Porto’s Bakery
8233 Firestone Blvd.
Downey, CA 90241
www.portosbakery.com

When I visited Porto’s Bakery in Burbank a few months ago, I fell in love with their potato balls and huge display of baked goods. Porto’s Bakery is an extremely popular Cuban bakery chain located in LA.

What makes its so popular is its large selection of offerings of delicious baked goods at reasonable prices. As a result, each location is always extremely busy, with a line out the door and a 30-40 minute wait at any given time of the day.

When I heard that Porto’s was opening a third location in Downey, I was very excited. While still in LA, Downey is a little closer to San Diego compared to its other two locations (Glendale and Burbank), and it is also more along the path of places I usually visit when taking a road trip to LA.

This weekend, I had some errands to run in Costa Mesa, and since Downey is a mere 30 minutes north of Costa Mesa, I convinced BF that we should visit.  He was game for the drive, which means he must remember the potato balls we had last time as well.

Like the Burbank location, the Downey storefront is quite spacious. It houses both a bakery and a cafe.  Here’s a list of some of the baked goods they offer:

The nice thing about this location is that it has its own parking lot so we didn’t have to circle around for parking.

We arrived in the middle of the afternoon, and despite the cold and the rainy conditions, the line was (no surprise), out the door. Once inside, the line wrapped around and we waited about 35 minutes before our turn, giving me too much time to decide what I wanted.

On my last visit, I had ordered way too many goods since I wanted to sample everything. My goal this time around was to keep my order small and reasonable. However, listening to the massive orders before me (dozens upon dozens of potato balls and strudels were ordered), made me want to order more than I needed. In the end, I was somewhat reasonably behaved in my order on everything except the potato balls, where I did order a dozen. (We had driven all this way! Was I really going to order just a couple after such a drive? I needed to make the drive worth it!)

So despite my beginning resolve to not order too many baked goods this time around, I still ended up with a giant bag of four boxes of goods when I left, like almost every customer before me.

At the register, I tried to find out if there is a time when they are less busy, but apparently they are always this busy. It’s crazy how good business is here.

Potato balls:

This is one of their most popular items.  Soft, mashed potato batter is fried a deep golden brown, creating a delicious crispy exterior. In the center of these balls is a beef chili filling. The combination of the chili, potatoes and crispy outside is addicting.

Another savory item I enjoy are the chicken croquette. I have a thing for mashed potato batter fried up. This version has chunks of chicken with the potato mash. It’s a creamy chicken potato mixture. Not as good as the potato balls in my opinion, but still pretty tasty.

Another popular item here are the guava and cheese strudels. Normally I’m not a fan of strudels. I find them overly sweet and I don’t particular like the texture and taste of puff pastries. The strudels here are nice and light and the guava cheese is not too sweet.  Normally I don’t like strudels, but I eat the ones here.

Finally, with such a big display case of baked goods, how could I resist not sampling a few? I got a coffee crumb cake (very moist and sweet, with a layer of cinnamon strudel inside); a dulce de leche cake (the cake was moist with hints of lemon but too sweet for me); and a pumpkin muffin (I know I shouldn’t have gotten this since I’ve been baking pumpkin muffins like crazy. I thought this was alright).

I’ve never ordered a whole cake here, but the ones on display were gorgeous. Perhaps I’ll have to try one sometime.

When we got our food, the potato balls and chicken croquettes were still steaming, so we couldn’t resist and had to eat a few, promptly ruining our appetite for dinner. But they were so good..

Dear Porto’s Bakery: Please make San Diego your next location.
Porto's Bakery & Cafe on Urbanspoon

   

9 Responses to “Porto’s Bakery”

  1. Sophie — November 23, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    That looks absolutely delicious. I’ve wanted to try porto’s for a long time.

    • Kirbie replied: — November 23rd, 2010 @ 3:00 pm

      I really love it. If you are ever in the area, you should check it out.

  2. Stephen Soon — November 23, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    Have you checked out Azucar in Ocean Beach? Its a nice Cuban bakery and good Cuban sandwiches with plantain chips. The cakes are very decadent. Its not as elaborate as these places, but worth going to.

    • Kirbie replied: — November 23rd, 2010 @ 9:58 pm

      Yup, I’ve been there. I like their stuff, but they don’t have as much, and it’s a little out of the way for me. Hard to find parking in that area. Also I find their stuff a little pricey.

  3. caninecologne — November 23, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    great post Kirbie! that’s a place i’d love to visit for our next road trip. potato balls sounds great and those cakes look so beautiful. they have guava pastries too at azucar (a tiny cuban sandwich/baker place in ob) but i felt they were kinda blah. i could make those myself with cream cheese and guava jam. i’m like you – after driving and waiting for a long@$$ time, i’d want to make my order worth it. i’d probably go nuts here!

    • Kirbie replied: — November 23rd, 2010 @ 10:01 pm

      The first time I went I totally went nuts and bought way too much stuff. I was a little more controlled this time. I’m glad I bought a dozen potato balls though cuz they heat up nicely in the toaster oven and BF has already eaten most of them! You should definitely check it out on your next road trip.

  4. Mary — November 24, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    I don’t get up to LA very often but the next time I go I’d like to check this place out. The potato balls look really awesome and so does that case full of goodies! I’d definitely make it worthwhile and get a few things after a long drive, too.

    • Kirbie replied: — November 24th, 2010 @ 2:17 pm

      Oh you should definitely check this spot out! There are so many fresh baked goods! Lots of bread, potato balls, muffins, cupcakes, cookies, cakes. I’ve liked almost everything I’ve tried.

  5. Velia — August 23, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    I love Portos – maybe we can start an online to have them open in San Diego. I did speak with one of the brothers and he said because they keep the business in the family – there wasn’t any family that wnated to relocate outside of LA county.

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