The Cuban sandwich at El Recreo Cuban Bakery on State Road 7 in Margate is exactly what you want the classic sandwich to be: Its two slices of Cuban bread are pressed flat as a sheet of granite, buttery and crisp. In between is stuffed with fresh pulled pork and slices of sweet, pressed ham; a pair best accented by melted cheese, yellow mustard, and sour pickles. At $5 for a foot-long sandwich, its as cheap a lunch as it is filling. Finish it off with a creamy cafe con leche and a Cuban pastelito filled with guava jam and you're good to go.
El Recreo is a busy little bakery that makes all sorts of Cuban
pastries. The inside is cramped, with a few tables and a long but stubby
lunch counter against one wall and a series of display cases hugging
the small prep area. Each are filled with pastelitos -- little puff
pastries with fruit jam wedged between the layers -- containers of
homemade flan, and croquetas made with ham and cheese. The ladies behind
the counter are quick and friendly, and speak both English and Spanish
fluently. They'll wrap up big to go orders in sheets of baking paper or
fill plastic bags with fried chicarons for you to take away.
A pastelito, cafe con leche, and Cuban sandwich for lunch costs under
$8. You can sub out the Cuban for other sandwich varieties like steak,
chicken, or a medianoche (a croquette sandwich with ham and cheese). You
can't order it at midnight, however: El Recreo closes at 5 p.m. most
nights, and at 2 p.m. on Sundays.
El Recreo Cuban Bakery
310 S. State Road 7, Margate 33068
Open Monday through Wednesday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday and Friday 7
a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.