Maybe it was because I was in Havana, but the best Cuban sandwich I can remember having was in the garden overlooking the Malecón seafront at the historic Hotel Nacional de Cuba, an Art Deco beauty that would not be out of place in Rockefeller Center. That was in 2003, and I’ve had very good Cuban sandwiches before and since, in Miami and in New York. (The Cuban sandwich is said to have originated in Florida, among tobacco workers.) Yet as much as I enjoy the sandwich, I’ve never tackled layering and pressing a stack of pork loin, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard on a Cuban-style baguette. But even Covid-19 can’t change that, since there are plenty of options in New York for takeout and delivery.
This East Harlem spot’s El Cubano ($12.50) is classic.
2018 Third Avenue (111th Street), 212-996-1220, amorcubanonyc.com.
A $16 Cuban sandwich comes with yucca fries or plantain chips.
210 East Third Street (Avenue B), 212-614-3080, cafecortadito.com.
The standard Cuban is $13.95; piña coladas and margaritas are $6.
17 Prince Street (Elizabeth Street), 212-625-2001, cafehabana.com.
A Cuban sandwich is not a far cry from an Italian pressed panino, as Pino Luongo is demonstrating at his Italian spot in SoHo. It wasn’t his idea. Customers who noted that the restaurant has a panini press started requesting it. It’s made with a split focaccia instead of bread, called Coco Cubano ($12), and is available Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Bargain cocktails are also available for $8.
160 Prince Street (Thompson Street), 917-261-6318, cocopazzonyc.com.
This diner-style spot has a Cubano for $10.95.
207 West 14th Street, 212-858-5001, ilovecoppelia.com.
Floridita Broadway and Floridita 10th Avenue
These uptown spots — one in Washington Heights, the other in Inwood — are known for sandwiches, not just the standard Cuban. A regular Cuban is $6 and the special with smoked ham is $7.50, both on a choice of Italian or egg bread.
4162 Broadway (West 177th Street) 212-928-0653; 3856 10th Ave (206th Street), 212-567-4848, floriditanyc.com.
The Cuban sandwich is $13 at the Midtown West location and in Forest Hills, Queens. Add a pitcher of mojitos, plain or in flavors like mango and coconut, for $50.
939 Eighth Avenue (56th Street), 212-262-5354; 110-80 Queens Boulevard (73rd Road), Forest Hills, Queens, 718-575-5755, guantanamerany.com.
Vistamar Restaurant & Lounge
The menu at this Latin seaside restaurant includes a $15 Cubano.
565 City Island Avenue (Cross Street), 718-709-0888, vistamarcityisland.com.
Mark Fahrer, the caterer who owns MF Events, was supplying food for some health care facilities and manufacturers and has now pivoted to create an online market for delivery and pickup from his base in Brooklyn. The chef Corey Cash is working with him to prepare a menu of smoked barbecue items, cocktails and sandwiches to go. Among the sandwiches is La Cubana, made with smoked pork, barbecue-roasted ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and sauce on a pressed hero ($12). There’s also a vegetarian La Cubana with smoked jackfruit and smoked beets ($12). It can also be made vegan.
96 Knickerbocker Avenue (Thames Street), East Williamsburg, 718-781-7346, knickerbockermarket.com.
My Cuban Spot
Here, the chef and owner, Louie Estrada, a Cuban-American from Miami, calls his classic sandwich “The Boss,” $11.
488 Carroll Street (Third Avenue), Gowanus, 718-855-1941, mycubanspot.com.
Pilar Cuban Eatery
This restaurant — and not its sibling bakery, which is closed — is selling Cuban sandwiches, $16.
397 Greene Avenue (Bedford Avenue), Bedford-Stuyvesant, 718-623-2822, pilarny.com.
Sabor de Cuba
The Cuban sandwich is $12, and 12-ounce mojitos to go are $10.
37-03 31st Avenue (37th Street), Astoria, 718-777-1693, sabordecubaastoria.com.
This elegant Spanish restaurant just off the ferry also serves several Latin-American specialties. Its Cuban sandwich, El Cubano, $14, has tangy paprika-rubbed Mahón cheese from the island of Menorca and cured Spanish ham.
11 Schuyler Street (Richmond Terrace), St. George, 718-816-8162, besonyc.com.
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