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May 6, 2014 12:21 PM

El Vez, Alma De Cuba...something else?

I hate to lump together such eclectic cuisines, but if my DPs want to try something with a Central/South American flair, what is the best foodie destination?

I'm on the snob side, and like things such as Lacroix, Volver, Morimoto, etc. but am adventurous enough to enjoy a hole-in-the wall Japanese place where they serve raw fish guts. Most of the other DPs are Steven Starr types, which I don't mind but remain skeptical.

Any recs from this rarefied board?

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  1. If you want "real deal" Latino food, head to Tierra Colombiana on North 5th St. It is by no means a "hole in the wall" but the neighborhood can be daunting to some. The menu is broken in half by (mainly) Cuban and Colombian specialties.


    1 Reply
    1. re: Philly Ray

      The folks that own Tierra Columbiana also are owners of Mixto in Washington Square in Philly. Similar food in a slightly more upscale atmosphere.

    2. Cuba Libre is the other place I would consider. The chef there is Guillermo Pernot who used to be chef at Pasion.

      Sazon is a BYO Venezuelan place in Northern Liberties that would be a little bit of a different take on things.

      Sabor Latino and Inka Wall in Upper Derby are options. The latter is in Hmart.

      7 Replies
      1. re: cwdonald

        I just ate at Cuba Libre and it was really disappointing. Super sweet sauces and really uninteresting food on the "new" side of the menu. Service was overbearing and. Bit condescending to boot. Crossing it off my list unfortunately.

        1. re: barryg

          What meal did you have there? Brunch or dinner? Very sorry to hear that. Is Guillermo still there?

          1. re: cwdonald

            I don't know for certain, but I don't think Pernot was ever there in more than an advisory capacity.

            1. re: Buckethead

              He is listed as chef and partner on their web site...

          2. re: cwdonald

            My first thought when I read this was Sazon

            1. re: Bigley9

              Sazon looks incredible! I'm a little turned off by the cash only, but the menu makes up for it. I love the idea of the appetizer sampler plus the La Selva Arepas and maybe the 16-bean soup to be a bit mucho South-American.

          3. Another option in the South American camp is Picanha Grill in NE Philly. It's Brazilian rodizio but not a corporate chain like Chima or Fogo de Chao (it's also less expensive). It's in a converted diner, so not big on atmosphere, but you can BYO so if you bring cachaca and limes, they will mix up caipirinhas for you.


            1. I've been to Rosa Blanca only for lunch, but I liked my meal - more than I thought I would, even. It could be a nice fit for your group's preferences.