Gustazo Cuban Cafe [Waltham MA]
I had lunch at Gustazo one day last week. It was in my regular rotation when it was in Belmont, not nearly so convenient for me in Waltham and I miss it. They had an empanada special – one smallish empanada, very tasty with lovely flaky crust, and a really nice spicy sauce served with it. I normally get the Cubano but branched out to the Pan Con Lechon (Cuban style pulled-pork sandwich, mojo, crispy pork belly, caramelized onions, avocado puree, cilantro, pressed on baguette) which was exceedingly tasty and HUGE. Half came home with me. Service was pleasant as always and the place was quite busy although there was never a wait that I could see. Note that they are on vacation January 5 - 17. Has anyone else been lately?

I’ve been eyeing the menu but haven’t made it there yet. It always looks so inviting when we drive by at night. I read the other day that they will be getting their beer and wine license in the spring, so that should boost their business since the menu seems to be crying out for wine. Good to hear that the quality has remained the same after their move to Waltham. That sandwich sounds fabulous.

In Belmont they let you BYOB which was great but obviously better for them if they can get a beer and wine license. Their food does indeed cry out for wine.

They added a small plates menu since moving and it is pretty killer. Some of my favorite bites in Waltham if I can get myself away from Mu Lan/Moody’s/Amuleto.

I went back to Gustazo last night with an out-of-town friend on an expense account. It had been far too long. I have always been a fan but I think the food is better than ever. I had sent my friend a link to the menu and he was going crazy all day over it and had to be restrained from ordering enough for 5 – as it was, I have fabulous leftovers for tonight. We shared the roasted cauliflower cazuela with manchego, pistachios and onions which was rich and delicious and a bit smoky from the caramelized cauliflower and onions; the empanada of the day (chicken, corn and onion) which was actually two small ones, with a wonderful flaky pastry heavily seeded with a mix of seeds, and an addictive orange spread/sauce that was vaguely smoky and a bit piquant but which I could not identify; the ceviche of the day (halibut), which had avocado, tomatoes, citrus, onions, chilis, cilantro and more, all in a fragrant citrus dressing, and was served with shatteringly crispy yucca (?) chips. Then we shared the Puerco Asado (slow-roasted pork) and the Bistec Encebollado (grilled ribeye), both as spectacularly perfectly cooked as it is possible to be. We also had a bottle of Malbec that worked well with everything and he had a café affogato which he loved. I peeked at the check and it was $170 before tip, BUT that was way too much food for two and I suspect a fairly expensive bottle of wine. For me, 3 of the small plates and one shared entrée or 1 small plate and 2 entrées is a much more sensible amount to order (and might even yield leftovers in the latter case). I can whole-heartedly recommend the food here and urge you to go and try it if you never have. The only slight downsides are that the tables are a bit small – we were juggling things at one point – and at the peak of service it is loud. But these are nits, the food outweighs everything, it really is spectacular.


Nice review. Thanks.

Gustazo in Waltham is a bit far for me to have tried – once I get to Waltham from Cambridge there are other options more prominently on the radar – but I am looking forward to trying their new location in the old Elephant Walk space near Porter when it opens.

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