Forget ever getting on a plane and going to Cuba, right in the heart of Hollywood lays a Cuban Restaurant and dance club that will never make you miss your Cuban roots. The food is spectacular and once the music gets cranking you are exported to a Cuban nightclub, with all of the hot Latin sounds and people.
Woman are wearing scantily clad dresses with high heels, while men are wearing Panama hats, and Hawaiian type shirts. It is very colorful with the fashion and the personalities.
I met Sandra Bonaparte at a few food events and she graciously invited me to come in, as assistant manager, she is owner Armando Castro’s right hand gal. She was a regular back in the day, then she got married, then divorced came back into the fold and Armando asked her to work for him until she found another job, she has been there since.
Armando Castro has a way of booking amazing talent as entertainment, performing at El Floridita gives musicians credibility. Once the band starts you just can’t wait to get out of your seat and Salsa, and thank god for their 8:30 salsa class open to everyone. This class will teach you the basics so you will be ready to get up and dance. Then the great band Clave Dura sets the night on fire. They have a calendar of their entertainment online.
Here’s What I tried:
Floridita Mojito Don Q Rum, blackberry puree. Fresh mint and soda, after taking a salsa class this drink hit the spot.
Hemmingway Daiquiri Cubano Don Q Limon Rum, sweet and sour, splash of OJ, with crushed ice, done in a coupe glass it is good, named after Ernest.
Cadillac Margarita Patron Repasado, Patron Citronge lime and orange juice, agave nectar, topped with Grand Marnier. This is one great margarita, sweet, smooth, and goes down really well.
Belvedere Bay Breeze Belvedere Vodka, pineapple, ad cranberry juice. This drink is very tropical and inviting.
Mojito Rum and Shrimp with Shrimp with garlic, rum, and mint. Served with garlic plantain chips. There is a lot of garlic in this dish, so if you’re planning on kissing someone after eating it be warned. But it is truly delicious and worth it.
Combination of Cuban finger foods – Chicharron de pollo, Croquettes, Papa Rellena, Empanadas, Yuca Fries, Tostones. Each one is amazing, my favorite were the empanadas, crisp light outside dough and beautiful flavored meat inside.
Soup and Salad’s
Soup of the day – Lentil, rich and thick, this soup is a great way to start your meal.
Ensalada Mixta, Tossed green salad with avocado. A very nice fragrant dressing round out all of the Cuban flavors.
Paella, Cooking time is 20-30 minutes, but well worth the wait. This seafood casserole is baked with yellow rice, chicken, pork, Spanish sausage, clam, lobster, shrimp, white fish, crab legs, onions, green peppers, tomatoes, Spanish wine, and olive oil. Garnished with peas and pimentos. My dish didn’t have any lobster, but it had lots of fresh scallops, which I love as well. This is a very flavorful rendition of Spain’s most celebrated food.
Sol, Mar, y Tierra, Grilled shrimp, filet mignon, and grilled chicken filet made with Cuban mojo. The seasonings on each and every piece of meat are off the charts, and the onions and peppers really add something special to each bite.
Yuca Con Mojo, the Yuca is steamed; it is like a potato but much sweeter, I just love the way they did this side dish.
They walk around during your meal with a huge bowl of beans to accompany your delicious dishes.
Ice Cream Sundae, wonderful and refreshing, just save some room.
Flan, probably the best flan ever tasted!!
Concha T Toro Casillero Diablo Chardonnay, this wine was good but really did not add anything to the food.
Sterling, Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, this would be my wine choice with all of the seafood dishes, truly a lovely fruity wine.
Terrazas Altos Del Plata, Malbec, Argentina, this wine was very jammy and was ideal with the filet mignon.
Greystone Cabernet, 2014, CA. I liked the pepper, leather quality is this glorious Cabernet, and it went great with the chicken and the filet mignon.
Their world famous salsa Monday’s were made popular by the late Johnny Polanco – Johnny Polanco Y Su Conjunto Amistad played every Monday for 24 years. He was one of the most sought-after bandleaders in the U.S. and gained the distinction for making the type of contagious Latin Music that is truly appreciated by salsa dancers and musicians worldwide. Prince was one of his biggest fans and would often fly into town just to hear Johnny play. Johnny is no longer with us, but the legacy he helped to create lives on, every Monday, week after week.
El Floridita Restaurant in Hollywood was founded in 1987. El Floridita is named after the famous Bodeguita in La Habana Cuba, made famous by Ernest Hemingway, which was there for 300 years. It is the most authentic Cuban experience in all of Los Angeles.
My waiter Diego Hernandez has been at El Floridita for 30 years, he has seen a lot of people come and go. People come from all over, lots of European and Japanese as well as locals, regulars. So its a great special occasion location, including birthdays, and anniversaries.
The interiors very basic, with café style wrought iron chairs and maroon tablecloths. There are white lights that are strewn over the entire place which makes for a very festive experience. The stage is smack dab in the middle of the room so as not to miss anything in any seat. They have a wood dance floor and a bar area. If you don’t want to eat dinner but just want to come to dance you can pay a $15.00 cover charge and hang out at the bar. There are many regulars that come every weekend. Some of them met here and have since fallen in love; it is all so sweet and romantic.
Whatever your passion is you will find a new one here at El Floridita, where the Cuban food will tantalize you and the dancing will lift your spirits. Regulars know the drill and how El Floridita is like one big extended family, it is so much fun that I too will become at regular. El Floridita has offered live entertainment every Monday, Friday, and Saturday for over 30 years. My biggest advise, pace yourself, because you’re in for one unique wild ride. I would say give this place a whirl, from its fancy Latin cuisine to its hot beats you just can’t go wrong!!
Hours: Mon: 11:00 am – 2:00 am, Tue: 11:00 am – 9:00 pm, Wed: 11:00 am – 9:00 pm, Thu: 11:00 am – 9:00 pm, Fri: 11:00 am – 2:00 am, Sat: 11:00 am – 2:00 am, Sun: 11:00 am – 9:00 pm
1253 Vine St,
Los Angeles, CA 90038
* Note some content was taken off of their website.