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El Siboney

900 Catherine St., Key West, FL - (305) 296-4184
Posted By Michael Stern on 5/1/2015 2:52:00 PM
El Siboney is a cool, clean eatery that serves Cuban lunch and early dinner, mostly to locals. The primary language spoken is Spanish (but English is understood), and the walls are covered with pictures and plaques of Latino Native Americans.

Here is a first-rate place to taste grilled garlic chicken, a half-bird with a crisp skin and meat so tender that it slides off the bone when you try to cut it. Plantains on the side are slightly crusty and caramelized around their edges. And yuca, a side dish served with roast pork, beans, and rice, is a revelation not quite like any other vegetable. Soft and glistening white hunks, reminiscent of a well-baked potato, but more luscious and substantial, are served in a bath of heavily garlicked oil and garlanded with onion slices.

Cuban sandwiches are picture-pretty. Made on a length of fragile-texture toasted bread that is cut in half at a rakish angle, this classic Cubano contains ham, roast pork, salami and cheese with pickles, lettuce and tomato. It is just one of many hero-style sandwiches on El Siboney’s menu; other choices include steak, burgers, pork, and fish.

Conch chowder is hale and hearty, loaded with conch and a great opportunity for dunking shreds of the buttered Cuban bread that comes with every meal. The grandest dish in the house is paella Valenciana for two (call ahead; it takes an hour to prepare), a vast fisherman’s stew served with rice, black beans, and plenty of Cuban bread to mop juices. For dessert, you can have Key lime pie, flan, or rice pudding, accompanied by café con leche.

17 out of 17 people found the review helpful. Was it helpful to you?

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
garlic chicken
Key Lime Pie
roast pork
Picadillo
Cuban mix sandwich
Ice Tea
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

The Cuban mix: a warm Caribbean dagwood of ham, salami, pork, and cheese, garnished with lettuce and tomato, all in a brittle-crisp length of Cuban bread
"The Cuban mix: a warm Caribbean dagwood of ham, salami, pork, and cheese, garnished with lettuce and tomato, all in a brittle-crisp length of Cuban bread"
Michael Stern





The pulled pork was tender and sprinkled with lime juice.
"The pulled pork was tender and sprinkled with lime juice."
Stephen Rushmore


Similar to chili, picadillo is a spicy ground-beef dish that usually contains olives. It is served like so many Cuban specialties, with yellow rice and caramelized plantains. Black beans come in a separate bowl.
"Similar to chili, picadillo is a spicy ground-beef dish that usually contains olives. It is served like so many Cuban specialties, with yellow rice and caramelized plantains. Black beans come in a separate bowl."
Michael Stern


Ice tea is served the island way: garnished with a wedge of lime.
"Ice tea is served the island way: garnished with a wedge of lime."
Michael Stern


The walls of El Siboney are decorated with images of Indians.
"The walls of El Siboney are decorated with images of Indians."
Michael Stern


Off the beaten path in Key West, El Siboney has long been a place where locals and savvy tourists go for excellent, inexpensive Cuban meals.
"Off the beaten path in Key West, El Siboney has long been a place where locals and savvy tourists go for excellent, inexpensive Cuban meals."
Michael Stern



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