Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar is dedicated to a continued exploration of Cuban heritage, art, music, flavors and traditions. The open-air setting, tropical ambiance, vintage decor, upbeat Latin music and Concept Chef/Partner, Guillermo Pernot's delectable menu of "Nuevo Cubano" Dishes and traditional favorites, make all of our restaurants a must-see, must-experience dining destination.
¡Cuba! The cozy quarters in Chestnut Hill have an appealing Latin look, but the food falls short on some fundamentals.
Craig LaBan, Inquirer Restaurant Critic | October 5, 2008
Like the sons of other Cuban exiles, Miguel Castañeda Lorente has a compelling story to tell, and an obvious passion for his ancestral island. You sense that connection the moment you step into the handsome storefront dining room of ¡Cuba!, his five-month-old BYOB. Its moodily distressed walls and intimate rooms are hung with vibrant Latin art. The soundtrack bops to a Buena Vista Social Club kind of mood, and on Fridays the music is live.
This cozy space could very well be a slice of Old Havana until you look through the bistro's picture window, where there's a vision of Old Philly instead: the postcard-quaint train station atop Chestnut Hill. Still, I could imagine Castañeda's parents here on a visit from Brooklyn recounting their amazing tales of escape from Castro's revolution. The stolen midnight plane to Miami. The friend's betrayal that left his father shot and nearly dead. It feels like they'd belong, because this lovely spot exudes a familial warmth. In fact, Castañeda runs it with his own 24-year-old son, Michael. The only thing missing to complete the circle of this roots homage is a kitchen worthy of the journey. (Unfortunately, that's kind of important.) Read more...