Date Visited: Summerlicious Dinner on Monday Jul 16, 2013
Company: Reservation for 4 ladies to enjoy some Cuban food on a hot day
Currently, this is my last planned Summerlicious meal of 2013 and this season has been the most meals I've had in one round! I've had such a great experience trying new restaurants in unfamiliar parts of town, I'm really glad that Toronto has something like this twice a year :)
Anyways, the girls and I made a reservation at Mambo Lounge in the Danforth for our second Summerlicious meal together. Mambo Lounge is an authentic Cuban tapas restaurant that has live music on the weekends. We were excited for something different and hoped we'd get a flavour of Cuban culture as well.
It was a sweltering day in Toronto and I was a bit nervous when +Clare told me we got a table on the patio. As +Stephanie and I left Broadview subway station, Mambo Lounge was only a few steps away on Danforth. There was no patio in the front, but an open wall with tables lined-up leading to the bar, and then the patio was at the very back. The patio has a backyard feeling, as you see neighbours of the old 3-storey houses BBQ-ing on their balconies. It was very spacious and shaded, with little decorations all around.
We started off with drinks and I ordered a Pina Colada. Every drink on the menu was at least $9 which was quite steep in our opinion, especially for 1-2oz of alcohol. Apparently they have authentic Mojitos here but I tried it and thought it had too much mint. I'm not a mojito fan anyway, but +Clare said she's had better and that it needed more sugar. +Stephanie ordered the Mambo Cocktail which was a crazy concoction of every type of liquor with some grenadine and lime... she didn't enjoy it. The Pina Colada though was very tasty and flavourful with a fresh piece of pineapple on the side. There was quite a bit of foam at the top unfortunately which didn't exactly make it worth $9.
To start, I ordered the Tropical Salad that consisted of mixed greens, tomatoes, avocados, and mango topping with a mango balsamic dressing. I found that some of the mixed greens were a bit wilted but the other toppings were very fresh and ripe. The mango balsamic added a kick of flavour to a somewhat simple salad.
For my main dish, I ordered the Bistec con Yuca, medium-well. I was pleasantly surprised when the steak arrived, the yuca fries formed a little hut that the steak was placed on which made the dish very appealing. We all noted how large our portions were, especially compared to some other Summerlicious restaurants we had visited. Everyone wanted to try my yuca fries, they smelt so delicious! They were seasoned with spices and very tasty, thick like taro but more stringy. There was a 'jus' at the bottom for the steak with what seemed like mushroom and onions sautéed, but it was hard to tell. The sauce was very mild, I was expecting a lot of 'Cuban' flavour and spices but it didn't live up to my expectations. The steak was also quite tough, it was more well-done than medium. But overall, it was a splendid dish as the fries and steak with jus went perfect together. This dish is usually $25 alone, so I definitely got my money's worth on it.
As for my dessert, I had to order the Torta la Chocolate (I can never say no to chocolate mousse). It was such a gorgeous plate when it arrive, with the Piroline on top and accented with whipped cream and strawberry with caramel. It was very rich and creamy, I loved every bite. Apparently Costco sells this cake, as +Stephanie has seen it before. It's a bit disappointing knowing that they don't make their own but I'm a bit happy knowing where I can get this now :)
Food: 3/5 - Great portions but average food.
Service: 2.5/5 - Very friendly, but had to ask a few times for water.
Decor: 2/5 - A bit tight on space in the main area, but patio was nice. Kind of tacky.
Willingness to come back: 4.5/5 - I would definitely come here for a tapas meal or Licious again! Not for drinks though.