El Criollo
El Criollo

El Criollo

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.cubanfoodla.com/
  • Phone: (818) 785-8625
  • Hours of Operation:

    Lunch: Tuesday - Friday: 11:30AM - 4:00PM. Saturday - Sunday: 12:00PM - 4:00PM.
    Dinner: Tuesday - Wednesday, Sunday: 4:00PM - 8:00PM. Thursday - Saturday: 4:00PM - 9:00PM.
    Closed: Monday.
  • Payment Options: Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Cuban
  • Executive Chef: Niurca Sera
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Beer, Delivery, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Takeout, Wheelchair Access
  • Catering: El Criollo offers catering for all types of occasions. Whether your hosting a small gathering or a large event, we can accommodate you.
  • Private Party Facilities: We offer the restaurant for private events and gatherings.
  • Private Party Contact: Albert Sera 8187858625

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Kittridge St.
  • Parking: Private Lot
  • Parking Details: There is a private lot behind the restaurant that is accessible via an alley that can be entered from Kittridge St. or Vanowen St. Parking is allowed on the restaurant and dental office sides.
A word from El Criollo
El Criollo has established itself as a freshly modern, yet still traditional full-service restaurant in the bustling downtown Van Nuys area. We of El Criollo are driven by the genuine aim to provide excellent, personable service complemented by the finest, most flavorful Cuban cuisine.

El Criollo's interior includes classic exposed brick walls, a high open ceiling, beautifully soft serenading Cuban music and poster-size images of vintage magazine covers and print ads. The restaurant offers deliciously delectable food with an updated, though still very classic look and feel – so much like a bodega in Old Havana. Our spacious dining room seats 60-plus with a bar offering fabulous wine, beer and cocktails.
Continued
Foodspotting photos
See all photos
El Criollo reviews from OpenTable diners
3 reviews since July 26, 2014
Overall Rating4.3
  • Food5
    Service3.7
  • Ambiance3
    Noise LevelModerate
100% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
neighborhood gem (3)good for groups (2)hot spot (1)fit for foodies (1)great for lunch (1)kid-friendly (1)Show More
  • Tasty food, not so great ambiance
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 8/24/2014
    I really love the food in this place. I'm Cuban born and raised so believe me when I tell you the food is amazing! But, and here comes the butt, the lighting in this place kills the mood. Also when I showed up last time they had the TV on instead of music. If I want to watch some badly spanish voiceover movie and could just stay home and tune into Univision. These does really kill the vibe of the place.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 2 ratings-only reviews submitted since July 26, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.5
    • Food5
    • Ambiance4
    • Service4
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 25 reviews are from the El Criollo reviews archive.
  • el criollo
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 6/15/2014
    This place was recommended by cuban friends as an authentic cuban restaurant. It was ok...not better than versailles. Looked like a family owned restaurant, very friendly but extremely slow especially for it not being so busy.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, good for groups, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Really good food. Everyone
    AlxPVIP
    Dined on 4/5/2014
    Really good food. Everyone at my table tried a different dish which we all tasted, everything tasted great. This restaurant has been here for years, definitely worth a try. We will go back.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Food
    Fit4foodie
    Dined on 1/4/2014
    The food was very good and authentic. It was my first time and I would go back. I want to try so many more dishes.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Best Cuban Food In LA!!!
    LoLoVIP
    Dined on 10/10/2013
    We loved this place, really homemade delicious fresh food and friendly service!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Searching for that Good Cuban Food
    Mejoy2
    Dined on 9/11/2013
    I was hoping to have something to compete/compare to Versaille fortunately they're still open and I can go back. The best part was the appetizer menu....I purchased the pork it was extremely dry and tasteless. It was accompanied by white rice...which lacked salt and any form of flavor. I'd love to be able to say i'd go back but I can't waste money on poor quality food. Perhaps they should dine at some of the other cuban spots to get an idea of what it SHOULD taste like.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • I have searched far and wide
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 8/11/2013
    I have searched far and wide for a Cuban restaurant with great food and Cuban ambience. My journey has ended. The place is charming with such a welcoming atmosphere. The mango tea was refreshing, not too sweet and had that wonderful mango aroma. The tostones (fried green plantain) were as good as mine! The main dishes were delicious and generous. Will I be back? As the fellow clearing the tables told me as I left, "es su casa." I was home.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Cuban delicious
    SandyjkVIP
    Dined on 6/2/2013
    We tried this Cuban restaurant in Van Nuys in anticipation of our upcoming trip to Cuba. Fresh and tasty food cooked by Cubans fit the bill. Everything was delicious. The service was gracious and friendly.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for brunch, neighborhood gem, hot spot, great for lunch, special occasion, kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Very poor service, food took
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 4/13/2013
    Very poor service, food took very long . The waiter forgot about my wife's drink after we asked 3 times he bought it . Very high price for the food and service. .. Will not come back.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Simple but good
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 3/31/2013
    The short version: Very tasty food, immaculate place, friendly but slow service. The long version: The neighborhood is eh but once you get inside the place is an extremely clean & charming. Brick walls, retro Cuban posters, modern furniture. The TVs playing sports on the wall didn't fit IMHO The food was prepared well & flavorful. We had the stewed chicken, the fish in tomato sauce & the fried vegetarian plate. We were all happy but agreed it wasn't outstanding. I think that is because of the type of food it is. I mean how excited can you get over rice & beans right? Our waiter was nice but forgot to bring our Mojito and messed up an item we ordered. Maybe it was an off day.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • hole in the wall but what
    PlainjaneVIP
    Dined on 2/6/2013
    hole in the wall but what a swell server! she explained the unfamiliar beverages and delivered an amazing appetizer assortment, all just delicious. also loved the yerba mate soft drink. and the leftovers were nicely packaged as well.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Good quality and lovely service.
    AliswonderVIP
    Dined on 1/23/2013
    Good quality and lovely service. A nice place for dinner.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • A great, casual neighborhood
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 12/30/2012
    A great, casual neighborhood spot that's a step above a hole in the wall. Awesome mojitos. We came with friends to try something new and we were glad we did. Shrimp in garlic was so good, everyone had to dip some bread to soak up the sauce. Service was friendly with just the right amount of attention.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Food and service are outstanding
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 9/6/2012
    Food and service are outstanding for in house and taking out dining.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great foot - Great service
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 8/18/2012
    Great foot - Great service - Since we attended, others have recommended. This will be a repeat ! ! !
    Special Features:
    great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great Cuban food, our favorite
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 6/23/2012
    Great Cuban food, our favorite ever since La Cubana in Glendale closed.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The food at El Criollo certainly
    OpenTable Diner Since 2002VIP
    Dined on 5/5/2012
    The food at El Criollo certainly has potential. Not all of it was necessarily "hot" when it arrived, but the flavor was there. This place is in a fairly run down neighborhood, but it has parking and the interiors are comfortable and pleasant. The service was not necessarily very encouraging, interactive or helpful, which is something of a downer for a local, small place. Overall, I think I would give this place another chance, but if there is no sign of improvement, it's probably going to end up closing... which is sad since, as I said, I actually do think they have potential.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Nice place, but waiter was eh.
    Roxana
    Dined on 5/4/2012
    They give you a decent amount of food, although it's not really the best I've tasted. Kind of dry and you could tell the onions on my steak had been sitting out for a while. The waiter was attentive, but he seemed a little overly amused at my husband not being able to say the Spanish words on the menu. He even corrected him at one point in a way I found to be borderline rude. I'm Hispanic, so I can say it all, but I don't appreciate my husband receiving almost patronizing treatment for not being able to do the same.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Was taking a client to lunch
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011VIP
    Dined on 4/24/2012
    Was taking a client to lunch and there were VERY few options near his office in Van Nuys. Mostly fast food. Found El Criollo on Opentable when doing my search, and could not have been happier with the choice. It does not look like much from the outside, but the interior is great - open brick walls, nice vibe. The food was excellent. Extremely tender chicken with flavorful sauces. Definitely a gem.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Our first visit to this Cuban
    rgzspickVIP
    Dined on 3/23/2012
    Our first visit to this Cuban restaurant, and the food was very good. I had a grilled chicken dish with fried onions and my wife a pounded beefsteak---both fine. The appetizers of empanadas and the Cuban tamale were good starters. The portions are ample and the service was very good. We plan to return.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Went to meet an old pal for
    pkeenanVIP
    Dined on 3/2/2012
    Went to meet an old pal for lunch and decided upon this authentic Cuban restaurant in Van Nuys. The food was great. There were three of us. We covered all the food bases. One person had the Pollo Asada (chicken). It was a mild dish but fresh and well cooked. Another person had "Old Clothes" Ropa Vieja (beef). That too was mild. I had the Cammarones al Ajo (shrimp). We ordered up the hot sauce to spice things up a bit. That did the trick. They have a decent beer list. I must say that there were what seemed to be many people of Cuban decent at the tables for lunch which I think is a good sign. I'd go back. It was friendly and they have parking in the rear of the building.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Really good food. This was
    dinerVIP
    Dined on 1/28/2012
    Really good food. This was our second time here, and we were not disappointed.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Cuban find in van nuys
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 1/21/2012
    great find on blackboard eats. food very good great flavor prepared just right. price was low for quality and quantity. staff made you feel welcome and service very good. will be back again to try other dishes.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • I've come here a couple times
    jcoy
    Dined on 1/13/2012
    I've come here a couple times now, thanks to Blackboard Eats. Once for lunch, once for dinner. I've had their chicken each time. The El Criollo Chicken is phenomenal! And the portions are very generous. It comes with a side of rice, beans, and plantains. I took half home with me because it's such a big portion and so delicious I want to savor this food again. You can't beat the price. They even have lunch special prices which are even more cheap! Local working people come for lunch and there is plenty of room for larger groups. It can also be very intimate for couples on a romantic date. I love this place and will have to come back without 30% off. What a rarity to find such a great place in such a not so great neighborhood.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, great for lunch, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great Cuban Food..I am defintly
    alwaysawinner
    Dined on 1/12/2012
    Great Cuban Food..I am defintly recommending this place to everyone I know..I wish I had found out about it sooner
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Mediocre, at best. Not much
    DoctoralVIP
    Dined on 1/12/2012
    Mediocre, at best. Not much care in service or preparation. Good black beans - the rest, not so much
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet