La Cubana ★
392 Roncesvalles Ave., 416-538-7500
Even on a rainy night, there’s a queue to get into La Cubana, the new Caribbean restaurant from Corinna Mozo, chef-owner of Delux on Ossington. She modelled the seafoam green room on a diner her grandfather once ran in Cuba. Swivel lunch counter chairs overlook an open kitchen where cooks in ball caps fry conch fritters and shimmy to vintage jazz. Snack-sized plates are surprisingly sophisticated: a Cuban-style sweet egg bun barely contains its filling of guava-glazed beef short ribs and tangy pickled cabbage. Larger dishes include Georgian Bay whitefish (seared a minute too long) served with double-fried slices of plantain and a heap of rice and beans. Rum cocktails are nearly as sweet as a bowl of still-warm, sugar-dusted doughnuts.