On a lazy Sunday, my wife smells a familiar aroma as she relaxes on the sofa. Suddenly her senses comes to life “What smells so good?” I had to laugh. “Smells good huh?” “Really good.” she replies in calm surprise. It’s the left over palomilla steak from the night before, being reheated on the skillet. What is a Palomilla you ask? The word means small dove, and it describes this particular cut of meat. It is top round beef, sliced in thin fillets, and then pressed or pounded to make it even thinner still. Here’s a great recipe I found: http://www.thehungrycuban.com/bistec-de-palomilla-cuban-style-steak/
Now you know you have to get the seasoning and the quantities just perfect for that smell to be that good the next day. Homemade palomilla never smells or tastes that good the next day. So, either we’re having withdrawals or Palomilla’s Cuban Grill House has got the goods. So this post is not just to let you know, of all places for Cuban food in Atlanta this is our #1 recommendation; it’s also to let your know which one is the first Cuban restaurant we’ve gone back to for seconds.
Let me throw the only bad comment out there to get it out of the way. Can someone please make REAL Cuban bread at these restaurants?! C’mon man.
Also, I’d like to add that by now I have figured out why it is so hard to get quality Cuban restaurants that just cant seem to be bustling. Simple answer, and my Atlanta friends will nod as they read this, it’s tough to compete with the Mexican restaurants ’round here. Mexican food is darn good too, and the Mexican culture throughout parts of Atlanta is very rich. But we believe in this place, poor guys are next to a popular Mexican spot, in John’s Creek Commons, right on Medlock Bridge Road near Peachtree Corners.
Palomilla’s doesn’t dissapoint, doesn’t overdo, and is just like a simple everyday type Cuban restaurant we love going to. For my Miami friends who are fans of a Rancho Luna of decades past, or Islas Canarias of off NW 3street, the ambient at this one is just like it.
Clockwise from the top left: Ropa Vieja (Pulled Beef), Pan con Bistec (Butterfly Steak Sandwich), Media Noche (Midnight Sandwich), Flan, Snapper and Plantains.
The beans are excellent at Palomilla’s Cuban Grill, creamy and soft as they should be, served with a side of WHITE rice! (Not yellow). In pulling the images from the first visit, I know why we went back. My wife had the Steak Sandwich the first time. And while the bread failed to deliver, the steak convinced her. I had the sweet dough bread with ham and swiss (media noche). The bread was a bit dry, but the rest of the sandwich was very good.
On our first visit, my wife noticed another guest had ordered a fried whole snapper. A few weeks later, as soon as she was craving it, she knew where she wanted to go, and we both have this place on our list as #1 for Cuban food in Atlanta. The fish was huge and tasted superb! There were two ways of eating this deliciously in Miami, buying yellowtail snappers at Don Camaron accross from the Magic City Casino and frying them at home, or going to Bahama Fish II in West Kendall on Bird Road and 133rd Ave and ordering it made to order. However, I go with kingfish everytime at Bahama’s. It’s the best! The fish at Palomilla’s was right up there on satisfaction.
I had the ropa vieja the second time around. It was just enough meat to satisfy, and had a unique criollo pallette to it. A taste that one can only come accross in Old Havana. Listen we love this place, and guarantee you will too! Flan is still best at Havana South in Buford, but Palomilla’s is the kind of place that makes you want to stay for coffee!!! Now that’s Cuban Food Atlanta.