Cuban Cafe La Tinaj is located in Cocoa Florida off of US1 in a tiny strip mall only visible by a little trailer wrapped with the restaurant logo in the parking lot. In my commute from my house to tours, I feel like I have passed this place 1000 times. After finally getting to try them out I am embarrassed to say I had not tried them earlier.
As a self-proclaimed “foodie” I should know all the hidden gems, and especially if one of these gems is in my daily commute. From now on I will always make a point to pay more attention because I have been missing out. The food from La Tinaja was hands down the best Cuban food I have tasted on the Space Coast.
Now typically in our reviews, we get a chance to speak with the owners and have a great deal of knowledge. That was not the case in this post but we hope to be able to change that in the future. This time we placed our order through a commercial delivery service. I think we did good on our selection and despite being a takeout meal we felt that everything held its quality.
The main reason I tried this place out because one of our local Facebook food groups had recently been having a discussion about who has the best Cuban Sub. Due to the close proximity to my house and the offering of a delivery service my decision was more than easy.
For our order we had Croquetas De Jamon, Papa Rellena, Empanadas de Carne, Tamale Cubano
Croquetas De Jamon
The order came with two ham Croquetas and by far the best ones I have ever tried, golden-brown crust with a soft tasty inside. It was like biting into a stick of hammy goodness.
The fried cassava with our special house mojo was awesome, they didn’t hold as well in the travel as would most french fry like items.
I have never tried one of these before so just went ahead and gave it a shot anyway. Happy I did! Definitely a unique and tasty menu item. Its a potato ball stuffed with seasoned meat and lightly fried. It could have used more meat but was still tasty none the less. What shocked me was how fluffy the potatoes were, the meat was packed full of flavor and even the little olive was tasty just wish there was more of it.
Empanadas De Carne
A crunchy pastry shell filled with shredded beef.
I am a huge fan of Empanada’s like they are my comfort food. So many memories of visiting friends’ houses and having these and both Jamaican beef patties. There is something about a tender flakey crunchy crust, stuffed with a meaty filling packed full of flavor. Typically every place I go to uses ground meat as an option. So when I saw the option of shredded beef in addition to the ground beef I had to jump on the chance to try these.
I am so glad that I did, the meat was so flavorful and soon as you cracked the empanada open the smells smacked you in the face. The crust was flakey and not over-fried at all, juicy tender meat. Each and every bike was crispy, soft, tender deliciousness. I think I’ll return down the road and just order a bag full of these alone for lunch.
I’m a huge tamal fan, and these were perfect and everything you would expect from a good Cuban tamale. The husk had a rope around it as they should but through my experience when I find Tamles they are just the insides served up on a dish. This was done correctly in my opinion. The corn was so flavorful and you could taste the saffron through every bite. The menu set bits of pork but my Tamale was filled up with nice big chunks. As with everything in cooking the best meals are neve 100% the same. This is probably what happened with the Papa Rellena
THE CUBAN SANDWICH! Now, this is what we came for! I love love love Cuban subs, and the main reason being it’s so SIMPLE. Don’t take this the wrong way, simple is good, its something that a line cook or microwave at a franchise can’t mess up. One of my favorite Cubans is from the gas station 7/11. Yes, I said it and I tell you what most will tell you the same.
The thing is with simple dishes they can be made average by so many that when they are done right… I have tears saying it they are AMAZING. Ham, Pork, Pickles, Cheese, Bread, Pickles that’s it! But if love is put into the ingredients wich the chef treats as individual meals it stands out. This sandwich was perfection and HUGE! We split it 3 ways, every bite was perfect and packed with flavor, the bread was perfectly pressed and not overdone just the correct amount of crunch on the outside and tender bread on the inside.
Coconut and Cream Cheese Empanada
I was hesitant to try this, glad i did not overly thick cream cheese and light flaky crust with just the perfect amount of coconut shreds in every bite. Looking forward to trying the passion fruit next time.
Thanks for reading!
This is only our first time trying Cuban Cafe La Tinija and we are definitely looking forward to them again. Thank you so much for reading our blog, be sure to give us a follow on social media, and if you are ever in Brevard County be sure to book a tour with us!