Phoenix >Havana Cafe
Just what I needed- a good Spanish restaurant with great tapas, great service in a fantastic setting!
Great service, ok food, very expensive..
I've been craving some good latin food for a while. I had read the review's for Havana's cafe and decided to go here after seeing the menu online. We were seated immediately and served water. We placed our orders, I ordered the San Juan Combo, which included several sample dishes from Puerto Rico. After taking a couple of sips of water, the waiters would refill our glasses to the rim, this occurred every single time we took more than one drink. At first it was good, but after a while it got annoying as we were interrupted constantly.
When our food came, I sampled it. The San Juan combo has mofongos (the taste was not authentic, it tasted like it had plantains, mashed up with cornmeal), pasteles (those were the driest, tasteless,meatless pasteles I've ever had, even the masa didnt taste right), tostones (those were ok), arroz con gandules (it tastes like "rice" that came from one of the Lipton boxes and they had added the black pigeon peas), alcapurrias (first it didnt even resemble and alcapurria, 2nd the masa wasnt the consistency or texture of an alcapurria and last the meat mixture inside was not good, It tasted more like an empanada) and finally it had fried pork (these pieces were cooked a bit too much, were dry and tasteless).
After taking a couple of bites the waitress came to use to see how our food was. I explained the situation and she was gracious enough to offer me another plate. I refused as I was already disappointed in my meal, as well as my husband's. She said that everyone has different recipes, to which I replied that I've been to many places where Puerto Rican food is served in a different variety of flavors, including my own household (as I am Puerto Rican) and this plate/flavors is no where near what it should taste like.
I think the only authentic flavors were the tostones and the malta drink I had.
Service is great, I have to give them that, but that is probably the only thing they have going for them.
This place is a total Find!. The food here is really yummy and flavorable. I love eating here every so often to throw in some variety...not too many cuban places here in Phoenix that I know of. I frequently get the arroz con pollo which is chicken on the bone cooked in rice w/ vegetables and some kind of sausage (maybe chorizo). It is so good! It's like comfort food, but a bit on the exotic side. It also comes with the maduros fritos, which are fried sweet plantains. I first had those in Ecuador in 1999 and have been dreaming about them ever since - I am so grateful Havana Cafe serves em! They have a lot of different menu items and I look forward to trying more. Oh, as for the decor...I thought it was weird when I saw that tacky style mixed w/ such good food that is kinda pricey, but I was informed by a friend (a bit more worldly than I) that it is classic Cuban style. It's all part of the experience!
Consistantly Wonderful. I love this place!! I have been going there for over 10 years and never had a bad experience with food or service.
Casual eatery brings Havana to the desert..
This colorful cafe gives Phoenix a taste of Cuba with paella, escabeche and traditional pork and beef dishes served with black beans and rice. Noteworthy appetizers include the papa rellena, the pastelitos, fried plantains and the bacalaitos (fried salt cod fritters) with aioli. The Cuban--served on grilled bread with roast pork, Swiss cheese, mortadella and cured ham, topped with mojo and pickles--is an all-time favorite.
Great Mojitos, but the excitement ends there...
The service was friendly enough, the mojitos and flan were some of the best I've had. Unfortunately, the entrees were less thrilling. My husband served a completely different meal than the one he ordered, he was given the Puerco Asada which sounded delicious on the menu, so he didn't have them switch it out for the cuban potroast he had asked for. The roast pork leg was more bland and less tender than any family cook would prepare for your run-of-the-mill Sunday lunch. It reminded me of school cafeteria meat slices. My pulled pork was fine but again, not something I'd be proud to serve at my family table, let alone charge $18.00 for.
I might go back again for drinks and dessert but after salivating all afternoon over the prospect of richly flavored, homestyle cuban food, I left decidedly unsatisfied and my wallet $100 lighter.
Great food in a great atmosphere. Excellent restaurant. From the outside it doesn't look like much, but the inside is very nice and comfortable. The server was very friendly and gave us plenty of time to order without rushing us. Interesting list of Cuban sodas and other drinks. The atmosphere was very pleasant and comfortable. It was like a covered patio but air conditioned so it didn't have the terrible heat of Arizona. The fried plantaines were an excellent appetizer. The cheesecake with rum fudge sauce was very interesting and tastey!
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