Philadelphia review: Alma de Cuba

While on business in Philadelphia last week, I happened to visit a few restaurants. Although I didn’t get out to Govinda’s or Horizons (too far, maybe next time), I did get to a few other decent spots.

Kicking things off, let’s talk dinner at Alma de Cuba on Walnut Street. This is a “Starr Restaurant“, meaning it’s owned by Stephen Starr, and came highly recommended.

Cuban cuisine isn’t normally too heavy on the vegetarian options, but there are often a few gourmet surprises that make the visit worthwhile. Alma de Cuba was no exception. Happily, the friendly staff was well trained, and immediately responded with a list of vegetarian options.

My choice was a vegetarian pastelon which, although not on the regular menu, was apparently a regular offering. It was delicious – layers of plantains, potato, black beans, and other tasty bits with a sweet sauce. Served with those delicious bread balls filled with cheese, I was in happy tasty town.

Of course, I had to try a mojito – this time a “suave” made with Bacardi Limon, which was truly subtle and (yes) suave. Also suave was the plantation-esque decor and clever projected photos on the wall. I did spot a beautiful pressed tin ceiling remaining from a previous occupant, too. The lighting was beyond dim, so it’s a good thing I trusted the staff or I would have had no idea what I was eating!

All in all, a very enjoyable (if expensive) dinner.

Alma de Cuba, 1623 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA (