nani’s sandwich shop cuban restaurant just recently opened up in seminole heights, on nebraska south of idlewild avenue. i had set out with a friend to go to a different restaurant (that shall not be named…), but upon finding they were closed, we settled for nani’s.
it’s a little place, apparently converted from a gas station, former car lot, and i guess some other hilarious types of things. there is some seating on the outside, but in this relentless florida heat they are pretty much useless. come winter, perhaps there will be some point to them. inside is small, with just a few booths for seating. the staff is quite friendly and were willing to humor my annoying questioning. they have a small menu, with a lot of breakfast dishes (served until noon), and some sweet cuban classics.
of course, when i saw they had potato balls, i had to order one. and i was not disappointed. i guess, in general, potato balls are hard to mess up, but for some reason i felt that this was one of the best i’ve ever had. it was perfect, with a crispy outside and hot middle, nice fluffy potato and a generous amount of delicious beef inside. add some hot sauce. highly recommended, always.
i also ordered these chicken croquettes, which i had never heard of before (DON’T JUDGE ME!). they were little fried rolls of potato and chicken… stuff. and they were piping hot. this place definitely does fried food right. the taste reminded me of thanksgiving – little magical fried nuggets of thanksgiving. and then i slathered them in hot sauce and forgot about such crazy things.
then came the main event: THE HONEY CUBAN! a regular cuban sandwich, coated in honey. delicious, sweet honey. well, really it was just a bit of honey on the top. but it was a nice touch! i enjoy honey on pretty much anything, and i am a sucker for a sweet/savory combination. the sandwich itself was just alright – the bread was great, but the meats were pretty standard, nothing special; about what you’d expect from publix. it was a good sandwich, but ruben’s cubans beats it, hands down.
my friend got the chicken and yellow rice, one of their specials. it looked pretty beautiful, and was served with a few fried plantains. i had a bit of the chicken and the rice, which were both pretty good. the chicken seemed nice and tender, though a bit bland. the rice was solid. i am not a big fan of plantains, so i am not the best judge, but it seemed okay… the textures were a bit inconsistent, but maybe they’re supposed to be like that? iono.
so my conclusion here is that it’s a pretty good place. not by any means the best cuban restaurant, but there are reasons to go there – most importantly, it’s locally owned. so if you live near it, stop by! help out a new local business. it’s quality food, and good service. open ’til five.