After my disappointment following the closing of my favorite little taqueria, Taquria Los Parados, I've been on an even bigger mission to find the great mom and pop restaurants in Las Vegas. I recently found a great Cuban one in the Northwest called Varadero that needs our support as the strip mall it's in isn't what you'd call bustling.
It's hard to find good Cuban food in Vegas, and sadly we've lost a few of the better Cuban restaurants to the recession. I generally go to Havana Cafe on Eastern, but as much as I enjoy it I can't really say it's frugal. Varadero is frugal, however, and the food is just as good, if not better.
I'm itching to try more on the menu because both times I've gone everything has been just delicious. The traditional black bean soup is well done ($2.25), but a more interesting soup is the Crema Aurora, a cream based tomato and cheese concoction ($2.95). The heavy "soup" is actually more reminiscent of a dip, which paired wonderfully with the complimentary toasted Cuban garlic bread.
The Ropa Vieja ($10.75), meaning "torn clothes," was better than any I can remember having had. The rich, tomato based broth was reduced to perfect gravy consistency, and the shredded beef was tender without being mushy. Another highlight was the Arroz con Pollo ($10.95). It consisted of a juicy roasted half chicken hidden under a bed of creamy, saffron colored Cuban risotto. Both entrees came with maduros, or sweet fried plantains, and moros y cristianos, black beans and white rice cooked together. The latter wasn't done as well as at Havana Cafe but the maduros were as good as you can get.
For the prices and food quality you can't beat Varadero for Cuban food. It's one of the few good non-chains in the Northwest. Great service and friendly staff, too.
5081 N. Rainbow Blvd. Ste. 100
Las Vegas, NV 89130
Restaurant Rating: 9
Black Bean Soup: 9
Crema Aurora: 9
Arroz con Pollo: 9.5
Ropa Vieja: 9.5