Bella Cuba

3940 S. Bristol St.
Santa Ana, CA 92704


  • $$
  • Patio/Sidewalk Dining, Wheelchair accessible
  • Dinner, Lunch
  • Beer/Wine
  • Free Parking, Parking Lot Available
  • Reservations Not Accepted
Bella Cuba in Santa Ana is simultaneously nice and fast, doing massive lunch business, but caring about the quality and presentation of its product. Tellingly, the lunch menu stocks those few Cuban dishes that have penetrated the American mainstream and described them in English—ropa vieja, rabo encendido and a media noche sandwich become “shredded beef,” “sauteed oxtail” and “Cuban sandwich,” respectively. But the flavors aren’t mitigated at all: the ropa vieja is a thicket of cow, assertive and silky; the oxtail is savory and reeks of Calle Ocho. But it’s dinner when Bella Cuba lets its inner Beny Moré out and brings forth the rarities: fat empanadas, a briny arroz con calamares (squid cooked in its own ink), even a massive offering of paella that can feed you until the start of the baseball season. It’s that rarity in Southern California: an honest-to-goodness Cuban restaurant that attracts exiles and non-Cubans alike, all searching to fill their yen.

Related Stories (1)

  • Bella Cuba's Mojo Rising
    Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 4:30 a.m. by Gustavo Arellano

    Bella Cuba is just like its mojo sauce: the longer it sits, the stronger it becomes; the more alluring it gets, the more irresistible it is. It opened about a year ago, and I wasn't really impressed at first. The food was fine, but ...

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