HelpiOS AppAndroid AppWindows Phone AppWindows 8 App

Make a reservation

Party Size
For 2
7:00 PM

El Criollo

39 reviews
icon/ic_price_rangeCreated with Sketch.
$30 and under
icon/ic_cuisineCreated with Sketch.
Top Tags:
  • Neighborhood Gem
  • Great for Lunch
  • Good for Groups
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.
Dining Style
Casual Dining
icon/ic_cuisineCreated with Sketch.
icon/ic_clockCreated with Sketch.
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.
icon/ic_phoneCreated with Sketch.
Phone number
(818) 785-8625
icon/ic_new_windowCreated with Sketch.
icon/ic_paymentCreated with Sketch.
Payment options
Discover, MasterCard, Visa
icon/ic_dress_codeCreated with Sketch.
Dress code
Casual Dress
icon/ic_chefCreated with Sketch.
Executive chef
Niurca Sera
icon/ic_private_diningCreated with Sketch.
Private party facilities
We offer the restaurant for private events and gatherings.
icon/ic_contactCreated with Sketch.
Private party contact
Albert Sera: (818) 785-8625
icon/ic_cateringCreated with Sketch.
El Criollo offers catering for all types of occasions. Whether your hosting a small gathering or a large event, we can accommodate you.
icon/ic_locationCreated with Sketch.
icon/ic_neighborhoodCreated with Sketch.
icon/ic_cross_streetCreated with Sketch.
Cross street
Kittridge St.
icon/ic_parking_detailsCreated with Sketch.
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.
Beer, Corkage Fee, Delivery, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Takeout, Wheelchair Access
What 39 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
3.8  based on all time ratings
Noise · Moderate
81% of people would recommend it to a friend
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
Sort by
OpenTable Diner (Los Angeles)
5.0  Dined on February 15, 2018

We have been coming to El Criollo for many years and the foo and service is always great. My wife, kids and I very much like coming over.

vipOpenTable Diner (Los Angeles)
3.0  Dined on August 17, 2017

Great homemade Cuban specialties cooked with love and care.

vipOpenTable Diner (Los Angeles)
5.0  Dined on June 3, 2017

El Criollo had fantastic Cuban food! The shrimp in garlic was amazing as was the Ropa Vieja.

OpenTable Diner (Los Angeles)
4.0  Dined on September 3, 2016

Good selection of food. Very tasty.

Ticky777666 (Los Angeles)
4.0  Dined on August 24, 2016

Seems everytime i come here there is a different server. This time it was a guy. Very handsome and made a very good sangria for me. Carlitos, who works in the kitchen, was very friendly and sat down and talked with us a bit.

vipJules (Phoenix)
3.0  Dined on May 7, 2016

This place was good, but there wasn't anything that we would go back for. The best thing we had was the yuca in garlic.

OpenTable Diner (Los Angeles)
4.0  Dined on January 30, 2016

Service was fantastic. The Ox tail was very tasty.

OpenTable Diner (Los Angeles)
3.0  Dined on August 20, 2015

To start off, the restaurant was too hot. The air conditioning was either broken or set too high. There were no diners in the restaurant when we arrived and only one server. We ordered drinks and they had little to no ice. The appetitizers were good. The entrees were hit or miss. My fish looked and tasted like it was from Costco. The pork dishes were dry. Sides were good. To top it off, the server added 18% to the bill for our party of 7. It was not an 18% tip meal. Overall: Average at best. Probably will not return.

Esklos (Los Angeles)
5.0  Dined on July 29, 2015

I enjoyed a delicious lunch that compared favorably to the many great meals I had in Cuba last year.

1966 (Los Angeles)
5.0  Dined on June 12, 2015

This was the first time eating at El Criollo and I would highly recommend this to everyone. The menu is extensive with traditional Cuban flavors featured. Our server recommend a few of her favorites and we were very impressed. She also made one tasty mojito!

swedishchef (Los Angeles)
4.0  Dined on February 14, 2015

Delicious Cuban food, not terribly overpriced, low key ambiance good for a family get together / weekend dinner.

NayNay (Denver)
5.0  Dined on December 31, 2014

Mojitos and margaritas great and handmade, food is tasty and flavorful, some of the best Cuban flavor around! Owner committed to excellent service.

OpenTable Diner (Los Angeles)
4.0  Dined on August 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.

vipOpenTable Diner (Los Angeles)
3.0  Dined on June 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.

vipAlxP (Los Angeles)
4.0  Dined on April 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.

Fit4foodie (Los Angeles)
4.0  Dined on January 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.

vipLoLo (Los Angeles)
5.0  Dined on October 10, 2013

We loved this place, really homemade delicious fresh food and friendly service!

Mejoy2 (Los Angeles)
1.0  Dined on September 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.

OpenTable Diner (Los Angeles)
5.0  Dined on August 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.

vipSandyjk (Los Angeles)
4.0  Dined on June 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.