The Cuban Restaurant That Stands by Its Name

By Viollette Doloricon

The Roast Pork Leg at El Criollo.

The Roast Pork Leg at El Criollo.

El Criollo Restaurant has served the Valley since 1982, and in 2012 established its Bar & Grill outpost in Burbank. Alberto Sera, owner and director, takes pride in their namesake. “El Criollo is Spanish for home-style and authentic: we use higher quality meats, plus the ingredients are constantly being tweaked by our head chef – my mother, Niurca Sera.”

Cuban cuisine is typically a chicken, pork, beef, or seafood dish, and is prepared by grilling and/or simmering. “The focus is on flavor and consistency more than anything.”

El Criollo’s most popular dish is the “Rabo Encendido”: a hearty stew of oxtail. Alberto’s favorite go-to meal is the “Pollo en Salsa de Ajo”: a stewed chicken in garlic. Cuban dishes are traditionally served with the standard sides: white rice, black beans, and sweet fried plantains.

Alberto is excited for Holiday catering season, and can’t wait to bust out the traditional “Roast Pork Leg.” It weighs 25 lbs. and is oven roasted for 6-7 hours. The result is a succulent dish that leaves a satisfied smile on his guests’ faces!

So go pay a visit to El Criollo Bar & Grill in Burbank or their flagship Van Nuys location and experience a gustatory explosion of flavors that are truly Cuban, or have them cater your next party!

El Criollo Restaurant in Van Nuys is located at 6622 Van Nuys Blvd. (5). El Criollo Cuban Bar & Grill in Burbank is located at 916 W Burbank Blvd. (1). Visit for more information or to make reservations.