CUhl Restaurant Review • Pambiche
Updated: Mar 14, 2021
What is Pambiche?
"For over 17 years, Pambiche has been nourishing Portland with traditional Cuban dishes that have been in the Maribona family for generations.
We serve Cuban comfort food straight out of grandma’s kitchen with an emphasis on fresh, natural and healthy meals, just as she intended.
Located in the Apambichao Building, a funky turn of the century Victorian landmark on Portland’s East 28th Avenue, our scene is straight up Old Havana and our hospitality is genuinely Cuban!"
Where is it?
2811 NE Glisan St, Portland, OR 97232
It's right on the corner of 28th & Glisan in the Kerns neighborhood in northeast Portland.
What is it like?
It's a cute, quaint, colorful little restaurant with small tables, a four seat bar top, an open kitchen, and a dessert case. I have never been to Cuba, but after eating here, I feel almost as if I have. It's a colorful and friendly environment with historical art and tactful Cuban decor.
When is it open?
11am-10pm • Mon-Thurs
11am-12am • Fri
9am-12am • Sat
9am-10pm • Sun
Serving Lunch, Dinner & Weekend Brunch
CUhl Rating (out of 5 stars)
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Quality of Service:
This place is so small that you're greeted with a smile as soon as you walk in the door. The servers are very knowledgeable and it pays off to mention it if, (like me) you aren't familiar with Cuban food. They happily explain what things are and don't seem to mind excessive questions.
Quality of Food:
I've been very fortunate to work with Pambiche and was able to try a decent variety of their dishes. You can taste how these recipes are family rooted. The flavor pops and is well paired throughout the menu.
The menu features a variety of options including lots of specialty cocktails, cuban coffee beverages, extensive desserts, apps, sandwiches, salads, and entrées. There's lots of variety, but it's very well organized. Most of the menu titles are Spanish, so it pays to read the descriptions if you aren't familiar.
A few of their dishes:
Tostones Y Maduros
Tostones are the fried plantains and the Maduros are the caramelized plantains. The tostones almost taste like a chip. It's thick and slightly crunchy with a mostly savory yet very subtle taste. It's perfectly paired almost like a chip and dip concept with any of their salads (ensaladas) because their salads are more like slaws versus a traditional leafy salad. The Tostones and Maduros are both served with a pickled cabbage slaw.
As an uncultured American, this dish very much made me think of fries. It essentially is Cuba's fries. The yuca root is very similar in consistency to a potato, but it's lighter, fluffier if I dare say. It also tastes very similar to a potato but it also tastes lighter but is still full of flavor much like a fry. The garlic mojo sauce is a great compliment it's thin and tangy.
This is their beet salad. It's slightly sweet but is perfectly pickled with a very fresh undertone from the cilantro and onions. It's a refreshingly palatable beet.
Ensalada de Aguacate
This is their avocado salad. It's tart and is doused in a yummy lime sauce. This made me think of guacamole and I used the Tostones like chips. It's a generous portion of avocado and is wonderfully different than a guacamole. The avocado is in large chunks rather than being smushed up and much like the remolacha is freshened up by the blend of citrus sauce and the fresh onions.
Plato Cubano Creole Pork
This plate made me think of mom's stew but as a plate. This is considered the "typical Cuban plate" and the meat is tender, juicy and full of flavor. The sauce is savory and gravy-like it comes with rice & beans which gives it a delightful texture. It's garnished with a deliciously fresh and bright pickled cabbage slaw.
I could continue on with this, but by now you get the idea and it's time to head down and try it for yourself. When you do though, be sure to use the house made sauces and stay for the delectable third course. Their desserts are carefully constructed and all made in house by their very own pastry chefs. The taste as good as they look.
Keep Pambiche alive for many more years to come and go eat Cuban cuisine!