Porto’s is a family owned Cuban bakery and cafe, with 3 locations in Southern California: Burbank, Glendale, and Downey, with a location supposedly opening in Buena Park in 2016/2017.
It does not matter which location you visit, finding parking is the first hurdle. Downey has a parking structure and street parking. On weekends, the upper level of the parking structure is open, which helps with the parking.
Once you find parking and head to the front door, chances are you’ll be greeted at the front door with a line just to get in. The line at Porto’s is as famous as their pastries. Once you past the front door line, you enter into another lines to place your pastry and food order. Fortunately, the line moves quickly.
On this visit, we discovered that if you just want a sandwich or beverage (no pastry item), you can go to the (third) express line. The express line at 11:00 am on a Saturday had 3 people versus the 3 line deep for the pastry line. We decided not to stand in the pastry line (even though we really wanted a famous Porto’s potato ball) and ordered 2 sandwiches: the Cuban Sandwich and the Pan Con Lechon (roast pork sandwich), a Porto’s iced coffee and a soda.
The next hurdle after placing your order is (if you wish to dine in) finding a place to sit. There’s more customers than seating, so this can be a problem. Fortunately, the Downey location has patio dining, and it was easier to find a table outside, and from our table, you could see the line of people waiting to get inside.
The staff will bring the food and drinks to your table. Service is fast, and the food is made to order. The Cuban Sandwich (slices of slow roasted pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, Cuban dressing on Cuban bread) was excellent, but my Pan Con Lechon (slow roasted pulled pork shoulder, mojo de ajo and pickled red onions served on freshly baked on Cuban bread) was even better. The pork was juicy and tender, and full of flavor. Both sandwiches comes with a side of fried plantain chips. Yes, it was worth the trouble, and priced right at less than $6 a sandwich.
When we left, the line to enter the store was still wrapped outside the building, and people were circling for a parking spot. I guess this is what you have to do in order to get a hold of some delicious Porto’s food and pastry… and I would do it again.
Per the website, the top selling items at Porto’s are:
- Cheese Roll™ – cheese filled pastry
- Refugiado™ – guava and cheese pastry
- Potato Ball™ – stuffed potato
- Meat Pie
- Chicken Croquette
- Cuban Cake
- Mango Mousse
- Cuban Sandwich
- Pan con Lechon
The Porto’s in Downey is located at 8233 Firestone Blvd • Downey, CA 90241
Hours: Mon-Sat 6:30 am – 8:30 pm, Sunday 7:00 am – 7:00 pm