Nearby points of interest
Nearby points of interest
About 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.
Van Nuys, CA 91405
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.
$30 and under
Discover, MasterCard, Visa
El Criollo offers catering for all types of occasions. Whether your hosting a small gathering or a large event, we can accommodate you.
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.
Private Party Facilities:
We offer the restaurant for private events and gatherings.
Private Party Contact:
Albert Sera: (818) 785-8625
Beer, Corkage Fee, Delivery, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Takeout, Wheelchair Access
El Criollo Ratings and Reviews
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.