Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Pennsylvania >
Jan 6, 2007 06:12 AM

Alma De Cuba Review

Just got back from dinner at Alma De Cuba tonight.(1623 Walnut St) I was a little wary of the quality of the meal I was going to have since I had been reading rather mediocre reviews for it lately. However, there were two definite standout dishes that were not only very tasty, but appropriately priced and unique in flavor. I started with the Royal Palm Dates which consisted of almond stuffed dates wrapped in bacon. This appetizer was absolutely delicious. There were five of them served with cabrales and coconut dressing. A must-try. Next, I ordered the "Lechon Asado" which was a very "unlean" pork shank that was incredibly tender and flavorful. It was similar to the dishes served at the new "Fatty Crab" restaurant in New York City. If you're not a fan of fatty meat then stay clear of this dish. It was served with fried plantains and a small portion of rice and beans. The portion of pork was very large and well priced for $21. My friend got the Oysters Rodriguez appetizer which were fried oysters served atop spinach. The oysters were served lukewarm and had a soggy texture to them. He also had the seabass entree which was cooked perfectly but lacked a distinctive flavor. I think the avocado "sauce" could have used some more spice. We both had the classic mojitos which were good, but I've had better at the chain restaurant "Bahama Breeze."

Overall, the bill was $115 including two mojitos each and no dessert.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Sounds nice but I've been there for drinks and I know that the mojitos are about $11 a piece. Times for equals $44 which for me with the SO would have equaled two beers as an aperitif and a bottle of wine with dinner. These places make a killing off of mojitos and that kind of stuff. But as one who loves pork I think that I will finally have dinner there soon. Thanks!

    1. I was very uphappy with my Alma de Cuba experience. The service was slow, the food overpriced and the only standout dish of the night for a party of 4 having 3 courses each was 1 great dessert.

      1. I've been to Alma De Cuba twice (once was me and my SO, another time was a group of four) and both times everything was excellent. The last time I went in the group was after seeing Cirque Du Soleil, so not too long ago. I don't remember what everyone else had, but the Vaca Frita (Fried Cow) was very good and everyone else at the table enjoyed the Ceviche. I will say that the Tres Leches we had for desert was decent, but I've had better elsewhere.

        The service was decent but not as attentive as one would expect in a higher class restaurant. The style and decor were very interesting and appealing, but it was very loud and I felt like I spent the entire night yelling across the table. All-in-all I would say I had positive experience and would eat there again.

        1. We were given a Starr Certificate for the holidays and thought we would use it last weekend at Alma. Went early (5:45) since we had theatre tickets and the place was fairly quiet.

          I asked the server for her recommendations and I was in no way disappointed. My husband started with the Suzuki ceviche, a special that night. Fish was fantastic. He wasn't a fan of the tomatillo salad, but I liked it. I had the lobster ceviche, which was FANTASTIC! Could have done without the lime sorbet, but nice.

          Then came the entrees. My seabass came out cold, but delicious. Before we even flagged down our server, the management was there. They apologized profusely, and took both our meals. Fresh plates of my husband's duck- perfectly medium rare, and my seabass appearred quickly thereafter. I am not usually a fan of seabass, but it really was quite tasty. When our server came to refill, I thanked her for the recs again and she also apologized, and the manager also appeared again to make sure everything was fine.

          We finished with the banana dessert, which we found out when we got the bill, was comped.

          I was thoroughly impressed with Alma. Comparing it to the Ritz, which we had gone to the week before, left a clear winner. Alma won for the food, the service and the fantastic handling of my cold dish. Can't wait to go again.

          Dinner was $127 with tip and a comped dessert- no alcohol.

          1. ^ the service you describe is one of the reasons i've come to love stephen starr restaurants SO much since i've moved to phila. all of his servers (with the exception of one who must have slipped through the cracks at jones) fit the PERfect business client dinner model. i coordinate a ton of events for my job, and i always count on his places for a unique dinner to impress out-of-towners... i know food is ultimately important, but decor and service count for a LOT in my book, too, as far as how often i'll book a place.

            in response to the person posting about the tres leches, this is a dessert i've just been introduced to, from a dinner at los taquitos de puebla (1149 s 9th st, a couple blocks south of washington). i thought it was absolutely delicious. is anyone an expert on this dessert? where are the best places to get it? i'll certainly have to try the alma de cuba version, now.