We were looking for a restaurant on Opentable, when we saw La Isla Uptown popping up: we were so excited to see that this popular Cuban restaurant located at the beginning of Washington street and always crowded, opened next to Maxwell Place over a month ago.
Reservations are definitely required for dinner (we went on a Friday night) and for brunch, although, for the later, there were still tables available. This place is totally different from the one downtown: bigger, brighter and a bit more elegant, although not at the level of The Cuban, but still, a notch better, with colorful paintings on the walls. For dinner, it is also quite noisy, the Cuban music being blasted, forcing the patrons to shout to be heard. Fortunately, this was not the case during brunch...
Food wise, you will find the same dishes that are reasonably priced. For dinner, we decided to go for our usual:
Rice and beans (small size that is already a nice portion):
Tostones (twice fried green plantains with garlic sauce):
Maduros (fried yellow plantains):
Beef empanada (the best I ever had):
Vegetarian empanada (new - made with spinach and manchego):
For brunch, we got:
Huevos rancheros (two poached eggs, spicy tomato sauce in a fried tortilla shell served over rice with a side of black beans):
Chef Omar's French toast that made him a winner during a throw down with Chef Bobby Flay:
The French toast is delicious, made of pullman style egg bread filled with strawberry/guava cream cheese (although a bit too much filling for me), dipped in cinnamon batter and coated with corn flakes and almonds for some crunch.
In term of drinks, they have these batidos, or Cuban milkshakes, and I have tried a batido de mamey, a sweet and creamy fruit from the Caribbean.
They also have a drink called Morir Soñando (die dreaming), a drink made of orange juice, evaporated milk and sugar, that tastes like a creamsicle.
This is a great place for some comfort food at a good price and I cannot wait to go back there and get some Cuban sandwiches or other specialties they have on their menu. The times we went back, we were so full that we dd not even try their desserts...So, I'll have to go back!
Enjoy (I did)!
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