A family-owned restaurant located in Manhattan’s Theater District, Victor’s Cafe offers live Cuban music in a festive old-Havana vibe.
In my opinion, the best time to dine here is a little before sunset so you can experience a breezy tropical setting. Stay and dine here into the evening hours to enjoy Cuban live music from 6:30 pm and onwards. image courtesy of Victor’s Cafe
Be sure to checkout Cuba Lounge, an intimate and warm space, located near the entrance of the restaurant. At Cuba Lounge you’ll find yourself surrounded by vintage photos of the Del Corral family and celebrities. Grab a mojito or sangria while you listen to Cuban tunes.
El Viejito Mojito (left): Aged Rum paired with fresh lime, sugarcane, mint leaves in a simple syrup. Strong, sweet, and smooth. Excellent cocktail.
Red Sangria (right): Phenomenal. Smooth, fruity and light with bits of oranges, guava and pineapple.
Ensalada de Aguacate y Berro: This salad is a must-do at Victor’s. An avocado, watercress, red onion salad topped with mango vinaigrette. There was a hint of sweetness from the red onions and the mango vinaigrette dressing was simply perfection. I loved the generous portion of avocado. A favorite!
Ceviche de Pargo: Red Snapper marinated with lime, onions and garlic over mango and avocado. The combination of mango and avocado complemented the red snapper which was fresh, citrusy and juicy. A favorite!
1492 Aperitivo Cubano: An assortment of classic Cuban appetizers.
Cilantro Cuban Tamale: Absolutely delicious tamale filled with a generous amount of pork. So soft and tender. Unfortunately, the tamales are not on the menu, and thus the only way to taste them is to order the sampler. A favorite!
Croquetas Coral: An explosion of ham in your mouth in these smoked ham croquettes. If you’re a fan of ham, this is a good appetizer to order.
Empanada de Pollo: A baked savory puff pastry shell filled with all natural shredded chicken. The chicken had a more curry flavor rather than smoky latin flavors. Although the puff pastry was flaky and delicious, the chicken was rather bland for me.
Cuban Quesadilla: Handmade soft yuca shells stuffed with creole shrimp and Manchego cheese. The quesadillas were incredibly delicious, buttery and creamy! I would order this appetizer individually, it was that good! A favorite!
Yuca Fries: Plain, crispy fries that paired well with the sauces on the side.
Bartolito: A sweet plantain filled with roast pork, olives and raisins over a zesty black bean sauce and goat cheese. Although I’m not a fan of goat cheese, this appetizer was unique and quite good. If you are a goat cheese lover, make sure you try this one.
Ponle Ropa a la Vaca: A small portion of Ropa Vieja & Vaca Frita since they are both popular items at Victor’s Cafe.
Ropa Vieja (left): Victor’s house specialty. Slow braised and pulled Prime Black Angus skirt steak in garlic, tomato, onion and pepper sauce. Although I don’t generally eat red meat, all I can say is wow! Juicy, tender red meat loaded with flavor and absolutely delicious. A favorite!
Vaca Frita al Mojo Agrio (right): Pan fried shredded Prime Black Angus skirt steak, red onions, cilantro and Seville orange mojo. The steak was crunchy and dry since it was pan fried. This dish was just okay for me.
Lechón Asado: Cuban style roast pig with yuca, garlic mojo and red onions. Again, I don’t generally eat pork, but this was quite delicious, I was pleasantly surprised. I especially loved the combination of pork, red onions and rice & beans. A traditional dish with loads of flavor.
Pescados y Mariscos/Fish
Salmón Carnaval: Grilled Atlantic salmon over a bed of Cuban polenta and topped with charred pineapple salsa. Fish is one of my favorite entrees to order and the salmon was delicious and an overall good health option. I loved the addition of the pineapple salsa on top and creamy polenta at the bottom. A favorite!
Black Beans & White Rice (left): This rice and beans came as a side with the entrees above. The black beans were excellent, perfectly salted with a hint of sweetness.
Plátanos Maduros Fritos (right): Although the Sweet plantains (maduros) were fried, they weren’t overly oily which was great. Well-made.
Guava Crumb Cake (left): Essentially a crumb bar filled with guava. The crumb bar was crumbly, buttery with a hint of saltiness, however it was also a little too sweet for me.
Tres Leches (right): Easily one of the best Tres Leches I have ever had. This flavorful cake was soaked in three different types of milk. The Tres Leches was light and the perfect complement to a full meal. A favorite!
RESTAURANT REVIEW: Victor’s Cafe
CUISINE: Cuban/Tapas Bar/Lounge
FAVORITES: El Viejito Mojito | Red Sangria | Ensalada de Aguacate y Berro | Ceviche de Pargo | Cilantro Cuban Tamale | Cuban Quesadilla | Ropa Vieja | Salmon Carnaval | Black Beans & White Rice | Tres Leches
VERDICT: 4.5 / 5
Having visited Puerto Rico four times, I fell in love with Latin food which is easily one of my favorite cuisines. There are a few Latin restaurants in Manhattan, however Victor’s Cafe stands out for its top notch food, sophisticated ambience, live music and great hospitality. The food here is authentic and not overly oily, and thus you will leave Victor’s Cafe not feeling too stuffed. If you’re a beef lover, I highly recommend ordering the Ropa Vieja which is a signature dish and also incredibly delicious. Looking back at my experience at Victor’s Cafe, there were so many favorites that it is difficult to pinpoint just one particular dish that I loved. With that said, if I had to choose one dish that stood out it would be the delectable Mango Vinaigrette Avocado Watercress salad. I could eat that salad anytime! Apart from the food, the cocktails here are amazing, especially the mojitos and sangria, you simply cannot go wrong! Lastly, Victor’s Cafe is located in the Theater District making it the perfect date spot prior to seeing a show. A new favorite of mine in Manhattan! Very highly recommended.
Food: Outstanding | Drinks: Outstanding | Décor: Classy/Romantic/Tropical | Service: Outstanding | Value: Good
What’s your favorite Cuban dish? Any favorite Cuban restaurants in Manhattan?