A festive Cuban spot with a twinkling outdoor terrace.

From September 2004 “Best of Silver Spring”

Plantain chips, slick with garlicky mojo, and one of the bar's classic mojitos, made with fresh mint, will get things off to a roaring start. Other possibilities are yuca rellenas, stubby fritters stuffed with the ground-beef mixture called picadillo, and chicharrones, here made with chicken–and delicious. Classic black-bean soup wows, cream of green-plantain soup even more so.

Main-course wonders range from tender roast pork and ropa vieja to more esoteric dishes like pan-fried shredded steak with mojo and caramelized onions, and red snapper with Pernod and peppers. Watch for specials like paella and pan-fried trout. Coconut flan and bread pudding layered with guava and caramel are the desserts of choice–tres leches cake is as dry as Zwieback. On warm fall evenings, the terrace, twinkling with tiny white lights and bright with cascading flowers, is the place to be. But inside beckons, too, with its colorful walls, cubist art, and overstuffed red couches evoking vintage Cuban chic.