I was first introduced to Porto’s Bakery & Café through co-workers who occasionally brought pastries from the Glendale storefront to work. They were different and delicious, unlike any other sweets I’d had before. It wasn’t until the second location opened in Burbank in January of 2006 that I actually went into a Porto’s and discovered what a wide and varied menu they offer. In addition to the popular tres leches cake, cheese rolls, and guava strudel, you can indulge in a number of sandwiches and salads.
While I’m quite fond of the steak torta, I usually gravitate toward the café’s “house specialties,” especially the potato balls and rellenitos. The potato ball, or papa rellena, is mashed potato filled with seasoned ground beef that is lightly breaded and fried. The meat reminds me of sloppy joe meat. It’s comfort food you can hold in your hand. They are so good that I didn’t mind eating them when it was over 100 degrees.
The rellenito pairs nicely with the savory potato ball. It is sweet plantain filled with black beans and coated in sugar. The flavors work so well together. While not technically a “meal,” you can make one out of these. They are dense and filling and oh so scrumptious. Also, a potato ball or rellenito will set you back only 90 cents. A true bargain.
The family-run Cuban bakery and café currently has two locations, one at 315 North Brand Blvd. in Glendale and the other at 3614 W. Magnolia Blvd. in Burbank. A third location in Downey is slated to open sometime this year. The establishments are quite popular, especially on weekends, so be prepared to stand in line while waiting to place your order. The staff at the Burbank location are fast and very friendly and the food is worth the wait.