Cheap Eats: Cuba Linda
Tasty Cuban cuisine in a cheery tropical setting make Cuba Linda excellent Cheap Eats.
With a sky blue ceiling, colorful Latin tiles, thatch chairs, and palm plants, Cuba Linda’s cute, tropical interior invites diners indoors. But it’s the authentic, made-to-order Cuban cuisine that will keep them coming back to this cozy Concord restaurant located two blocks off Todos Santos Plaza.
Owner Linda Swartz, formerly a manager at Danville’s the Peasant and the Pear, opened her eatery with the idea of re-creating authentic Cuban food, using recipes learned from her husband’s family members, who were born and raised in the Caribbean nation. That means real Cuban comfort food—no fusion cuisine here—with down-home dishes such as arroz con pollo (chicken with rice), ropa vieja (shredded beef stewed with onions and peppers in a Creole tomato sauce), and lechón (marinated roast pork).
Hovering in the $11 range, the ample entrées are a good deal, but cheaper options abound. Chief among them are the sandwiches, including a classic Cuban with pork, ham, swiss, and pickles; a marinated chicken breast with avocado and tomato; and a ropa vieja sandwich, all $8 and served on French bread with mariquitas (fried plantain chips) or salad. Or you can just get a quick dash of comfy comida Cubano with cheap snacks such as black-eyed pea fritters ($3), ham-filled croquettes ($1), or beef hash–filled mashed potato balls ($1.50).
Island time: Cuba Linda channels the island spirit with a nice selection of Kona Brewing Company suds such as the Longboard Lager and Wailua Wheat. There are Latin wines and sangria available as well.
Pick-me-up, por favor: Get your afternoon jolt with a quick cafecito (a shot of Cuban espresso with sugar) or café con leche (a double shot with steamed milk).
Sweet on you: If that sweet Cuban coffee isn’t enough, Cuba Linda has several desserts, including rice pudding, coconut flan, and puff pastries with guava and cream cheese/Cuba Linda, 1909 Salvio St., Concord, (925) 798-2822, cubalindacafe.com. Lunch and dinner Tues.–Sat.