Reader Steve H. let me know Cubaneo has opened at 418 State Street, the former home of India House. Last June I reported that this restaurant was on it’s way and is the sister eatery to Barbareño at 205 W. Canon Perdido Street.

Their web site tells us a little bit about the venue:

“The term ‘cubaneo’ is used in Cuba to describe the ways the Cuban identity is expressed.  The manner in which Cubans speak.  The passion they display when they dance to salsa music.  The grace they show while playing béisbol.  And the pride they take in their unique style of living.  All of these create an overwhelming sense of cubaneo when one is immersed in the culture.  At Cubaneo, we seek to embody this feeling by serving food that honors the vibrancy of the Cuban culture.  We serve traditional Cuban dishes—from the classic Cubano sandwich, to arroz con pollo, to mojo-marinated chicken, and to Mima’s frijoles negros.  With all of these preparations, we take inspiration from the original Cuban dishes.  However, we seek to update the flavors to suit the ethos of California cuisine.    Using the best ingredients we can find along with recipes we grew up with, we hope to infuse a little bit of cubaneo into the lives of the guests we serve.”

Cubaneo is open daily 4 p.m.-1 a.m. Call (805) 242-9426.

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  1. Pete says:

    Bummer that they aren’t open for lunch. Would be nice to be able to get a good cubano.

    • Jesse G says:

      Hi Pete,

      Currently, we are in our soft opening phase, so we’re only open from 4pm to 1am each night. We are planning to open for lunch (7 days/ week starting at 11am) on the 15th of April. During the soft opening period, we are mainly training our staff, dialing in the menu items, and making adjustments based on guest feedback. We’ll have that Cubano ready for lunch shortly!

  2. MK says:

    Yesss!! Finally a Cuban spot in SB. Hope it’s good!!

  3. JP says:

    Went with a friend on Tuesday night and was not impressed. First off, they share space with the Drunken Crab (which was hopping) and its poorly lit. I ordered the short ribs plate, $15, asked what beverages they had. None other than water, had to go to the bar. Only non alcoholic drink available was a bottle of Coke from Mexico, $5.
    Only 5 or 6 cubes of meat, very plain rice. A little veggies that was heavy on tomato.Very small amount of salad with a couple bites of avocado. plantains, only 4 of them, rather dry and flavorless. Not worth it.

    • Jesse G says:

      Hi JP,

      Thanks for coming in to check out the soft opening of Shaker Mill and Cubaneo (pronounced “Coo – Ba – Nay – Oh”)! I totally understand your confusion – the multi-tenant concept is new for a lot of folks. The Drunken Crab is actually the establishment next-door to us at 416 State Street, and they’re not affiliated with either Shaker Mill or Cubaneo. Shaker Mill is the Cuban inspired bar located at 418 State Street, and Cubaneo is the Cuban inspired fast casual restaurant located at 418 State Street. We share the same common areas (seating, patio, etc.), but are in fact two separate businesses, each only allowed to serve our respective goods – which is why you have to purchase beverages in one area and food in another. There may be some point in the future where we implement a way to order both food and beverages from one spot, but at this time it’s just a bit too complicated with separate business entities, staff, and point of sale systems. We definitely do not mean to intentionally inconvenience our guests by only offering water at Cubaneo.

      If you’ve had the chance to visit The Waterline (Topa Topa Brewing Co., Lama Dog, The Nook, Fox wine, and Shops@Waterline) or Mosaic Locale (Hook & Press Donuts, Draughtsmen Aleworks, and Buena Onda), you’ll experience a similar system of being able to only order one business’s goods at each register. We believe in this multi-tenant system because it allows for more sustainable rents and increases traffic for small businesses, and we do hope that the inconvenience of ordering at different locations is offset by having new thriving communal spaces for consumers to enjoy.

      Regarding your experience of our dish, the Ropa Nueva (our version of Ropa Vieja, but with short rib meat instead of the traditional flank steak), you have our sincerest apologies. This has actually been our second most popular item (right behind the Cubano), so it’s a bummer to hear that someone has had a bad experience because of it. Like you said, the $15 dollar dish is intended to be a plate comprised of a combination of smaller items: white rice cooked with garlic, braised beef short ribs, roasted tomato sofrito (a tomato-based flavorful sauce), maduros (sweet plantains), and a small avocado salad. I will be the first to admit that we are still working out the kinks and getting our menu dialed in while we train through the soft opening, but we always seek to serve the most delicious food that we are proud of. If you contact us at we’d love to organize a way for you to experience Cubaneo again.

      Thank you for the honest feedback as that’s the only way we can learn and get better!


      Jesse G.

  4. SL says:

    JP, I had the same bad experience at Cabaneo. No beverages. Then had to pay $10 for a beer at the bar. Total joke. I will never return.

    • Jesse G says:

      Hi SL,

      I just posted a pretty thorough response to JP here which addresses your same concern, but didn’t want to leave you hanging. I hope that the multi-tenant concept explanation makes sense to you, but just to reiterate, we don’t purposefully have no beverages to inconvenience you. It’s more a function of the communal space with different tenants providing different goods. Totally understand if ordering at two separate registers is not your shtick though!


      Jesse G.

  5. Suzanne Purcell says:

    I am beyond excited to try this place out. I LOVE Cuban food. I’m hoping you guys plan to add traditional Cuban croquettas to your menu in the future. So good.