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Walking the streets of Havana, Cuba, you smell the earthy aroma of black beans simmering on the stove. Sometimes you catch a whiff of caramelized onions and the subtle scent of roasted pork. It’s this kind of experience—one that sticks in your mind for years—that Frijoles Colorado Cuban Cuisine hopes to replicate.
In a shopping plaza in Lakewood, just 20 minutes from downtown Denver, the savory perfumes of Cuban cooking fill the small dining room at Frijoles. What the year-old eatery lacks in ambience—there are about seven tables, bakery cases, and an open-air kitchen—it makes up for in other ways. Specifically, co-owner Sergio Negrin’s good-natured banter, the down-home goodness of the food, and the mini-immersion into Cuban culture you experience from the moment you walk in until you walk out, fat and happy.
With just a few sandwiches, entrées, soups, sides, and a daily special, the reasonably priced menu is small. But it never leaves you wanting—especially if you order the lechon, moro, y yuca, a heaping plate of black bean–infused white rice, yuca and caramelized onion, and the signature pulled pork. Even so, what you won’t want to miss are the pastelitos, sugar-dusted pastries filled with guava, cheese, or coconut. They are perfect, take-them-to-go endings to an authentic Cuban meal. 12095 W. Alameda Parkway, Lakewood, 303-716-4587
Lechon, moro, y yuca, $9.50 Palomilla a la Plancha with moro y maduros, $9.50 El Cubano, $9.35 Frijoles Colorado (red bean soup), $3.99 for a cup Plantanos maduros (side), $2.50 Pastelitos, $1.60 each