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Though non-Angelenos might only know Silver Lake as part of what The New York Times called “LA’s Hipster Trifecta,” there’s a lot more to this part of town than poorly researched caricatures. For example, there’s the lasting impact of the large Cuban community that blossomed in the neighborhood in the ’70s and ’80s. The family-run Cuban restaurants here are a prime example of that, and my favorite is El Cochinito - their lechón asado is damn near perfect, with tender and crispy slow-grilled pork punctuated by bright citrus and cumin. There’s also their Cubano, which was literally named the best Cuban sandwich in the world. You can also get an impressive selection of tropical cocktails and natural wine here, too. Owner Daniel Navarro, whose grandmother founded the place in 1988, also recently took over Cafe Tropical, a bodega and cafe down the street that has been open since the ’70s. I frequently hit this spot up, too, for Cuban espressos and tremendous guayaba and queso pastries.
Not only does this family-owned restaurant win the award for being the most criminally overlooked lunch spot in Silver Lake, but they also serve the best Cuban sandwich in the entire world (seriously). Plus, all of the sandwiches here, including that aforementioned Cuban, cost about $10, and their larger plates, like their ropa vieja, lechon asado, and marinated palomilla steak, cost less than $20. El Cochinito is available for takeout and delivery - call (323) 668-0737 or find them on the apps.
There’s nothing at El Cochinito, the Cuban spot in Silver Lake, that you’ll find at many baseball stadiums - except for absolutely rabid baseball fans. So it’s the ideal place to pick up food and talk sports while you wait for your Cubano, ropa vieja, and piña colada. They even sell Dodgers/El Cochinito merchandise, and sometimes have game day specials like jalapeño-nacho cheese dogs and garlic fries - call (323) 668-0737 to order.
El Cochinito’s Cuban sandwich isn’t just the best in Silver Lake, or even the best in the city - according to the International Cuban Sandwich Festival, it’s the best in the world. And now, you can enjoy this award-winning sandwich from the comfort (and safety) of your own home, where you’ve been busy contemplating life’s greatest questions, like “Is Michael Barbaro cute?” and “How hard is it to cut your own bangs, really?” In addition to the aforementioned sandwiches, this family-owned restaurant is also offering plates of their slow roasted pork, arroz con leche, and tons of beer and wine. Available for takeout and delivery - call (323) 668-0737 or find them on the apps.