May 26, 2012

Habana Cafe - Gulfport

I recently asked friends on Facebook to recommend good Cuban restaurants in the area. Several friends made recommendations for Habana Cafe, located in Gulfport. I couldn't wait to give them a try! Upon arrival I was pleasantly surprised to see their list of accomplishments: Rand McNally Best of the Road, Best Latino Cookbook in the World, and a Signature Dessert Award from Southern Living Magazine.

Habana Cafe is a 2 story diner with a Miami vibe. The first floor is the main dining area and kitchen. The top floor contains an art gallery and space for private group functions. 

To start we tried the Pappas Rellenas - two mashed potato balls, one with picadillo and the other with roast pork. I preferred the picadillo filling, but both were well prepared. 

I was thrilled to see the Rand McNally Best of the Road Sampler Platter. This made my debate about what to try pretty easy - I could just get the best of the best! For $16.95 I received: Lechon Asado (roast pork), Shrimp Piccata, and Summer Dill Chicken. This came with white rice, black beans, fried plantains, a small salad, and flan for dessert. This was definitely a sampler for 2! My only disappointment was that there was no cuban bread. Not that I had room for it, but most Cuban restaurants serve bread on the side. I did find it on the menu for an additional charge ($1.95). 

Next time I will skip the platter and go straight for the roast pork. The meat was oh-so-tender and flavorful. The breaded Palomilla was fried, crispy and tender. This was served with black beans and white rice on the side.

Dessert is my least favorite part of Cuban food. Shocking, I know! The cream cheese flan was good, but I am not a big flan person. Next time I will skip dessert from Habana Cafe or try another alternative on their menu.

Let me know if you have any other recommendations for Cuban food in Tampa Bay!

Habana Cafe is located at 5402 Gulfport Boulevard South.

Find out what others are saying about Habana Cafe on Urbanspoon: 
Habana Cafe on Urbanspoon


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