When it comes to Cuban cuisine, it’s hard to beat Fernandez the Bull – at least without the 90-minute ride to Miami; or the even longer trip to the island-nation itself.

We started our journey with two reasonably-priced appetizers, mariquitas and pork bruschetta. OMG! Wait, wait. OMG! OMG! Yeah, two dishes so it deserves two exclamations.

So mariquitas are thinly-sliced plantains, fried until “golden and crunchy” and served with garlic sauce for dipping. I could eat my weight in these. Not too oily or salty; cooked to perfection.

On to our next gourmet experience, the pork bruschetta. It’s house made Cuban bread, topped with slow-roasted lean pork, avocado, diced tomato, onion and drizzled with olive pieces. Did I say OMG! Cause, OMG!

I could have stopped right there and this would be the best meal I’ve had in a long time. And probably enough calories to last a week. But when it comes to food, I don’t know the meaning of the word stop.

For my main course, I order the ropa vieja, which the menu says translates into old clothes. Huh? It’s shredded flank – much like you’d find in one of my other favs, the vaca frita, only without the deep frying – in a light tomato sauce with red and green peppers. I chose the black beans and rice as my side.

First things first. Grab some of the provided Cuban bread, and dip it into the bean juice. If I ever hit upon hard times, I will eat this every day and be perfectly happy.

For the ropa vieja, make sure to save some of the rice to help you absorb every last drop of sauce. You won’t want to leave an ounce behind.

My partner-in-dine chose the masitas de puerco, pork chunks that have been marinated, slow cooked and then deep fried. It’s topped with mojo and onions. I feel another OMG coming on.

This pork is a bit fattier than what you will find on the appetizer, by design. It also comes with your choice of sides.    

And that’s it. There was no room for dessert. The service was exceptional, from the friendly greeting at the door to the service and preparation. For the record, we were at the newer midtown location, in Meridan shopping plaza.

More: Review: Tacos & Tequila for taco lovers everywhere

If you go

Fernandez The Bull

3375 Pine Ridge Rd, Unit 101, Naples


1201 Piper Blvd, Unit 10, Naples


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