El Cubo de Cuba


El Cubo de Cuba


Location: SW 10th and Alder
Hours: Tues-Fri, 11:30am-7pm; Sat/Sun, 12-7pm

The Story:

Cuban Food in downtown Portland – that is the slogan of El Cubo de Cuba and after enjoying a wonderful lunch there, I realize we’re lacking those excellent flavors of Havana. [This cart also has a location at SW 5th and Stark]

Emily Roskam and Milko Vigil Escalera setup their Cuban cart after a few years of education and travails trying to make a go of it in this troubling economy. Portland has a thriving Cuban community where Emily met Milko a couple of years ago at Cuban salsa dancing. With that mixture of Cuban culture and the desire to do something different, the idea of a Cuban restaurant was hatched, yet the costs were too high, so they decided on a cart. Emily describes the cart in a loving way – a la “The Money Pit” with Tom Hanks. Yet, with the help of friends and some elbow grease, they outfitted it and muscled it into their spot on SW 10th. Milko was in charge of the menu, seeking out recipes from friends and family, having tasting sessions and perfecting the details. I appreciate this approach. Rarely do you hear about the hard work and research that goes in to creating the dishes we enjoy each day.

"Chicken Box"

“Chicken Box”

Initially, I wanted the traditional Cuban sandwich with thinly sliced pork, ham and Swiss. Yet I had just enjoyed a wonderful sandwich earlier in the week and wanted something I hadn’t tried before so I ordered the Cubo de Pollo – the Chicken Box. A large plate of black beans, white rice and two pieces of baked chicken, this dish is also served with your choice of tostones, maduros or sweet potato fries. I chose tostones, salty fried plantains, which were a great match with the rest of the dish. The chicken, baked in a combination of guava, garlic, onion, salt, pepper and some secret spices was moist and fully flavored and simply fell off the bone. Wonderful. If your hungry, this is the place to go.

El Cubo de Cuba is now open on the ever expanding lot at SW 10th and Alder. Nestled amongst Thai, Korean and European food, this Cuban cart will quickly define itself as a destination spot for Portland’s cart fans. Milko hangs out the window with a huge smile, engaging people as they walk by and you may catch him drumming on the pots and pans in the cart with the drumsticks he carries with him daily. With few Cuban options at the carts, El Cubo de Cuba should be your next visit. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Cuban Sandwich: classic grilled sandwich with thinly sliced mojo marinated pork, ham, baby Swiss cheese and a pickle. Served with tostones, maduros or sweet potato fries – $7
  • Cubo de Puerco: Mojo Marinated Pork.  Served with rice and black beans, and your choice of tostones, maduros or sweet potato fries. Gluten and Dairy free – $7.50
  • Cubo de Pollo: Guava Marinated Chicken.  Served with rice and black beans, and your choice of tostones, maduros or sweet potato fries. Gluten and Dairy free – $7.50
  • Tostones: salty fried plantains – $3
  • Maduros: fried ripe sweet potatoes – $3
  • Sweet Potato Fries: $3
  • Batidos: fruit and milkshake – $2.50 or $3.50

Hours: Tues-Fri, 11:30am-7pm; Sat/Sun, 12-7pm
Phone: 503 894 1525
Facebook: El Cubo de Cuba



  1. The tostones were delicious! Thin, crispy & perfectly salted.


  3. Had the Cuban Sandwich w/ Tostones. Those tostones were the best I’ve had in Portland. The cheese and the pork really made the sandwich. And the pineapple slice in my lunchbox was a nice surprise.

  4. The Guava Marinated Chicken was absolutely delicious and the Tostones were perfect!

  5. I’ve had Cuban sandwiches all over the country and I swear this is the best one I’ve ever tasted. Unbelievable.

  6. Helena Handbasket says

    Wow! Nummy Cuban sandwich and the BEST tostones found on earth- and the owners are as awesome as their food- try this cart, you won’t be disappointed!

  7. I went skeptical, being from Miami I know Cuban food, given the most southern tip of Florida is only 90 miles away from Cuba. This was by far the best Cuban food I’ve had on the west coast…and from a food truck no less. I too a photo and raved about it here: ttp://t.co/BUxOVB5

  8. My bad here’s the link to the photo and blurb: http://t.co/BUxOVB5

  9. Will you please post a nutrition chart?

  10. Como si estuviera otra vez entre las islas, la piel calentada por el sol de Caribe. ¡Comidas sabrosas!

  11. JuanaLaCubana says

    Just a note. Maduros (my favorite) are fried ripe plantains, not sweet potatoes 🙂

  12. dwainedibbly says

    I moved here from Florida 20 months ago, and I NEED a good cuban food fix. I noticed El Cubo from the streetcar the other day and decided that I would have to get lunch there soon. Problem? I work Mon-Fri in another part of town and you have no weekend hours!

  13. El Cubo de Cuba says

    Our 10th and Alder cart is open 12-7pm on Saturdays!!!!!

  14. These guys — and their food — are the best.

  15. Do you have menu items for vegans?

  16. Where did you guys go?? I was downtown today — Aug 20, 2013 — and “Iraq Babylon” was selling gyros and falafel in the once-Cuban-food cart. That stuff is common among food carts, but fried plantains are not. I miss those fried plantains… 🙁

  17. Steve: According to Michael Russell in The Oregonian, El Cubo de Cuba has opened a bricks and mortar restautrant at 3106 SE Hawthorne. Head over there to get your fried plantain fix.

  18. Do you have the ability to take your truck to venues for functions?

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