Strolling around Porto’s Bakery on a bustling Saturday afternoon, it’s hard to imagine that the shop began over 35 years ago as a home-based business in Cuba. Since its humble beginnings, Porto’s Bakery has garnered a devoted following, outgrowing several locations and eventually settling into a 20,000 square foot building in the heart of Glendale.
Of all the fantastic restaurants in the city of Los Angeles, it’s Porto’s Bakery that has as come up time and again whenever a friend or acquaintance has recommended a local place for me to try. After receiving a half dozen solid endorsements for the place, I made a mental note to stop by the next time I found myself in Glendale.
After procuring a wickedly sweet suit for The Astronomer at the Glendale Galleria a few weekends back, we made our way to Porto’s Bakery to see what the fuss was all about. I knew that the bakery was beloved by many, but the crowd waiting for their piece of the Porto pie was truly staggering. The staff on hand managed the amusement park-esque lines smoothly and professionally.
Taking a cue from the customers ahead of us, The Astronomer and I ordered way more food than we had room to eat. The potato ball (85¢) was the lone savory item on our tray. The papa rellena was comprised of breaded and fried mashed potatoes filled with seasoned ground beef. The crunchy texture of the breading had me at first bite, while The Astronomer enjoyed the chili-like filling.
The guava strudel (65¢), one of Porto’s most famous baked good, was as tasty as everyone told me it would be. The mildly sweet guava jam smothered in between flaky layers of buttery puff pastry really made this little rectangular sweet shine.
The guava and cheese refugi (left – 65¢) and the cheese roll (right – 65¢) were on par with the guava strudel. The cream cheese filling in each one reminded me of Danish breakfast pastries. Puff pastry is an ingredient that I adore, but it quickly gets overwhelming. After taking a few bites from each one, we packed up the rest to go.
I knew ordering a creme brulee ($2.50) at a Cuban bakery wasn’t the smartest move, but oftentimes my gluttony gets the best of me. Much to my surprise, Porto’s creme brulee was completely competent and exceeded my expectations by a mile. The sugary crust was uniformly caramelized, and the smooth custard contained tiny flecks of vanilla bean—two hallmarks of a great creme brulee.
After just one visit to Porto’s, I totally understand why every other Angeleno is crazy about the place. The vibe is fun, the prices are more than reasonable, and the food is perfectly enjoyable. Win. Win. Win.
315 North Brand Boulevard
Glendale, CA 91203