La Bodeguita de Cuba serves satisfying fare
In the middle of an Edmonton winter, the desire to escape to warmer climates is contagious, but it’s not always possible. So, other forms of escape are sought, even if it’s just going out for dinner and drinks.
Walking into La Bodeguita de Cuba is an escape enough. Its light blue walls brighten the room, and the smell of food entices patrons to forget their problems. A Cuban flag is on the wall opposite the entrance, hanging behind a set of bongos and a guitar. On the walls are photos of Cuba, and Latin music videos play on the television.
A small bar in the alcove to the right of the entrance has stools where people may wish to sit and drink. But with the smell of the food, how could you pass up sitting down at a table and partaking in a full meal?
My dinner partner and I started by ordering a few drinks. One was a Cuba libre ($6.50), a cocktail made with lime juice, coke, and one ounce of Cuban rum. The Cuban mojito ($6.50) was made with mint, lime juice, and an ounce of Cuban rum. The fresh mint at the bottom of the glass added a refreshing touch. My dinner partner also ordered a pineapple juice ($3.75) to go with dinner.
For dinner, I ordered the fricasé de pollo ($17.50). It was a quarter chicken, marinated with garlic gloves, onion, and bell peppers. It came with white rice, beans, and sweet plantains. The chicken was cooked perfectly and was moist and lightly flavoured. It fell off the bone easily, which led to it being eaten by hand. The onions and bell peppers that topped the chicken tasted precisely how marinated onions and peppers should taste, which is flavourful without drawing much attention. The sweet plantains were fried, crispy on the outside, but soft and sweet on the inside. The plain white rice came in a dome-shaped portion, and tasted as you would expect. The beans, which were a little soupy and required a spoon to eat, had a nice flavour.
My dinner partner ordered the lechon asado ($22), a slow roasted pork leg with Cuban mojo, moro rice, boiled yuca, and a side of salad. The Cuban mojo had an ample amount of garlic, citrus, and oil marinade that infused itself into the meat. The roasted pork leg was served pulled apart and, like the chicken, was tender and moist. The mojo was the driving flavour of the pork, and each bite was satisfyingly delicious. The moro rice, a common Cuban dish, consisted of a black bean and rice medley and a surprisingly rich flavour. Between the two rice and bean dishes, this was my favourite. The boiled yuca was soft and tasty, and not overly starchy. The salad was a simple serving of tomatoes and cucumber.
The food was flavourful, the staff was friendly, and the atmosphere was pleasant. On top of that, the drinks and the Latin music helped us briefly forget the freezing temperatures outside. I will eat here again.
Four out of five forks.
LA BODEGUITA DE CUBA
11810 87 St
Mon-Thurs: 11:30 am-9:30 pm
Fri: 11:30 am-6:30 pm
Sat: 6 pm-11 pm
Sun: 11:30 am-8 pm
Featured Image: From left to right: the Cuban mojito, Cuban libre, and pineapple juice are some of the drinks available. | Stephen Strand