I’ve never been to Cuba before, but I’ve been to Puerto Rico, South Beach, and parts of Norcross that have a huge Latino population. And I’ve found my way into some restaurants that offer authentic cuisine. These places aren’t usually spacious. They usually aren’t decorated with anything from this decade. They rarely come with a social media presence or a website. But the food is good and affordable.
When I was asked to come to Beni’s Cubano in Marietta, I decided to make it into a double date. Upon arrival, I noticed the Tin Lizzy’s next door. It was probably one of the biggest locations of the franchise that I’ve seen. However, Beni’s was completely different. The restaurant is tiny and dark in comparison, which automatically provides a level of intimacy that is perfect for catching up with friends.
After being seated, we immediately ordered drinks and appetizers. Ed ordered the Cuba Libre. I went with the Hotel Nacional. Our friends ordered their drinks—Beni’s Mojito and Havana Heat—before we arrived. Our appetizers were yucca fries, beef empanadas, and pineapple avocado dip. I personally enjoyed the pineapple avocado dip the most due to the hint of sweetness within the guacamole but also the plantain chips.
I don’t think it was too long before our orders came out. I ordered the ropa vieja. Honestly, I debated between ordering this and getting a salad. In hindsight, I wish I would’ve ordered a salad due to my recent craving for all things veggies but my lesson was learned. My friends ordered several things off the sandwich and large plates sections of the menu.
The dessert menu only offers bread pudding, which is my favorite dessert but definitely not one I’d associate with Cuban cuisine. This bread pudding had pecans, raisins, and a dulce de leche caramel which made it entirely too sweet for me, but maybe right on time for someone else. I’m also biased because I prefer a plain bread pudding like my grandma and mom would bake, but I’m always curious when I see it out.
We left the restaurant full and satisfied. Our waitress was attentive enough, the manager occasionally came out to converse with us and even offered us extras to take home. When we recalled our meals and experience later, we all agreed that Beni’s Cubano was a good Cuban restaurant, but if your standard is Papi’s Cuban Grill, then this might be your next best thing.
Disclosure: Our meals were compensated in exchange for writing this blog post. All opinions and commentary are mine alone.