This is a restaurant review of Cuba Libre located in Old City Philadelphia near the intersection of 2nd Street and Market Street.
We went there on a Wednesday night. We drove around for a little while looking for street parking. We figured that i should be pretty easy to find street parking considering it was a wednesday night but not street parking was found. We had to park in a pay-parking lot for about $16 dollars (I think. And this reminds me, I still owe the drive money for parking. I feel like I am perpetually cursed with 20 dollar bills in my wallet--I guess that may be a blessing to some).
We were seated quickly; we had no reservations. I went to the restroom when the others were seated. Why do I mention this? Because I think one can tell a lot about a restaurant by the quality of the bathrooms. The verdict? The bathroom was roomy and clean. Good times.
The service was outstanding. The waitress was readily available without being intrusive--a rare combination. I was instructed by one of my friends to close my menu so that the waitress would know that we were ready to order. I closed by menu and said, "Does that really work?" Within 5 seconds, the waitress was at our table asking if we were ready to order. I laughed. :)
We were initially given flat bread and mango butter. It was okay. The bread was good (not too soft though; I like soft bread) but the mango butter was a little bland (not bad, but I was expecting something a little sweeter with a name like mango butter). This was complimentary.
I don't know the names of the appetizers that we ordered.
One was fried bananas that were sliced thin and, well, fried.
I felt that this was a little bland also. It was fun and novel but ultimately a little too bland for me.
I don't know the name of this appetizer either. It was a spicy patty. But again, this dish was a little too mild for me.
The mojitoes were outstanding (but on the expensive side, about 8 dollars if I remember correctly).
My friend ordered this sandwich. She said it was tasty. Don't know what it was called.
Another friend ordered this. Again I don't know what it was called. I did try some and it was pretty good. Tasted like cajan jambalaya.
I ordered this, plato cuba libre. It's essentially a sampler of all their most popular dishes. It had a small steak, a bisque and salmon. It was outstanding. Some of the best food I've had in a long time. I highly recommend this dish.
Overall, I thought the service was great, the atmosphere was cozy (a little dark though), and the food was hit or miss. My main reservation about this place was that the food seemed overpriced to me for what you were getting. If money is not an issue for you, I would recommend but if you are on a budget or fugal, I would look elsewhere. I moderately recommend the restaurant but I highly recommend the plato cuba libre. Good times, good times.
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