Porto’s Bakery and Cafe is a loud and lively LA institution selling pastries and awesome Cuban comfort food to Angelenos for decades. All three of its locations (Glendale, Burbank and Downey) have counter service only and the lines are usually long, but move fast. With so many delicious offerings, the only real crisis at Porto’s is deciding what to order. Here are my seven favorites:
1. Potato Balls. Also known as Papas Rellenas, these are balls of mashed potatoes which have been filled with seasoned ground beef and deep fried; kind of a spherical mini Shepherd’s Pie. This is my favorite thing at Porto’s and an absolute must-have.
2. Rellenitos. These are small pieces of sweet plantains filled with black beans and coated with sugar. I love plantains and these little concoctions are not too sweet and perfect for an appetizer.
3. Chorizo Pies. Another favorite of mine are these Spanish-style empanadas with a flaky, buttery pastry dough crust and stuffed with spicy ground pork sausage. What’s not to love?
4. Hot-Pressed Sandwiches. There are fifteen sandwich choices, but my favorites are the hot-pressed Cubano (Cuban Sandwich) with slow roasted pork, ham, Swiss cheese, butter, mayo/mustard and pickles on Cuban Bread, and the Medianoche (Midnight Sandwich) which is the same as the Cubano except on a sweet roll.
5. Mariquitas (Plantain Chips). Crispy, salty and slightly sweet, these are perhaps the best chips ever. They come with all of the sandwiches or you can get a separate order with a side of Cuban garlic sauce.
6. Tres Leches Cake. I’m actually not a huge fan of the kind of creamy, fancy pastries sold at Porto’s, although most people love these desserts. I do however love Porto’s traditional Tres Leches Cake. Soaked in three kinds of milk and topped with meringue, this yellow sponge cake is moist and delicious.
7. Malta Soda. Malta is an acquired taste. Sometimes known as “Children’s Beer,” it’s a carbonated non-alcoholic malt soda which is essentially unfermented dark beer. It’s sweet and tastes like molasses. Other beverages at Porto’s include horchata, mango smoothies, mamey shakes and coffee drinks such as cafe con leche and dulce de leche latte.
Porto’s Bakery & Cafe is located at 3614 W. Magnolia Blvd in Burbank, 315 N. Brand Blvd in Glendale and 8233 Firestone Blvd in Downey.