It's always a party inside Café La Trova. On a recent evening at the Calle Ocho restaurant, which combines chef Michelle Bernstein's take on traditional Cuban fare with the cocktails of world-renowned mixologist Julio Cabrera, a live band performed a careful dance with trumpets and guitars behind the bar while skilled bartenders crafted mojitos and daiquiris. At the same time, Bernstein's dishes, executed by Cuban chef Raul Salgado, formerly of Havana's iconic El Floridita, were whisked from table to table, from paella croquetas served with a shot of seafood caldo and saffron aioli ($11), to plates of lechón con chicharrones, where braised mojo-marinated pork shoulder is served on a bed of steamed yuca with tangerine mojo ($19). It's the kind of place where one comes for dinner but stays for the evening, swaying to the sounds of la trova, a renowned genre of Cuban music, while sipping elegant cocktails. Hours are 6 p.m. to midnight Sunday through Wednesday and 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.
Readers' choice: Enriqueta's Sandwich Shop