"ropa vieha" (sp?) is great and authentic. great atmosphere and a cigar lounge to boot.
Really, really good (dam citysearch requires 100 character limit).
Pros: great drinks, great food
Cons: cant get busy
If you are looking for authentic Cuban cuisine, this is definitely NOT the place! This restaurant that prides itself on its history and association with Cuba really comes off as some Cuban/American fusion. I don't know if it's just indicative of Palo Alto, but I found the cuisine inauthentic and extremely pricey. I believe this may be the only restaurant in the world where "Arroz con Pollo" costs $16.00. Speaking of "Arroz con Pollo," their rendition of this dish left a great deal to be desired. I found the food very bland, the rice and plaintain were dry and hard. Oh, the most disgusting part was that my plate was served to me "lukewarm." I was so put out that, in lieu of dinner, I ended up ordering a $9.00 appetizer plate of 3 empanadas which were actually quite tasty. The plating of the food was beautiful; I just wish equal effort had been put into the preparation of the dish. The service was mediocre. If you want REAL, reasonably priced Cuban cuisine, go to the city--your stomach and wallet will be pleased.
We had gone as a group for a friend's birthday. Initially there were four of us, then two more added 20 minutes later, then two more 20 min after that. (We had informed them that there would be 8 total.) On a Tuesday night, we were seated promptedly as I would expect and a table for 8 was ready. Most of us ordered mojitos immediately and my husband and I personally thought they could have been sweeter. It was as if there was little or no sugar used to muddle the mint leaves; otherwise, drinkable. We all shared appetizers of crab cakes, fried potatoes and the spinach salad with goat cheese. All we delicious. My spicy pork with rice could have been a little spicier for my taste, but still great. My husband loved his tierra y mar. The birthday girl and husband were quickly informed that their snapper was out but they were glad to get mahi mahi in place of it and prepared the same way. Honestly we don't recall receiving bad service. Our main waitress was attentive and the water fillers came often. Decor was lively and warm. For 8 people the bill came to almost $3XX and we figured even for the two of us, it was about $90! Definitely something saved for special occasions like this. Would probably return again.
Pros: Flavor, atmosphere
My family and I came here for my birthday recently. I've been here before, and remember the food being pretty tasty. We were seated rather promptly but then 15 minutes went by without any service, then 20 minutes, and finally 25 minutes. By that point we were fuming! This is a relatively small restaurant, and waiters/waitresses were passing right by us without even making eye contact. We finally flagged down the hostess and asked to speak with a manager. She went and found our waitress who apologized profusely as she had forgotten that our table was hers. We were offered free appetizers and drinks, but my one problem is this: Wouldn't one of the 6 -8 wait staff members notice that there were customers in the restaurant who hadn't been attended to? One would think someone would bother to find out who was covering our table. Overall, the food was fairly good, but the service really tainted our experience.
Pros: great drinks
Cons: poor service
Amazing, amazing food here! Also has a great ambiance and great drinks. Has some healty options, but I usuall get tempted by their rich options instead (superb appetizer empanadas and mojitos!)
Pros: Food! Mojitos! Ambiance! Amazing Banana Dessert!
Cons: Prices add up quickly.
I just went there for my 3rd time. The hostess is always friendly. I couldn't make a reservation for my 6 friends on a friday night because they were booked. However, I was craving their food and so decided to try my luck. The hostess seated us in the dining area right away, with the condition that we had to limit our dining time to an hour and a half (since there was a party that had booked that table). We didn't mind because it was ample time. The service was fast, the food was great as always, and the mojitos were great!
After reading other reviews of this place, I have to agree that the service isn't always the speediest. With that in mind, I do think they have some good dishes like their Ajiaco which serves two and has lots of seafood as well as their empanadas. Something I learned for walk-ins. Keep your eye on the tables next to the long side of the bar. Those are first come, first serve. Otherwise expect a wait time of an hour and a half plus on weekends. For oyster lovers, I have to mention their oyster shooters with habanero rum. Make sure everyone at your table tries it.
As an out of town visitor, I find La Bodeguita a great place to entertain clients. It consistently has a great neighborhood feel and is never stuffy. There are many choices on the menu and eveything is great.
I always start with the santiago cooler and empinandas, which come with a savory slaw. For dinner my favorite choices are the paella, snapper or tierra y mar. I always have a side order of the boniato potatoes (TO DIE FOR...)
Although they are walk-in friendly, it's best to have a reservation for the dining room. The bar is a great casual place to meet for drinks and appetizers, dinner if you'd like.
The back room and patio are great for drinks and smoking, even though I don't smoke. My guests have always enjoyed themselves and the staff is always friendly and compitent. I highly recommend La Bodeguita for friends or business.
Pros: food, staff
Cons: crowded bar
We tried to have a group gathering here several months ago, but the bar was much too crowded, we were pressured to buy entrees while seated at the table (we were having drinks and appetizers), and the service was poor. I've boycotted this place ever since.
Cons: rude service, lack of bar space
Went there for dinner with my husband. We're both Cuban and found the food to be pretty authentic although a bit pricey. If you want to save a bunch of money (our tab was $80 for 2 drinks, 1 appetizer, 2 entrees and 1 dessert), come over to my house and I'll feed you proper Cuban food! It has a very nice ambience and very good service.
Pros: service, ambience, food
The guitar player was drinking tequila the evening my party dined. He set the ambience--time for great food with good friends.
It is so difficult to find a restaurant that serves delicious food nowadays. La Bodeguita definitely fills my palates desires. The snapper and spicy pork were delicious; All elements on the plate melded deliciously together and stood alone well on their own.
Bartender was friendly and not over attentive. Cuban Sidecar was the clear winner; Mojito lacked some depth maybe due to mass production; Santiago Cooler was not balanced (too fruity). The waiter was good but a little ditzy.
Pros: Flavorful Food, Easy Parking, Great Ambiance
Cons: Service Just Good
I met a couple friends here for dinner. It was recommended by one of the friends joining me for dinner and I was really happy with it. The Mojitos were delicious, tart, and fresh. The food was delicious.
Pros: Great bar, Good for large groups
Maybe La Bodeguita del Medio has been in Palo Alto too long, perhaps it's the length of time it's been on the hot list, or maybe the wait staff was just having a bad night; but from the start to the finish this place annoyed us. It started with them telling us they were making a "special exception", which they could only do with manager approval, when we wanted to add another friend to our spacious 8 person table. It ended, after poor service all night, with them adding an 18% service charge to the bill and then taxing the whole thing!
Cons: Service, Price/Value
Being Cuban, I thought Bodeguita did a good job incorporating basic Cuban culinary elements into its menu. Unfortunately, I didn't find the food to be super-authentic; however, if you don't know what Cuban is supposed to taste like, you'll might be happy with the food.
For example, the Arroz con Pollo did not taste anything like "real" Arroz con Pollo. Bodeguita's arroz tasted like it was made with Minute Rice. Also, it wasn't garnished with the traditional peas and pimentos on top that make the dish more colorful and delicious.
On a more positive note, the sandwich Cubano was very good. The bread was toasted to perfection, there was lots of pork and ham in the sandwich.
Lastly, the mojitos that Gilda made for us were excellent. The restaurant itself is gorgeous, airy and the ambiance is romantic and great.
Pros: Portions, Drinks, Ambiance
Cons: Not Authentic, Table Service Slow, No Reservations
OK, I've also been here with friends and on dates, and have never been disappointed, but I want to emphasize the solo dining experience. I would rather not sit at a table by myself, so I've never tried it here. But having dinner at the bar is pleasant and comfortable. When I've been the only solo diner, even with a packed bar, I've never felt out of place, and there've usually been others eating alone (usually men). It's not a pick up joint and people are friendly but will leave you alone if you don't strike up a conversation. The bartenders are friendly and discreet, and if you're not in the mood for conversation, there are magazines at the counter. The food is excellent and well-priced, and the drinks are great (check out the Cuban cocktails). Try the Ropa Vieja (a signature dish)--you won't be disappointed.
I have to say that the I had the WORST time making reservations here and the mgr was both rude and condescending. Their reservation system consists of leaving a message on an answering machine and hope they get back to you before 5pm. We MADE res'v for 8:30pm, called back at 11am and left message to confirm only to have them call back at 5:15 to say they could ONLY accommodate our party at 6pm. Ridiculous!! To top it off, the mgr was ambivalent to the situation she put our party in and rather than work out a solution, insisted that she had "been on the phone too long already." Regardless of the food and ambiance at this place, I will not spend a dime here and will be sure that unless this establishment understands basic customer service practices, will tell everyone I come in contact with.
Cons: , service, attitude
I know it was waiter who made our experience what it was. Everyone but us got bread (that's funny, they have bread plates apart of the table setting), our cokes were flat, the waiter never came over to ask how our food was, and he took forever and a day to get us our bill and change. Yes, this can be picky however if you're going to serve great food you should have great service. Oh-well.
I tried to walk in on June 25th and the hostess was very rude to us. She droned on and on about how it would be impossible and we should have called ahead and there's no way we'd get seated for at least 2 hours. When I asked about sitting at the bar she said she really hasn't paid attention but it could take just as long to get a seat at the bar.
But wait- I didn't mention Mr Johnson's Chocolate Rum Cake. La Bodeguita has a creative fusion of latin and cubana cuisine making the flavor pleasant, sometimes spicy, and fun to eat. The mojitos- which I often pass on- where to die for! I had three.
What's also nice is the dining area is seperate from the bar and cocktail area - segmenting the noise and congestion of weekend thirst and bar warriors. I strongly recommend stopping in- the owners are very nice and their attitude translates throughout the restaurant.
I bumped into this place by accident, and it is now one of my favorite restaurants in Palo Alto. Delicious, unique food at a reasonable price. The service has always been fine in my experience.
The food is fabulous, the service is impeccable and we love the bartenders!!! It's a great restaurant for business or pleasure. The food is consistently great and we are always greeted with a smile. It's our favorite Palo Alto hang-out.
This is fine dining that isn't afraid to use chilis as they were meant to be used: hot and flavorful. The conch chowder is quite a surprise: its non-dairy, vegetable-puree-like texture leaves a fresh and spicy feel. Try the Tierra y Mar: marinated skirt steak with jumbo tiger prawns dredged in coconut, served with smoky chipolte mashed potatoes. I wanted to lick my plate! Great mojitos (of course) plus so many other interesting cuban influenced cocktails that I'll have to come back and try. I can't wait to bring friends here! Though I don't smoke, the cigar divan in the back room seemed quite classy.
Pros: great service, casual-elegant atmos., good drinks
Cons: no iced tea in pm, closes too early
What a delightful treat to find this great restaurant tucked away on California Street. The food, drink and atmosphere were all terrific! The bar was lively and seemed like a familiar place for locals. The dining room offered a quieter repast in which to enjoy a great meal!
At first, we didn't mind having to shell out $$$ for the meal. Beautiful decor,good food & great music. At the end, we felt very disappointed with our dining experience. You will NOT receive a penny's worth of customer service whatsoever. More than an hour before last call, we dropped by the bar & wanted to chill in the cigar room. The rude bartender, basically refused service to us, telling us we did not have enough time for a drink. If you don't mind being treated w/ great disrespect and u have $$$ to throw away, then by all means, dine here! Because of the lack of customer service, I can't recommend this place. I am shocked that the management would allow such behavior from their employees. If you want truly authentic Cuban cuisine, friendly service & prices, you must eat at Habana Cuba in San Jose!!!
Pros: Mojitos/empanadas, ambience[decor/music], cigar room
Cons: bartenders suck, terrible service, very pricey
I completely disagree with the last review that gave this place a 1. I've been there many times over the past several years and have always found the ambiance, food and staff to be outstanding. It's a comfortable place to hang out and have a drink in jeans, or for a romantic date. The live Cuban music on Fridays is definitely a plus. Certainly a great find on the peninsula where the upscale dining tends to feel a little too generic.
This place would be great...if they would let you know when they ran out of the essentials of your meal...second time I went there and they ran out of the purple mashed potatoes...AGAIN...I'm starting to think that they don't actually exist...they just put it in their menu to make their dishes sound exciting. The only two things that I recommend there are the empanandas and the mojitos. Soup is way too salty! Customer service doesn't exist here...the waiters never heard about smiling nor did they recommend anything...which is pretty scary when you think about it...you definitely don't get anything worth what you pay...I recommend you go to Taco Bell, they will at least give you what you order and hand you your food with a smile.
Cons: customer service, prices, food