The Orange County restaurant landscape has recently been blessed with Bella Cuba. A famous Cuban proverb says, "A love that can last forever takes but a second to come about." I can think of no better way to describe the love affair that your taste buds will discover when they are exposed, if but for a moment, to the incredible flavors being presented at Bella Cuba.
When you work at the most iconic and famous Cuban Food restaurant in Los Angeles, you pick up a few things. The owner honed his restaurateur skills at a well-known Cuban restaurant for more than 25 years and has brought the flavor, presentation and sense of family that is what Cuban cuisine is all about to Santa Ana and located it right across the street from South Coast Plaza.
The roasted garlic chicken is legendary in L.A. and the owner hasn't missed a beat with it at Bella Cuba. Practically falling off the bone when you simply look at it, the crispy skin and delectably marinated meat guarantee your palate a love at first bite experience, a mixture of flavors and texture almost too good to be true.
All of the Cuban favorites are on the menu. Ropa Vieja, which is Spanish for "Old Clothes" is true Cuban comfort food, feeling good like a comfy shirt and faded, stone washed jeans. Tender shredded beef simmered in a tempting sauce served, as are most of the dishes at Bella Cuba, with rice, black beans, and sweet plantains.
The garlic shrimp is served in a spiced, garlic butter sauce that will have you asking your server for more bread, so as not to miss a drop.
I would drink that sauce if it were served in a shot glass.
Bella Cuba also features a Cuban Paella for one or two. Suggest calling ahead for this one as the menu indicates it takes 45 minutes to prepare.
The restaurant is spacious and very clean, there is an ample selection of wines and both bottled and draft beers. Word is spreading fast, the restaurant was packed at 6:00 PM on a Friday evening after having been open less than three weeks.
Bella Cuba is located at the corner of Bristol and Sunflower in the Ross Shopping Center. Take out is also available.