After building up his name at farmers markets and catering gigs, Twin Cities Paella founder Frank Machado opened what has become one of our go-to restaurants in South Minneapolis: Guavas Cuban Cafe.
The Venezuelan-born, Miami-raised chef now specializes in Cuban fare—and there’s no dish he can’t nail. Machado’s daily breakfast and brunch offerings include robust cups of cafe con leche and heavyweight plates of vaca frita hash made with braised beef, charred onions, yuca, eggs, potatoes, cilantro aioli, and crisp tostadas. For lunch and dinner, we adore his Cubano and vibrant renditions of ropa vieja (shredded beef simmered in a wine sauce with tomatoes and peppers, pictured below) and lechon asado, a braised pork shoulder zested up with sour orange.
Counter service keeps things casual, but don’t miss the signboard advertising rotating specials such as seared scallops with plantain fufu and collard greens or pato y maracuya, a seared duck breast with wild mushroom rice, sweet plantains, and a zippy passionfruit sauce.
Still craving Machado’s old-school paella? He’ll be dishing it up every Wednesday from January 29 until February 12, 2020 as part of a $40 date-night combo that includes a tapas platter, paella for two, and a carafe of sangria or house wine. Budget-minded diners should also take advantage of Guavas’ 2-for-1 happy hour from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. Go on, treat yo’self to a Monday morning mimosa—we won’t judge.
Guavas Cuban Cafe
5607 Chicago Ave., Minneapolis, MN; 612-824-0951.