Escape to Old Havana nights at Cuba Libre

Tropical decorations and dishes provide guests of Cuba Libre with an island adventure.

Tropical decorations and dishes provide guests of Cuba Libre with an island adventure.

Walking down Second Street, one can’t help but notice Cuba Libre, an Old City restaurant that looks like a piece of Old Havana, Cuba. But it’s the food that draws customers inside.

COLIN KERRIGAN TTN Experience Cuban culture not far from Main Campus at Cuba Libre restaurant and rum bar. In addition to flavorful Cuban dishes, the restaurant offers late-night dancing on Fridays and Saturdays.

“We choose all fresh ingredients and really think about how the ingredients coexist with each other,” said Guillermo Pernot, the corporate concept chef for Cuba Libre. “We work on having more innovated cooking techniques, and we try to use traditional ingredients as much as possible.”

Lunchtime at Cuba Libre is ideal for college students with its $15 Cuban Bento lunch special, which includes an appetizer, salad, entree and dessert. Patrons can fill their plates with a number of weekly selections, such as marlin spread with malanga chips, a Cuban cob salad, marinated shrimp in a mango sauce and berries topped with a rum-infused whipped cream for dessert.

“I believe that people are tired of bland food, and they are looking for something more exciting and comforting at the same time. The flavors are bold and vibrant,” Pernot said.

The restaurant’s décor is bold and vibrant too. Palm trees are scattered throughout the restaurant, which looks like a Cuban neighborhood, complete with street lamps and a small balcony. The sounds of Old Havana also fill the atmosphere. The music plays loud enough to hear yet soft enough to carry a conversation.

“I feel like I’m sitting in a café in Cuba every time we come here,” patron Sandy Lorenzo, 25, said. “I love the restaurant in every aspect – food, service and atmosphere – they’ve got it covered.”

Everything is covered – right down to dancing. On Fridays and Saturdays, people flood Cuba Libre’s doors for dancing at Bailamos, a late night Latin floorshow from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Jessica Lopez can be reached at

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