A Little Piece of a Cuban Heaven: Alma de Cuba

courtesy of almadecubarestaurant.com

Definitely one of the highlights during my recent trip to Philadelphia, a manager of a restaurant that I walked by recommended Alma de Cuba for drinks, and the drinks were so fabulous that my girlfriends and eye stayed for hours. I’m a huge fan of caipirinhas and decided to sample their black cherry version which turned out to be delicious and quite potent. The same went for the rest of their cocktails, including their mojito which I think I got tipsy off of just smelling. But what I really want to get to is their food. I know, I know, why don’t I have a food picture for this post, but the restaurant had a really dark ambience and I didn’t want to be that tourist taking flash pictures of everything. I had assumed that I would be able to find pictures of their creations on their site once I got home, but for some reason, when I go to the websites of Philadelphia restaurants, they don’t seem to include pictures of their food which is quite a shame since it is such a huge selling point.

The food was absolutely superb, upon further research at home, it turns out that Alma de Cuba is part of the Starr Group which own restaurants all over the United States including Morimoto and Buddahkan in New York City. We ordered the following and I’m really hoping that I get a chance to stop by the next time I head to Philadelphia.

Tuna ceviche: It was definitely one of the best ceviches I have ever tried before. The tuna was flavorful and accented by the light sweetness of juicy watermelon made this an incredibly refreshing dish.

Royal palm dates: Which was almond stuffed bacon wrapped dates with blue cheese on endive. This is one of those restaurants that tons of restaurants have, so it is far from imaginative nowadays, however, I have never had a bad version of it, which is probably why so many places have this one the menu. You get so many different types of textures and flavors that meld together beautifully. I could have eaten a whole plate of these.

Empanada de Verde: It was so disappointing that I only thought of this dish at average at best, since I picked it out thinking that you can’t really mess up an empanada, but apparently you kind can. It was an empanada with spinach, manchego cheese and artichoke. What made me sad about these is that they were very bland. Not a word you want to associate with empanadas when you are use to associating them with strong flavors.

Grilled octopus: When done right, octopus is an incredibly satisfying dish. The flavors were brought out with herbs and citrus and it was cooked properly. Poorly cooked octopus is definitely a pet peeve of mine because it truly does ruin the entire dish since it become so chewy and hard to eat. However, at Alma, they definitely know what they are doing as my this plate was elegant and felt like you were slicing through butter.

Cuban Heaven on little plates.

9 out of 10

1623 Walnut Street

Philadelphia, PA 19103-5402

(215) 988-1799

-Joyce Huang
Alma de Cuba on Urbanspoon