Favorite Dish: The Jibarito Sandwich at Mamacita's Mexican Bar and Grill in Hollywood

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of South Florida and help keep the future of New Times free.

With so many restaurants in South Florida, and more opening all the time, just picking where to go for dinner on a Saturday night or lunch on a Wednesday can be an overwhelming task. Sometimes, you just need a reason. This ongoing list of the favorite dishes from food writers who know the local scene will help you discover new restaurants, cafes, and eateries and maybe even a new favorite dish of your own.

Mexican food from Chicago. It seems like a funny idea when you roll up to Mamacita's Mexican Bar and Grill off the beachside boardwalk in Hollywood, where it advertises itself as a Chicago original establishment. But it makes sense once you learn that founders Jose and Maria Gomez owned and operated chain of restaurants in the Windy City, named after their son: Marlon's Mexican Grill. 

Today, the family's Hollywood restaurant offers a mix of Mexican and Cuban cuisine, and many of the recipes on the plastic-laminated menu are based on family secrets. There are the usual offerings: enchiladas, picadillo, tostadas, burritos, flautas, tacos, and fajitas.  The place also serves breakfast starting at 11 a.m., where you can pair a cafe con leche with the Mexican breakfast platter of fried eggs served on lightly fried corn tortillas, and topped with a mild homemade salsa over Mexican rice and refried beans.

The most popular dish of all, however, is also deemed a "Chicago original" — the jibarito sandwich, what was once a big-selling menu item at Marlon's Mexican Grill. Of all of Chicago's original foods, not many know about this one, said to be created by Puerto Rican immigrants at Borinquen Restaurant (closed now) in Humboldt Park. Today, dozens of Chicago establishments make their own version of the jibarito much the same way others queue up hot dogs, deep dish pies, and Italian beef sandwiches.

The jibarito's most distinctive feature is its use of smashed, fried plantains as bread, the resulting sandwich often made with some kind of meat stuffed in-between. At Mamacita's, it comes with your choice of steak or chicken placed between two thick, crispy plantain buns slathered in a creamy garlic mayo, and finished with American cheese, lettuce, and tomato.

Nicole Danna is a food writer covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on the BPB New Times Food & Drink Instagram.

Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in South Florida.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in South Florida.