The Zagat-rated El Siboney has expanded its reach to Marathon, and the former Village Café is now one of the most popular spots for authentic Cuban food in town.
Penelope de la Cruz oversees a large, accommodating staff from behind the newly-remodeled bar. Since their grand opening on Saturday, Nov. 14, de la Cruz said business has been quite good.
“We’ve been well-received in the community so far,” she told The Weekly.
A solid staple of the Key West community since 1984, El Siboney is a family-owned restaurant under the direction of the de la Cruz family since 2004. For nearly two decades, El Siboney has been hailed as Key West’s Best Cuban Restaurant, and the recognition from the middle Keys community is certainly imminent.
The dining rooms are warm and inviting with rich red and yellow hues on the walls. A quick greeting from the welcoming staff and you’re invited to dine on scrumptious Cuban fare amidst a varied crowd. Like any meal out in the Keys, it will likely evolve into a social affair as you run into neighbors and friends you haven’t seen in quite some time.
The menu offers a wide selection of carnivorous entrees in seemingly every possible preparation, but The Weekly staff recently opted to sample the seafood options. The Shrimp Enchilado, ($16.95) served with a heaping helping of yellow rice and black beans, is reminiscent of a New Orleans’ Shrimp Creole. Fried sweet plantains as well as that famous Cuban bread, also accompany this meal.
The Chicken Fricassee, one of the daily specials, was loaded with citrus and garlic flavor as well as plenty of tomatoes, potatoes and peppers. At only $6.50, served the rice, beans and bread, this was also a generous helping of which our staff barely made a dent!
El Siboney prepares every cut of beef in every imaginable preparation. From the Cuban roast beef to the Ropa Vieja, there is surely something to please the most selective of palettes.
What would a Cuban restaurant be without its pork dishes? Well, frankly, an imposter! El Siboney prepares fried and roast pork dishes, but Roast Pork with Cassava and Tamale offers a most authentic taste.
El Siboney in Key West is renowned for their Paella Valencia, but diners are cautioned that good things come to those who wait. This classic dish requires at least a one-hour advance notice and at least two people to consume.
As we ordered, The Weekly witnessed the staff filling several orders for the Cuban Mix sandwich. It is certainly at the top of our list for the next visit.
For dine-in customers, El Siboney offers several domestic beers as well as Dos Equis, Negro Modela and El Presidente. They also offer Chablis, Burgundy and Blush wines, but you simply must try the homemade sangria sold by the glass, half and full pitcher.
No Cuban meal would be complete without a sampling of homemade flan, rice pudding or even a slice of guava cheesecake.
El Siboney is open seven days a week from 11:00 am to 9:30 pm. Call ahead to order your paella or reserve a table at (305) 743-9090, or scope the menu ahead of time at http://www.elsiboneyrestaurant.com.
Only a few days after their grand opening, El Siboney’s dining room is consistently filling up for both lunch and dinner.
Vanessa Saez and Daniel Barrera present the Shrimp Enchilado and Stuffed Shrimp entrees that are accompanied by the requisite yellow rice, black beans and fried plantains.
Starkly different from its former inhabitants, the restaurant space at Gulfside Village is now decorated with warm red and yellow hues as well as vibrant images of Cuba.
The staff’s shirts are decorated with an oversized Indian chief in full headdress, so customers often inquire about the restaurant’s name.
El Siboney is an alternate spelling of Ciboney, a tribe that occupied Florida and the Caribbean Islands for more than thirteen thousand years. Ciboney are believed to be descendants of people, called Roko ayai, who traveled from the Pacific Islands to settle in Florida and the Caribbean.
The Roko ayai found Florida and the Caribbean Islands a home that provided plenty of resources in fauna and game to secure a future for their people. A year round warm climate and sea breezes made Florida and the Caribbean Islands an ideal home for the ancient travelers. Surrounded by the great sea, in time the ancients became expert fishermen and were forever known as the people of the sacred stone from the sea, the Ciboney.
Ciboney people are linguistically linked to Arawak-speaking people. Relations and cultural exchanges have been traditionally closest between Muskegon people of Florida and to the nearby Mayan people of Yucatan, Mexico. Today, Ciboney descendents speak a mixture between Ciboney and Spanish.
Shortly after the first European contact, Ciboney were quickly extinct.