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.

6622 Van Nuys Blvd.
Van Nuys, CA 91405
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Dining Style:
Casual Dining

Cuisines:
Cuban

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.

Cross Street:
Kittridge St.

Dress Code:
Casual Dress

Price Range:
$30 and under

Payment Options
Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(818) 785-8625

Website:
http://www.cubanfoodla.com/

Catering:
El Criollo offers catering for all types of occasions. Whether your hosting a small gathering or a large event, we can accommodate you.

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.

Executive Chef:
Niurca Sera

Private Party Facilities:
We offer the restaurant for private events and gatherings.

Private Party Contact:
Albert Sera: (818) 785-8625

Additional:
Beer, Corkage Fee, Delivery, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Takeout, Wheelchair Access

El Criollo Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

3.8

Overall Rating

based on all time ratingsThis restaurant has not received enough recent ratings to display a current ratings snapshot
food

4.0

service

3.9

ambience

3.3

value

4.4

Noise

Moderate

81% would recommend it to a friend

Neighborhood Gem (37)
Great for Lunch (23)
Good for Groups (22)
See All
Kid-friendly (18)
Fit for Foodies (16)
Special Occasion (6)
Hot Spot (4)
Authentic (2)
Great for Brunch (2)
Casual (2)
Comfort Food (2)
Late-night Find (2)
Notable Wine List (2)
Good for Birthdays (1)
Business Meals (1)
Creative Cuisine (1)
Good for a Date (1)
Great Beer (1)
Happy Hour (1)
Outstanding Value (1)
Romantic (1)
Spicy (1)
Vibrant Bar Scene (1)
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37 reviews
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vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on June 3, 2017

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

Tags: Special Occasion, Good for Groups, Business Meals, Good for Birthdays, Great Beer
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food5
ambience3
service5
value5

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on September 3, 2016

Good selection of food. Very tasty.

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food5
ambience3
service4

 
 (Los Angeles)·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.

Tags: Casual, Good for a Date, Authentic
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food4
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Phoenix)·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.

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food3
ambience3
service3

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on January 30, 2016

Service was fantastic. The Ox tail was very tasty.

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food4
ambience5
service5

 
 (Los Angeles)·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.

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food3
ambience1
service3

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on July 29, 2015

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

Tags: Good for Groups, Great for Lunch, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (Los Angeles)·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!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Great for Lunch, Kid-friendly, Neighborhood Gem, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience4
service5

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on February 14, 2015

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

Tags: Good for Groups, Kid-friendly
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food4
ambience3
service3

 
 (Denver)·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.

Tags: Good for Groups, Hot Spot, Late-night Find, Neighborhood Gem, Vibrant Bar Scene
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food5
ambience4
service5

 
 (Los Angeles)·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.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience1
service3

vip
 (Los Angeles)·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.

Tags: Kid-friendly, Good for Groups, Great for Lunch
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food3
ambience3
service3

vip
 (Los Angeles)·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.

Tags: Good for Groups, Kid-friendly, Neighborhood Gem, Great for Lunch
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food5
ambience3
service3

 
 (Los Angeles)·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.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience2
service3

vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on October 10, 2013

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

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience3
service5

 
 (Los Angeles)·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.

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food1
ambience3
service2

 
 (Los Angeles)·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.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience5
service5

vip
 (Los Angeles)·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.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Great for Brunch, Neighborhood Gem, Hot Spot, Great for Lunch, Special Occasion, Kid-friendly
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food4
ambience4
service5

vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on May 10, 2013

Very good and authentic Cuban food...

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food4
ambience4
service5

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on April 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.

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food2
ambience2
service1

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on March 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.

Tags: Kid-friendly, Neighborhood Gem, Great for Lunch
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food4
ambience3
service3

vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on February 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.

Tags: Great for Lunch
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food5
ambience3
service5

vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on January 23, 2013

Good quality and lovely service. A nice place for dinner.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem
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food4
ambience4
service5

vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on December 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.

Tags: Kid-friendly, Neighborhood Gem
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food4
ambience3
service5

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on September 6, 2012

Food and service are outstanding for in house and taking out dining.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on August 18, 2012

Great foot - Great service - Since we attended, others have recommended.

This will be a repeat ! ! !

Tags: Great for Lunch
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food4
ambience3
service5

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on June 23, 2012

Great Cuban food, our favorite ever since La Cubana in Glendale closed.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience5
service5

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on May 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.

Tags: Great for Lunch
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food3
ambience2
service2

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on May 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.

Tags: Kid-friendly, Great for Lunch
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food2
ambience3
service2

vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on April 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.

Tags: Good for Groups, Neighborhood Gem, Great for Lunch
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food5
ambience5
service5

vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on March 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.

Tags: Good for Groups, Kid-friendly, Neighborhood Gem
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food4
ambience3
service4

vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on March 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.

Tags: Great for Lunch
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food4
ambience3
service4

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on January 28, 2012

Really good food. This was our second time here, and we were not disappointed.

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food4
ambience3
service4

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on January 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.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Neighborhood Gem, Great for Lunch
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food5
ambience4
service4

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on January 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.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Kid-friendly, Neighborhood Gem, Great for Lunch, Hot Spot
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food5
ambience3
service4

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on January 12, 2012

Great Cuban Food..I am defintly recommending this place to everyone I know..I wish I had found out about it sooner

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem
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food4
ambience3
service5

vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on January 12, 2012

Mediocre, at best. Not much care in service or preparation. Good black beans - the rest, not so much

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food2
ambience1
service2

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