If I had to sum up Victor’s 1959 Cafe in one word, it would be exuberant. The tabletops are covered with bright tropical flowers; every other available surface, from the walls to the light fixtures, is covered in graffiti; Christmas lights dangle from the ceiling; and lively Latin music transports you far, far away from the mounds of snow outside. Our waitress was bubbly and knowledgeable, with helpful menu recommendations and information about Cuban cuisine. The food is just as vibrant as the atmosphere, with fresh, colorful ingredients and lively house-made sauces and dressings.
Although Victor’s does have several vegetarian appetizers, sides, and entrees, I settled on the salmon de mango. The salmon was perfectly cooked, with a crisply seared exterior and meltingly moist interior. It was topped with a thick, sweet mango sauce, and a bed of aggressively salted spinach balanced the dish and kept it from venturing into dessert territory. The nicely portioned side dishes further complemented the salmon: a crisp side salad topped with mango vinaigrette, a generous scoop of your choice of rice (the arroz amarillo, traditional Spanish yellow rice, was our waitress’s recommendation for pairing with the salmon), and fried sweet plantains. The plantains were my favorite part of meal, with a french-fry like texture and a rich caramelized flavor.
Mike’s lechon asado, pulled pork flavored with lime juice, was served with fried yuca as well as a side salad and rice. The starchy yuca was a satisfying counterpoint to the tart and splendidly moist pork.
Our waitress emphatically told us the Xango Chango was the must-try item on the dessert menu. Although I haven’t tried any of the other desserts, I trust her judgement: we were treated to delectable pastries encrusted with cinnamon sugar, filled with a tangy cheesecake filling, and served with a bright-tasting guava puree.
Go to Victor’s for the quirky, tropical atmosphere, the amazing food, and the excellent service. But make a reservation–with only 10 tables, this little island of paradise on Grand Avenue fills up fast.
★★★★ out of 4 (highly recommended)
If you go:
Victor’s 1959 Cafe
3756 Grand Avenue S
Minneapolis, MN 55409