Rincon Cubano

, by jberg, 12 Comments, Subscribe via Email

Ok . . .  I admit it.  I cheated on Mart!  And I’m not ashamed.  In fact, I cheated on him twice in one day!

No, not what you’re thinking, but to him, it may be just as bad.  You see . . . I went to a new restaurant, Rincon Cubano, without him.   And not only did I enjoy a delicious lunch without him . . . but I ordered dinner too!  Will he ever forgive me?

If there is someone else to blame for my transgression, I’m pinning that blame on my friend and fellow Junior Leaguer, Cady Ferguson.  In fact . . . if it wasn’t for Cady sending an email almost demanding I drop everything and head over to Rincon Cubano for a Cuban sandwich (because hers was the absolute best, most wonderful Cuban sandwich she’d ever had), I may have never known the new restaurant existed!  Ok, that’s unlikely because this place is going to get a lot of buzz.

Only open a little over two months, Rincon Cubano is found on the northeast corner of Honore Avenue and 17th Street, just south of The Meadows.  But, from my experience living in the Miami area for almost 20 years, Rincon Cubano could have been in Little Havana.  It transported me back to fond memories of food that is demasiado bueno para ser verdad.  (too good to be true!)

One of the few regrets I’ve had since moving back to Sarasota in 2005 (and there are very few), is there are so few Cuban restaurants.  When you live in Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, eating Cuban food is something many of us do 3-4 times a month!  Not only is the food delicious, but it is typically affordable, unique in taste, usually quick to the table and did I say delicious?  I cannot count the number of late night meals I enjoyed at Puerto Sagua on South Beach after a late night of clubs and dancing.  Oh to be young again!

So  while Mart was on his way to Athens, Georgia helping his daughter and son-in-law move, I drove past Ricon Cubano and told myself we should go there when he came home.  But then I drove past it again after dropping a client off, and my car — I swear it was my car — drove into the parking lot and parked.  What was I to do?

Ricon Cubano looks and smells exactly as I would hope.  There’s a bar at the front entrance that probably hosts Latin music at night, and a spacious dining room with room for large tables of family and friends.    It was late for lunch, but there were a few folks finishing their meals and ordering up Cuban coffee, another thing you rarely find in Sarasota . . .at least until NOW!     What to do. . . What to do?  Should I go with the Media Noche, similar to a Cuban sandwich with roast pork, deli ham, swiss cheese, pickles and dressing n a toasted sweet roll, (vs. the bread of a Cuban sandwich)?  It was only $5.05 . . . OR . . . should I spoil myself and order the Thursday special, a pork fricase with black bean, rice, Cuban toast and sweet plantains (yucca is an option)?

OR . . . since I’m being bad, should I go full tilt and order BOTH!  You already know what I did.  In for a penny, in for a pound.

So here’s the good thing about my visit to Rincon Cubano.  I was happy.  So happy to taste food that took me back to precious memories of meals shared with friends while a younger, carefree girl in Miami.  I was thrilled with the quality of the food, the size of the portions and the economical price.  However. . . and here’s the negative . . . there was only one of me dining, so I can only tell you about the meal I had, and Ricon Cubano deserves better than that.  It deserves repeat visits, not only by me, but anyone who enjoys Cuban cuisine.

Knowing my single lunch wouldn’t give you much exposure to the dining experience at Rincon Cubano, I put my dietary restrictions aside and thought about our SarasotaFoodies readers . . . (this blog is all about you, isn’t it?)  I did order a Media Noche sandwich to be enjoyed later that day, and more than one colleague at Coldwell Banker stopped by my office door asking “what smells so good?” when I carried my precious cargo into my office.

My thoughts on the Media Noche hours later?  Delicioso! Increíble!  I popped it in the microwave for 30 minutes to re-melt the cheese, and then let it rest on the cutting board just long enough to snap a photo.  No longer.  Did I give it the food styling of the restaurant?  No . . . but my taste buds didn’t care.  It was crunchy goodness on the outside and the perfect blend of meats, cheese, pickles and memories on the inside.  I was transported!   If you’re going to cheat on someone with a sandwich, this is the way to go.

What can I say?  If loving Cuban food is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.  I am forever addicted!




12 Responses

  1. AL says:

    Great Blog,,,,,,,,,,I LOVE Cuban Food & Can Relate To Your Experiences As An Ex South Beach Resident & Frequent Puerto Sagua Late Night Diner,,,,Now Living In Bradenton As A Cuban Food Exile.

    I Will Visit & Try This Place Tomorrow 🙂

  2. Cady Ferguson says:

    What I really like about your blog is the tone of your writing…when I read about your experiences at these restaurants it makes me want to visit all of them. You make them sound like fun ~ not a super-serious gastronomic event. So many other local reviewers seem to want to impress the reader with their food knowledge and that just makes me feel intimidated. You explain why you like the food and why a particular restaurant is interesting…and you do it in a relaxed casual way. And the photos are great, too.

    • jberg says:

      Thanks! We think you should enjoy going out to eat, whether casual or upscale. We’ll only blog about places we like so our tone will always be positive. Like we’ve said before, we pay for all our meals, so we’re putting our money where our mouth is!

  3. casey says:

    In the parking lot waiting for a Cuban and the media noche to-go to split with my boyfriend since we couldn’t decide. By the awesome smell of the place I’m sure they’ll be as awesome as you described. Great prices too. Thanks for your review.

  4. petra says:

    I found this place by accident. Absoloutely awesome cafe con leche, and the Cuban sandwich was to die for. Plan to return soon to check out the dinner specials. Hope this one makes it.

  5. Martha Gutierrez says:

    I agree! I tried this place on a whim, like you I was driving by and seen a new Cuban restaurant had opened and thought ehhh why not? I loved it, I had the Cuban Sandwich and being Cuban and a Miami transplant I have to say….It took me back to La Carreta:) I also ordered a colada and surprisingly enough wasn’t asked what that was:) I highly recommend this place!

  6. Red says:


    I am a Palm Beach/Broward transplant and my biggest regret in moving to the west coast was the obvious lack of Cuban restaurants…I have been invited to go to Rincon Saturday afternoon and after reading your enthusiasm I may not be able to wait that long! I am very happy that this place is so close to my home! Viva la cafe con leche!

  7. susan and jerry says:

    We totally agree with your review. Rincon Cubano is a gem. Cuban cuisine is one of our favorites and Rincon delivers a fantastic array of menu choices. We hope the restaurant flourishes.

  8. Michelle says:

    Casually came upon this restaurant on a late night drive to get my daughter to fall asleep in the back seat… and it was delicious! I’m Cuban and grew in Miami, and as soon as I opened the black bean container (I got take-out) I KNEW it was authentic. The smell, the richness of the beans, the bay leaf undertones: it was all there when I finally took a taste.

    Wonderful restaurant! Can’t believe it’s only been around a short time–I have to be sure that this place succeeds and stays open because I need my Cuban Food Fix in Sarasota!

    I’m spreading the word AND sharing your blog as an additional testimonial–the photos really help.

  9. Ray Mabry says:

    My wife and I went to Rincon Cubano this past Sunday and we were more than pleased with the warm inviting greating at the door as well as the cleanliness at first glance. The food was excelent and the service was fantastic.
    We highly recomend Rincon Cubano to anyone who wants great food, service with a smile at reasonable prices.

    • msolu says:

      Ricon Cubano is easily the most complimented restaurant on our blog. Seems like everyone who goes there, especially those who have enjoyed authentic Cuban food, is so pleased to find the place. We’re happy you enjoyed your experience there too! We’ve been numerous times ourselves. Great value!

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