Londons Cuban Finest

Tonight was Cuban night for us. A night out in London was way overdue, and we wanted a bit of Latin-American influence thrown in there. Joe found this place called Floridita in the SoHo area, known for it’s live Cuban music and drinks, and an amazing atmosphere. We made our booking earlier today, which was surprising as it’s known to fill up on Saturday nights, but 7:30 was wide open! Apparently we’re early birds compared to the vast majority of London night-lifers.

The entrance to the restaurant is shared, where you walk inside and are greeted with two host stands, one for an upstairs venue and one for Floridita which is downstairs. As you walk down the stairs, the lighting and music set the mood for the restaurant; dark red lights and latin music that’s just loud enough but still allows for casual conversation.

Our table was situated with a perfect view of the small dance floor and stage, off to the side where there was little foot traffic or people trying toget past your seat. The service and attention was incredible, even by our US standards. The minute you bat an eyelash, there’s someone by your side asking if you wanted something. By European standards, this is basically unheard of.

The drinks menu was a small booklet with latin-inspired cocktails and no shortage of rum infusions. The food menu, however, was quite short with a somewhat lacking variety, but enough for anybody to at least find something that would suit their taste buds. They have two options: 2 courses or 3 courses, ie- dinner either with or without dessert. After ordering, what was probably the only mistake of the night was made. We got drink number 1, which was meant to be a White Russian, but arrived looking like a fruit punch in a champagne glass. The drink was promptly replaced though(Darn! Should have downed it before they came back.)

The appetiser of charcuterie, ham, salchichon, and chorizo showed up within minutes of ordering, and the quesadillas weren’t long after the first plate was removed. Well done, Floridita! Same with the drinks. Even as the night got older and the place filled up, drinks were prompt and no additional mistakes were made. Impressive!

Tables there on a Friday and Saturday night have a two-hour limit, and once we hit our limit, we paid and made our way upstairs and next door to the neighbouring cigar bar, Casa Del Habano. A tiny place with room for no more than 12 and a walk-in humidor in back, they sell only cuban cigars, and at some of the most affordable prices available in London. We’ve frequented Boisdales cigar lounge in Belgravia and Canary Wharf, and their prices are nearly double what we paid at Casa Del Habano.

We ended up chatting with some locals there who we quickly learned really know their whisky and cigars. Down to the names and best years for each one. Impressive! And really nice guys too. One works for a local law firm and the other in IT for a bank, giving us more than enough to chat and connect over. As our cigars were nearing their end, we closed up the conversation, trading contact details, and made our way home for the night.

Of the places we’ve been to in London, these make the top of the list by far!