; vaca frita; ropa vieja; masitas; picadillo; Cubano sandwich; plantains; black beans and rice; tres leches cake.
Appetizers $2 to $7, entrées $8 to $15.
Special Features: Wheelchair Accessible, Kid Friendly, Good for Groups
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.
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