If you haven’t been to Victor’s Cuban Cafe & Lounge in New York, I advise you RUN there, now! Founded by Victor Del Corral in 1963, with the help of his wife, Eloina Ruiz de Ugarrio, Victor’s Café has become a patch in the quilt of New York City. An immigrant from Cuba, Victor worked tirelessly until he realized his dream of opening a restaurant in NYC at Victor’s original location on Columbus Avenue and 71st Street.
In 1980, the now iconic restaurant moved to its spacious new quarters at 236 West 52nd Street (near Broadway), where it has continued to capture the hearts of New Yorkers, theater-goers, and a creative cast of regulars including Barbara Walters, Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé, and Brett Ratner. The attached Cuba Lounge hosts a lively bar scene with live music in the evenings, serving colorful tapas and deliciously crafted cocktails.
The restaurant itself is divided into three spacious dining rooms, accented with warm lighting, colorful Cuban art and lofty sky-lit ceilings. The Cuba Lounge is intimate and warm, featuring a tapas menu and a variety of traditional Cuban cocktails such as Mojitos and Sangria.
When I came in, with two other bloggers we sat at a table in the corner with a perfect few of the space. It’s a gorgeous space, perfect for a business meeting or celebration. Our waiter came by and took our cocktail order. I decided to get La Coqueta ($12) which had Fords gin, simple syrup, lemon juice, wild strawberry puree, topped with Prosseco. It was a delicious, definitely a cocktail I’d get again. We were then sent out a few appetizers to try, everything was delicious, it was actually hard to pick a favorite. One of the appetizers that stood out was the 1492 Aperitivo Cubano ($29) which was an assortment of classic Cuban appetizers. It was nice mix of different Cuban classics for the three of us to try. The dish is made for two but can definitely serve 3-4, what a deal? I am a ceviche lover so the ceviche de pargo ($14) was also a favorite of mine! I’m getting hungry thinking about it.
Just a heads up, all entrees come served with rice and black beans and can be substituted if you’d like another side dish but trust me, you won’t. The rice & black beans they serve are some of the best I’ve tasted and I’m Colombian. All the dishes they brought out were amazing, they brought out the famous, Ropa Vieja ($25), Churrasco con Chimichurri ($29), and Lechon Asado ($26). My favorites were the Churrasco and Ropa Vieja. They were cooked to perfection and full of flavor.
Last, dessert came out and it was phenomenal. I grew up eating arroz con leche (rice pudding) and the rice pudding did not disappoint. It was delicious and perfect with a cappuccino. We tried three desserts but that one made me feel like I was home.
If you’re looking for something different, whether you just want to join friends for amazing food and well-crafted cocktails or are celebrating a holiday or anniversary I highly recommend Victor’s, it’ll change your life!