Cuba Libre & Bar Havana

72 Upper Street, Islington, London, N1 0NY
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Review Summary from 3 reviews

Address
72 Upper Street, Islington, London, N1 0NY

Telephone
020 7354 9998

Cuisine
Cuban

Region
Islington

Nearest Station
Angel (0.27 miles)

Opening Times
monday Opens 11:00 - Closes 22:00
tuesday Opens 11:00 - Closes 22:00
wednesday Opens 11:00 - Closes 22:00
thursday Opens 11:00 - Closes 22:00
friday Opens 11:00 - Closes 23:00
saturday Opens 11:00 - Closes 23:00
sunday Opens 12:00 - Closes 21:30

Cuba Libre & Bar Havana is a Cuban restaurant with a lively atmosphere. They have a Happy Hour and provide seating on the terrace, weather permitting.

All In London Review

Lively bar keeps Cuba Libre going

Cuba Libre is one of Upper Street’s success stories, as it’s been going since 1990 amidst the plethora of other restaurants lining this busy road. It’s remarkable, because while the food is usually satisfactory enough, it’s far from mesmerising, but that’s not what keeps packing in the crowds. It’s the colourful bar, as propped up by Islington’s newly chic population and its plastic tablecloths, walls filled with stickers, nick knacks, posters and ornaments, cigar cabinet and happy hour cocktail jugs.

There are tapas and main dishes like paella, however we are savvy with our ordering and stick to hearty meat dishes – we’re not giving them a chance to offer us rubbery calamari or an Anglicised paella. ‘Ropa Vieja’, literally meaning old clothes, was traditionally a leftovers stew, where housewives would sling in root vegetables, legumes and any meat remaining from a Sunday roast. As such, there is no set recipe, and Cuba Libre’s version is more of a mixed platter of shredded braised beef, Moros y Cristianos (i.e. saffron rice with black eyed peas) and a deliciously earthy cassava mash. The Palomillo Cubano is their version of a steak: thinly cut sirloin coated in crispy breadcrumbs. It’s juicy and with a hint of chargrilled smokiness, more like a veal escalope than a manly chunk of meat and is accompanied by roasted potatoes, crunchy green beans, cassava mash and a spicy salsa.

Under the watchful eye of Che Guevara the “Pudin Diplomatico” beckons to be tried; it turns out to be a saccharine fest of a crème caramel with cooked sultanas and heaps of syrup. Less cavity-inducing are the bananas cooked in their skins in a rum and orange sauce which adds a zesty tang to the syrupy fruit. To offset the gloopiness the café Cubano’s bitterness is ideal - an espresso which you squeeze lime into, not recommended without a side order of sugar.

Despite the fact that the waiter gets two orders wrong it’s impossible to feel let down as we like the friendly staff, however they could do with lowering the prices, as mains are mostly between £12 and £15.

Reviewed by Leila
Published on May 24, 2011


Best For

Bars which serve London's biggest drinks picture

Bars which serve London's biggest drinks

Thirsty? Just as well...

This Cuban-inspired restaurant on Upper Street has been around since 1990, way before the burgeoning foodie scene appeared here.Get a jug of any of the house cocktails, which include Singapore Slings, Margaritas and Hemingway Specials and soak up the booze with corn tamales and cod croquettes.

User Reviews

Reviewed by SARAH from -Chelmsford
We were warned before hand the the food was not very nice, however, after walking past and seeing that the restaurant was very busy we thought we would give it a go. The service was very good, the staff were nice and friendly, however the food was absolutely tasteless. I am not normally fussy about food and my standards are not particularly high but the food was extremely disappointing.

Name: SARAH
Location: -Chelmsford

Feb 9, 2011

Reviewed by Astrogirl
In the evenings Cuba Libre is a zippy restaurant bar offering a range of cocktails as well as food in an attractive environment decorated with revolutionary Cuban paraphernalia. But our day time visit was prompted by the promise of tapas and we ordered several dishes to share between us, and instead of opting for a main meal to follow we simply ordered some more tapas. Our dishes included Spanish omelette, spicy potatoes, roasted peppers, and mushroom flan (the carnivores among our group also enjoyed the spicy sausage). We also shared a nice red wine between us. My intriguingly named desert Diplomatic Pudding turned out to be a rather nice egg custard style dish.
Cuba Libre is a good plac

Feb 15, 2006

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The Nearest Alternatives

Cubana

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Escudo De Cuba

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