Place: Favela Cubana
Location: 543 LaGuardia Place (between Bleecker St. & 3rd St.)
The scoop: Looking for good drinks and food? You are in luck at Favela Cubana. We’d like to send a special thank you to Karen for inviting us to check out the brunch scene at Favela.
It was such beautiful day that we decided to sit in the patio located at the front of the restaurant. The outdoor area is pretty large and can accommodate multiple tables.
The hostess Andrea welcomed us to the restaurant and was very sweet and made sure we were well situated and taken care of. Our server was new, but he did a good job providing us with information.
The inside of restaurant is long and narrow. In comparison to the abundance of sunshine outside, the inside of the restaurant looked slightly dark (although you can’t tell in this photo). Congos were set at the bar to serve as stools. A pair of congos were at the entrance of the patio area as well. We found this super unique and fun.
Bottoms up: We suggest taking advantage of the one-hour bottomless special. The cost is $14.99 in addition to the purchase of an entrée or eggs. The restaurant offers six different types of drinks, so you are bound to find one that you enjoy!
Victoria enjoyed her red sangria. It had the perfect balance of a fruity taste without being overly sweet. The drink was pretty strong too.
Erica loved the sparkling mojito. It had a great traditional mojito flavor with a sparkling kick. If you enjoy sweet drinks, you will love this.
Stephanie had a mango and apricot bellini. She thought she was going to like mango more, but she actually preferred apricot. While both were refreshing and served with what tasted like fresh juice, the apricot had more flavor.
Chew on this:
Empanadas $7 / Served with mojo verde sauce. Choice of beef picadillo, chicken or sweet corn
We were served three types of empanadas — chicken, ground beef and corn. We all agreed that the chicken lacked flavor and was pretty dry. The corn empanadas had the best flavor, followed by the ground beef.
Guacamole $8 / Fresh avocado, jalapeño, chopped tomato, red onions, cilantro and chips
It was a unanimous decision to order the guacamole to share. We all really like guac, and we enjoyed Favela’s version. It was blended well — not too chunky, not too mushy — and had good flavor. The servers were happy to give us more chips.
Ropa Vieja $15 / Braised pulled skirt steak with tomato, bell peppers, Spanish onions, white rice and black beans
I will order Ropa Vieja at a Spanish restaurant 95 percent of the time, and this Ropa Vieja is worth writing about. I was glad that I was able to substitute the white rice for yellow rice. The meat was extremely flavorful that I did not have to go overboard with the hot sauce. It was a huge serving, and I was able to share some with everybody. I highly recommend this dish, especially if you are hungry.
Steak and Eggs $16 / Grilled hanger steak, two eggs any style, chimichurri, baby arugula and yucca fries
Like Victoria, I was eyeing the Ropa Vieja, but we wanted to try a variety of dishes, so I went with the steak and eggs instead. The steak was cooked how I requested — medium — and the eggs were scrambled well. I was happy to see that the dish came with hearty sides of both fries and salad. The salad had a very light dressing on top. While this dish was sizable and kept me full, I found the food to be a little cold. Despite that, I’d still recommend this dish.
Open Faced Sandwich $14 / Poached eggs, asparagus, wild mushrooms, ricotta cheese, truffle oil and rustic bread
I craved everything in the dish’s description, but the dish just didn’t deliver. The toast was pretty flat, and despite the ingredients, it just wasn’t flavorful. Thankfully, Favela had great hot sauces to spice it up. The eggs were also overdone and not runny. I would shy away from this dish.
Gelato and Dessert Empanadas
We ended our brunch feast with gelato (or ice cream) and dessert empanadas. The menu stated that it was gelato, but from the taste and the way it melted, it was clearly ice cream. After having savory empanadas to start the meal, we couldn’t resist ordering the dessert empanadas to cap off the meal. The empanadas were crispy on the outside and warm and filled with apples on the inside. They were like mini apple pies. A bite of an empanada together with the ice cream was yummy!
The final bite: Favela Cubana is a unique Cuban fusion restaurant with an outdoor space that can’t be beat on a sunny afternoon. Overall, the space and options for both lunch and brunch will likely bring us back to Favela Cubana.