When we first arrived at the restaurant we sat at the bar to wait for the rest of our party. The bartender was very friendly and helped me decide on a mojito from their extensive specialty cocktail list. I went with the Pomegranate Mojito, which was quite good, I was reminded why I don't drink in Philly after receiving the check for $24.20 which included my one mojito (I think it was $14) and my husband's two beers.
The restaurant is designed to look like a big open air courtyard with a second floor dining area that looks like balconies off the buildings surrounding the courtyard area below.
Along with a traditional Sangria, Cuba Libre serves a White Pear Sangria. Unable to choose, our server suggested getting a half carafe of each, which worked out perfect for our party of three. I preferred the red, but both were good. I loved that our server encouraged my desire to eat the fruit that remained after the drink was gone and he helped scoop it into our glasses.
I decided to have the Tres Amigos appetizer as my entree, which was three different empenadas. They were very filling and a bargain at $12.50. I also had a side of Maduros, which is sweet fried plantains. They were delicious, but I could only eat a few - I took them home and had them for breakfast the next morning (yum!). I ended my meal with a cup of Cafe con Xocilati and a scoop of coconut gelato. The Xocolati tasted like a smooth hot chocolate and didn't have much coffee taste to it, but it did pair nicely with the gelato.
*As an added note, I recently visited Cuba Libre for brunch and was disappointed in more ways than one. The service was slow (polite and accommodating, just slow) and my dish was terrible. It had so much potential, too. I ordered the torrejas, which was recommended by my waiter (I was deciding between that and the Waffle de Coco). The presentation was beautiful, it was one giant, slice of thick toast, with 3 delicious blackberries on top. The toast was stuffed with Franjelico-Marscapone cheese, which was a little runny for my taste. The toast itself was visually burnt (blackened?) and tasted that way as well and it was served surrounded by a glaze that was described as honey but just tasted like burnt. I have a thing against sending food back, but if I was okay with that sort of thing, this thing definitely would have been sent back. I had a taste of my dining companion's pollo frito con panqueques and it was quite good, so I wouldn't swear off brunch at Cuba Libre, just don't order the torrejas.
Favorite Dish: My favorite dish was probably the Sangria (hey, there was food IN it!)
A very fun place in Old City, this place gets packed on weekend nights with a young crowd. The Cuban food is not the best in town, nor the best value, but the atmosphere is wonderful and most dishes are still quite good. A great place to dine al fresco on cooler summer nights.
Favorite Dish: The black bean dip appetizer is excellent, but the sandwiches are mediocre.
Contemporary interpretation of traditional Cuban cuisine, authentic Cuban cocktails, and the largest selection of rum in Philadelphia. The interior has a beautifully weathered historical feel. The materials combine warm mahogany and oak, cracked tile, painted plaster, exposed concrete and brick, and iron railings. With iron balconies overlooking a courtyard, a dramatic 30-foot ceiling, and paddle fans turning lazily, the space looks and feels like a street in Old Havana in the mid 1940’s. Eat outside on warm summer days and get ready to stay late into the night to drink and even dance! Dress fashionable on weekends.
Favorite Dish: Vaca Frita-
Slices of braised beef brisket seared, crisped and laced with a mojo demi. Served on congris with a Cuban salad of torn romaine, avocado, watercress, black olives and red onion.
The food is great! Dinner or lunch is wonderful but the tropical brunch on Sat. and Sun. is the best! The restaurant is Cuban themed and is made to look like an old Havana courtyard, complete with building facades with balconies and everything. It's really a beautiful place. They just opened another one in the Quarter at Tropicana in Atlantic City, where the food is equally good, but the ambiance just isn't the same. The Philadelphia one has a rolling door at the front of the restaurant that they open in warm weather so you can sit outside or just enjoy the open-air breezes from nearby inside.
Favorite Dish: They have this French toast made with 2 thick bread slices dipped in an egg batter then filled with Frangelico-scented mascarpone and rolled in hazelnuts, finished off with a drizzling of honey and powdered sugar. And the tropical fruit-filled belgian waffles are to die for! Did I mention their Mojitos? Mojitos are the greatest drinks ever. A Mojito is a rum drink with mint sprigs and all I'll say is that the fresh pressed sugar-cane juice they use at Cuba Libre makes them the best in the North East! All this talking about it has made me hungry!
Cuba Libre attempts to recreate the Old Havana of the 1940s right in the heart of Old City, Philadelphia. The problem is that if you visit here on a Friday or Saturday night, you'll be surrounded by people who don't look anything like the sharp-dressed Cubans of the 1940s. I'm just not a big fan of the cheeseballs who frequent Old City on the weekends these days. You'll also have to fight for a space around the bar.
My recommendation would be to come here on a weeknight or even just for lunch. It is at these times that you will actually be able to appreciate the interesting design of the interior and perhaps, just for a minute, be transported to Havana.
Favorite Dish: It's one of the few places in the city where you can get a good mojito. The rum selection is great and if you like Cuban coffee, this is the place for you.
As for the food, if you like sweet hints of fruit in just about everything, then you'll enjoy their menu. Try the Sun Tanned Salmon which is served with rum, honey and mango . . . mmmmmm.
I found this cuban restaurant that blew me away. Not only was the food great but the ambiance was out of site. The inside is totaly cool . Its like being in a street in Old Habana