Cuba de Ayer

4.6
703 reviews
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$30 and under
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Cuban
Come enjoy the tropical tastes of Cuba! Authentic home style Cuban cuisine where our customers feel as though they are eating home cooked meals that would be found in Grandma's kitchen. Cuba de Ayer is an ideal escape for a delicious cup of Cuban coffee, a Cuban grilled sandwich, followed up by something sweet like a slice of tres leches cake. mmm.... Bring your friends, family or come alone-strangers are simply friends we've yet to meet.
What 703 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.6based on recent ratings
4.7
food
4.4
service
4.5
ambience
4.6
value
Noise · Moderate
97% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Family Valentine’s day celebration.

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OT
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 2food 4service 2ambience 3

Had a reservation for 2, still had to wait 20 mins for a table

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LF
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We visited Cuba de Ayer to celebrate a friend's new job and relocation to the area. Cuba de Ayer did NOT disappoint. He had the pollo empanizado, which he LOVED. He said it was "outstanding." He said it was even better than what he'd had in the past. Two of us got the Vaca Frita, which was so incredibly tasty and I recommended the camarones al ajillo to our other friend and she loved the garlic sauce. Naturally, we also ordered the empanadas and everyone like the chicken and beef ones the best. Our server was terrific! She made sure that we had waters to start and got our drink orders filled right away. She was also very sweet to bring me a tres leches for my birthday and removed the sparkler from the dessert so that my friends did not have to embarrass me and sing Happy Birthday to me. I always make reservations on Open Table for Cuba de Ayer because the place has become so popular. We only had to wait about five minutes for our table to be cleaned up, which was not bad at all for a 7:00 reservation. Cuba de Ayer is now a favorite of my friend's so he will be back. I will always be a returning customer because the food is delicious and the ambiance is inviting. It is a little loud at times, but that is a sign that people are enjoying themselves.

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OT
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The steak i ordered was tremendous, and the service was great

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OT
Baltimore
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

Two hour wait for my reservation....

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D
Baltimore
12 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Valentines Day was very crowded but we had two mojitos in the bar while we waited for our table. The young man who prepared the mojitos put a lot of elbow grease effort into muddling the mint so the mojitos were excellent and not overly sweet. The sangria and espresso were also very good we had some traditional dishes and the chicken was fall off the bone tender! The tostones could have been more tender on the inside and more crispy on the outside but everything else was very good. I particularly liked the homemade pimientos and the couple of tiny tender green olives in the arroz con pollo. The Cuban rum cake used a very good tasting white rum. Yum. The ambience lighting decorations and music were perfect and the waitress was friendly and very helpful and industrious!! The restaurant is probably often crowded from 6to 7pm so 7:30pm would be a better time to go. We had a great time.

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RH
Washington DC
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 2food 4service 1ambience 4

I made a reservation 4 days in advance. We waited over 35 minutes to be seated. When asking the manager why the wait was so long if we had a reservation, her response was that the restaurant sent a message stating that we would have to wait. I never received any message from Cuba de Ayer. There were about 30 people in an extremely small waiting area all waiting to be seated. I know that Valentines night is often crowded but with a reservation, one should not have to wait 35 minutes. By the time we were seated, we were upset and exasperated.

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j
Washington DC
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great service and great food

Our table as requested was waiting for us at the time we arrived

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GG
Baltimore
4 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Lovely restaurant with great live music. Very good food. Would like a vegetable with some of the meat dishes.

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LB
1 review
Dined on February 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very easy to reserve a table through open table. We were seated immediately & the waitress was easy going & attentive. The food was delicious ! We were able to take some leftovers home as well.

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CC
Baltimore
6 reviews
Dined on February 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Been here before and the food is always delicious. The service is great. It’s a small place but not uncomfortable. Will continue to go and enjoy.

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EF
Baltimore
1 review
Dined on February 10, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Haven't been to Cuba de Ayer in years. I remember it being just okay, but this time it was much better. I got 2 appetizers, the shrimp with avocado and beef empanadas and both were very good. Everyone else at the time enjoyed their food also. I will definitely be going more often.

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t
Baltimore
17 reviews
Dined on February 10, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Great spot to catch up with friends,
Love their mojitos, garlic shrimp on avocado appetizer (say yes to bread) and marinated pork dishes with sweet plaintains.

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OT
Baltimore
1 review
Dined on January 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

The food is great. It’s a great place for a regular meal, or a special occasion.

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SJ
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 4

We checked in shortly before our reservation time. We waited 20 minutes. Turns out the gentleman did not check us in. This learned, only after I inquired how much longer the wait would be. I note his female colleague did not inform us we were not checked in. She quietly informed him but I overheard the conversation. We should have been informed. Instead his female colleague stated she apologized and they were backed up a few minutes. The gentleman also apologized for the wait generally. We should have been told of the error. Of course, our wait should have been obvious as we were sitting/standing right at the counter. Otherwise, the food was good.

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BK
1 review
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Love this place! I have been several times, order different plates each time, and have been impressed each time! Food is delicious, traditional decor is nice, very relaxing. Can’t wait to go again.

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g
Baltimore
31 reviews
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Al;ways good! They really offer nice little bonuses when you are on their mailing list-- like free appetizers or dessert. Lots of family celebrations- all generations- really nice to see. Lots of diversity in the patrons as well. And the food is always hot, always well-prepared and fresh with lots of gluten-free options. Had the trout this time and it was perfect- moist and well-seasoned. My only word of caution is the dining room that is one step down is a little chilly. Bring a sweater!

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JS
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 2ambience 4

Food is authentic and flavors are at par with Cuban cuisine. The service could use a more customer attendance approach.

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CO
Washington DC
55 reviews
Dined on January 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Simply the best Cuban food in the Baltimore-washington DC area. Great variety on menu pleases everyone's tastes, but best to order several dishes and share. Make a reservation to insure you don't have to wait. Come on a Wednesday for live music or enjoy the upbeat recorded Latin tunes other times. Owner is often on site, but staff are friendly, know their menu and make sure you have a great experience. Reasonable prices for a great night out.

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JD
Washington DC
17 reviews
Dined on January 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We love this Restaurant, never had a bad experience.

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OT
1 review
Dined on January 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great service, food. Nice tucked away gem

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OT
Baltimore
1 review
Dined on January 19, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Always a good time and experience

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OT
Baltimore
3 reviews
Dined on January 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

As always delicious authentic food with excellent service!

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AP
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Table reservation was fulfilled to our request and is a plus for quick sitting specially on a Friday. Great food, atmosphere and service. We love the taste and food from Cuba del ayer.

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GS
1 review
Dined on January 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

One of my favorites. Vita Fraca awesome. Tres Leshes can't be beat.
Love the art work and music. You'll think you're in Havana!

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O
Washington DC
11 reviews
Dined on January 12, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

Been to Cuba de Ayer several times. Food always very good. However, this time the grilled red snapper was “leathery” and had to use knife to eat the fish. Very disappointed especially it was pricey too. I will say that the shrimp scampi was very good and tasty.

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OT
1 review
Dined on January 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was great, we were both very happy with the service and the food was delicious. My parents have been going there for years and know the bar manager and the great service has never changed

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CW
Mississippi
2 reviews
Dined on January 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Hidden gem! Absolutely delicious food and consistently good service. The empanadas aren't to be missed.

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RC
Charleston
1 review
Dined on January 11, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

We have a Cuban friend who loves it and recommended it. Been here twice. Very good.

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OT
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined on January 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing service from the moment we walked in the door to the service of the food. Food was outstanding in a bit of an unexpected location- really enjoyed and will soon be back

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OT
Baltimore
3 reviews
Dined on January 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 5

Food is amazing. I have never had anything less than a great meal here. Service is always just ok. Not super friendly or attentive. The Empanadas are amazing!!! My favorite is the Pernil. We have 2 small children and they also love it. Very family friendly.

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on December 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing food as always

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J
Baltimore
17 reviews
Dined on December 20, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

Nice atmosphere but music too loud to talk at table and dishes

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RM
Baltimore
43 reviews
Dined on December 16, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The traditional Cuban pork meal was perfect in taste and tenderness. Sangria was well blended and the shrimp/avacado appetizer was a great way to start the meal. Always good food and service

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OT
1 review
Dined on December 14, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

I enjoyed my food and experience. I had native Cubans in my group who were very impressed. I also loved the paintings and decor.

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V
Washington DC
11 reviews
Dined on December 13, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food and great service.

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JD
Philadelphia
11 reviews
Dined on December 9, 2018
Overall 2food 4service 1ambience 4

I've dined at CDA about 10 times. Each previous visit featured excellent service and excellent food. In fact, my most recent experience prompted a review so good that the owner emailed thanks for it.

This time, however, was an exception. Typically, CDA gets your meal to your table in between 5 and 10 minutes. This time, it took a full 30 minutes. The waiter was well aware of the problem and apologized several times for the food delay, and after our meal finally came, he asked if we -- three of us -- wanted a beer on the house, though none of us had ordered alcohol and none of us drink. At that point, an offer of free meals might have been appropriate.

In addition to the excessive wait for food, the platanos maduros were uncharacteristically dry, hard and luke warm. Heretofore, CDA had served the consistently best maduros -- hot, tender and sweet -- I've experienced in all my years of Cuban dining, mainly in the Tampa area. The rest of the food -- we each had the always excellent trout -- was fine, but not so the platanos.

I'm hopeful that CDA can work out these two unusual kinks by the time I next dine there, as I surely, and gladly, will.

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SJ
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on December 1, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

This is my go-to date night restaurant! Love the food and atmosphere!

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k
Washington DC
11 reviews
Dined on November 30, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

We go here often. It had been awhile since our last visit. We had a good server this last time, but some times the service can be a little "spotty" - servers not coming by often enough to check in.

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WI
Baltimore
4 reviews
Dined on November 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Such a hidden gem. Food is authentic and delish! Worth the 30 min drive from our house!

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