If Babaluu's Cocina Cubana was located in, say, Miami, it would not be particularly exceptional.
But since it isn't, it is most definitely exceptional.
Located south of Santa Fe on Highway 14 between Santa Fe and and the colorful little town of Madrid, Babaluu's is well worth the short drive. It doesn't look like much from the outside, although the patio offers beautiful sunset views, but looks, as we all know, are deceiving.
While the chef is from Havana, to my mind Babaluu's is more Carribean themed than purely Cuban, which helps broaden the base. During a recent visit, I found the "Cuban style" stuffed empanadas to be among the best I've ever had, served with a "mango southwestern habanero sweet and sour sauce."
That was followed by the Cuban Refugee Platter, slices of marinated roasted and accompanied by black beans, jasmine rice, avocado, maduro, yucca and a home made black cherry, red chile, mango barbecue sauce on the side.
Other offerings I want to try include the Aruban Island Puffs, wontons stuffed with cream cheese and marinated shrimp and served with a sweet and sour sauce.
The restaurant is colorfully decorated in a Cuban-Carribean theme. All things considered, the prices are reasonable, with two appetizers, two entress and a nice bottle of wine amount to less than $100, before the tip. And the service is friendly without being intrusive. For example, the waiter urged us to taste three different wines before making our selection. That sort of things doesn't often happen anymore.
We live in Santa Fe, so we will be hapopy to visit again and again. It's a welcome addition to the local world-class dining scene.
Babaluu's is open for lunch from 12 to 3 on Friday, Saturday and SundayDinner is served Thursday through Sunday from 5 to 9. REservatins are recommended (505-471-1100 or 505-382-2078).
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.