Cuba Libre/Amada/Tinto: A Spanish journey via Philadelphia!!

Forgive me my followers for I have sinned in not posting this sooner. Monday’s are generally filled with workouts with my personal trainer. Due to the fact that Memorial Day falls on a Monday, my trainer was nice enough to let me come in on Tuesday. Yay!! No kicking of the ass!!

So, with a rare Monday off, we decided to celebrate Memorial Day Latin and Spanish style. We started at Cuba Libre to check out their mojito Monday’s. What is this you ask? Every Monday, Cuba Libre offers half price pitchers of their mojito’s and sangria’s. We decided to try their pomegranate mojito. It was made with Brinley Gold Shipwreck spiced rum and pomegranate juice. That’s it. And boy was it good! If you’re wondering the pitcher they use is small, it’s not. It’s very big. So make sure you order some food. That’s exactly what we did next.

We ordered three tapas to go with our amazing mojito. We started with the octopus a la parrilla, which is a truffle and citrus marinated grilled baby octopus, smoked potato crema, crispy garbanzo beans, and Spanish paprika. It was so delicious! The potato crema and Spanish paprika was such a wonderful combination to go with the perfectly grilled octopus. This is a dish you have to order when you come here.

We next tried the ceviche mixto. It is made with poached lobster tail, shrimp, squid, fresh coconut water, chilies, citrus, Thai basil, cucumber salsa, and coconut chips. The description of the ingredients alone should speak for itself. It was amazing. I was a wonderful, bountiful explosion of flavors.

Last, but certainly not least, was Mama Amelia’s empanadas. The empanadas here are fantastic. You get to choose two or three. Please choose all three! We did. You get pulled pork, ground beef, and hand-chopped chicken empanadas. We could eat these all day. They are that good.

Cuba Libre is just a fun, relaxing place to go for brunch, lunch or dinner. The service and staff have always been top notch whenever we have dined here. If you want an explosion of Cuba, Latin and Spanish flavors, put Cuba Libre on your list!

We next headed to another one of our favorite restaurants in the city, Amada. This is Iron Chef Jose Garces’ flagship restaurant. It opened in 2005, and is still going strong. If you want wonderful, authentic Spanish cuisine, you need to try this place. Here is a big tip for my readers, Garces’ restaurants have a fantastic happy hour menu. And as it so happens, that’s when we arrived!

We started with a glass of their wonderful sangria tinto. It is spiced red wine, with orange, apple and cinnamon. We always order this when we come here. It is delicious. The layer of spice is amazing, and it’s just so refreshing.

We ordered three tapas, and started with the pimientos de padron, which was flash fried peppers, trout roe, egg, and crispy garlic. We next ordered the chorizo Bilbao, which is paprika garlic sausage and parsley. Our third dish was aged manchego montadito, which is served with truffle lavender honey, and green apple. All three dishes were wonderful. You really can’t go wrong with anything you order here. We’ve never had a bad meal or dish at Amada. It’s no wonder why they’ve been around so long!

Our third and final stop for the day was yet another Iron Chef Jose Garces restaurant, Tinto. It’s another Spanish restaurant but the difference between Amada and Tinto is that Tinto is a Basque pintxos bar and restaurant. It’s much smaller than Amada, but really cozy and intimate. We love coming here, and we made it to their happy hour as well!

We started with their sangria tinta, which is red wine with lemon and applejack. Simple, but flavorful and delicious. We just ordered two pintxos, which if you are in northern Spain, this is what they call tapas. We ordered the montadito de mejillones, which is preserved mussels and tomato escabeche, and the albondigas, which is meatballs with piperade and manchego. Both were just delicious. The preserved mussels were amazing, and the presentation of both were sublime. We would absolutely order both pintxos again.

What we love about Tinto is that you get a true authentic taste of northern Spain. There aren’t many places in the Philadelphia were you can get this type of delicious food. Like Amada, we’ve always enjoyed the food at Tinto, and it is also one of our favorite restaurants.

We finished our Latin, Spanish food crawl on a high note. You can’t go wrong when choosing any of these three wonderful restaurants. I don’t think many people really know how fortunate we are to have so many wonderful Latin and Spanish restaurants in Philadelphia. Bienvenido!

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