There’s no warmer feeling than waking up to the aroma of Cuban espresso and a slice of tres leches cake. Perhaps this is the reason why there is always a crowd of people waiting for that perfect pick-me-up at Porto’s Bakery and Cafe, 3614 W Magnolia Blvd., in Burbank. Don’t be alarmed if the line snakes its way almost out the door: the friendly faces behind the Cuban bakery’s fully stocked counters make sure that you’re in and out of line and sitting with a pastry in your hand in a jiffy.
For over twenty years, the establishment’s three locations in Glendale, Downey, and Burbank have seen customers from every part of Southern California flock to their open arms in search of the best Cuban pastries and sandwiches they could find. When the Burbank location opened in 2006, locals were treated to the delicacies created by Porto’s masterful chefs. These wunderkinds were all trained in the style of the establishment’s matriarch, Rosa Porto, whose quality-over-quantity style is evident in every artfully crafted dessert.
To get the most out of your experience at Porto’s, start with the Cubano sandwich. A Cuban roll loaded with thin-sliced ham and roast beef, gooey cheese, mustard, a bit of mayo, and a couple of pickles makes this a classic bite and among the most popular sandwiches on the menu. The Medianoche is a variation of the same ingredients on a sweet, golden croissant. Each comes with a small side of fried plantain chips, providing the perfect crunch to couple with any sandwich.
The advice given to us by too many patrons to count is to pair the Cubano with at least one of Porto’s signature potato balls. These treats feature a fried mashed potato ball stuffed with meat, vegetables, and Cuban spices. These potato balls are so good and so readily available that we have to actively stop ourselves from ordering one after another of these glorious mounds of deliciousness.
For dessert, a sampling of the bakery’s classic tres leches cake is on our list of favorites. Typically, a perfectly portioned cup of this sweet treat is a slice of white cake doused in condensed, evaporated, and regular milks, great for pairing with a sweet shot of espresso with foam in the form of a cortadito.
Porto’s signature guava-cheese, meat pie, and cheese puff pastries, among others, can be boxed in dozens, making the delicacies perfect for parties and large events. Order custom sheet cakes ahead of time and head over to the cake line toward the back of the store for easier access.
Our advice is to try everything on the Porto’s menu at least once. And don’t forget to have your cafecito before you go.