205 Oak St, San Francisco, CA | Directions 9410237.774879 -122.422984
Neighborhoods: Hayes Valley, Central North
This isn't the best or the cheapest Cuban spot in the city, but few restaurants can make you feel like you've visited another country. – Walk in to Laurel's and you'll be hit with Cuba all at once: heat from the kitchen, the smells of spices, plantains and roasting meat, salsa music blasting (seriously, blasting) on the stereo--and diners/waitstaff dancing to it. A mural of Cuba, a pre-Fidel vintage wooden stereo and copious tropical plant life set the stage--you are now in Havana--for pitchers of sangria or mojitos, and a plate of oxtail, calamari, or Ropa Vieja. The prices are high for the level of food and service (you almost feel like you're subsidizing the meal of the omnipresent salsa-ing group in the corner who seem to be related to the staff; Fidel would be proud), but included in that price is a ticket to another world: hot, loud, spicy, vibrant, Cuba.
LOVE IT! – strongest mojito of my life...that's what i get for messing with the waiter and telling him that I wanted a GOOOOD one...whew, kicked my as$. my buddies and i had a great experience here. we are a fun crowd so the relaxed atmosphere fit us. i was taken aback by how small it was and the wierd green light they were using, but it's a homey atmosphere. i think abuelitas in the back, cookin the food, ya know what i mean?? anyhoo, i think it's a great cuban restaurant and if you're in the mood, this is a great place to go.
Best Cuban food in the city! – I can not put into words how much I love this restaurant. The food is delicious! I've had many items on the menu and eveyone has been good. You are given large portions so count on leftovers. The Sangria is the best I've ever had! The owner/server is wonderful, he's so nice and attentive. I have no complaints!
Great service, great food – My (now-ex)boyfriend took me here for my birthday last year. The waitstaff was terrific, serving us quickly. There was no rush for us to leave. When The Ex left to pick up the car and subsequently disappeared for two hours, the waitstaff allowed me to sit and brought the end of the evening's sangria to pass the time. The paella was terrific, and I have unsuccessfully tried to recreate it. Bottom line: excellent food, and even better service!
Love this place – I live in Hayes Valley and have taken many dates and friends to Laurels, and I will continue to. In a town where all the "meals" have become 3 peas and a carrot "tapas plates" it's nice to get back to a place that serves decent portions at fair prices. I've had some form of fish everytime I have been there and it's always to die for, the salads are good too. I can't vouch for "real" Cuban Resturants like some of the other reviewers claim too, but I am a bit of a food snob and this place is comfortable casual and good... Period.
Not authentic Cuban cuisine – Let me start by saying that I am Cuban born and raised so I know a thing or two about authentic Cuban cuisine. This is not. The majority of the dishes are off. For example they will be too spicy, ala paella de mariscos, when Cuban are not know for hot dishes. We actually sent the paella back to be toned down as we couldn't eat it. Other meats were not properly marinated in lime juices and herbs, as we usually do, but instead just deep fried which turned them into average American cuisine. The only good thing were the drinks.
Great little place... – My wife and I went on a Tuesday night and had the whole place to ourselves for the hour that we spent there. The food was great, the Cuba Libre was stiff, and the service was good.
preatty good food – i went to this spot one time and had vaca frita it was good i would highly recommened this place to those who want to try cuban food
Only so-so – When we got there, there were only 2 waitors for 12 tables. Needless to say, there was a long wait to be seated, to get our menus, to put down our orders, and finally to get our food. Some people actually had to get up and get their own utensils because no one was available to help us.
The food was flavorful, but it would've been more delicious if it were hot. I would recommend that you go during the weekday or for lunch when it's less busy.
good, but could be better – It is a very small place, and it gets pretty busy. We waited a while to be seated, and then waited a little more before we actually placed our order, then waited quite a long time before the bread came out, and even longer before we got our food. The food was quite tasty, but my dish came out room temperature. I was dissappointed with the service. My suggestion, go there during off peak hours (i.e. weeknights) that way you will get attention, quick service, and heated food.
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