Flamingo Palms, 11400 4th St. (at Pittsburgh), Rancho Cucamonga
Cuban restaurants have come and gone out here like the tide against the Havana shoreline, but Flamingo Palms seems to be succeeding. After a few years in Rancho Cucamonga in a charmless Archibald Avenue business park, the restaurant moved in April to a higher-profile location across from Ontario Mills, in a space that briefly housed a Camille’s Sidewalk Cafe.
I had dinner there with a friend recently. The interior has a modern ambience, with walls my friend described as “faux wood, faux terracotta and faux brick,” adorned with some not-bad art and two flat-screen TVs.
Having had a filling lunch, I opted for a light entree, the Flamingo salad ($9), with grilled shrimp and blood orange vinaigrette. Delicious, and with seven large shrimp, they didn’t skimp on the shrimp.
My friend had the arroz con pollo ($15), which he was warned would take 40 minutes. It arrived in a cavernous bowl (he took home half) and had rice, two pieces of chicken on the bone and plantains. He pronounced it excellent and said with satisfaction: “They took their time. They didn’t rush it.”
We also split an order of crispy plantain chips, called mariquitas ($5), which didn’t do anything for either of us.
Service was attentive, with both our server and the table busser inquiring how we were doing. You won’t think you’re in Cuba, but the music is unobtrusive, the food pretty good and the experience unhurried.