The Collegian
Saturday, December 10, 2022

Flavor of the Week: Havana 59

Havana 59 takes classic Cuban, Caribbean and Spanish flavors, full of cilantro, coconut and lots of garlic, to the max and applies the ingredients in innovative ways. The decor is rustic and felt like a Cuban nightclub in the '50s during dinner. There were lightbulbs strung around and the walls seemed to be on the verge of crumbling down.

Once we were seated, our very attentive waiter got us started with drinks -- more on those later -- and some appetizers that were conventional dishes (spring rolls and pizzas) translated into a Cuban style. A Cuban sandwich was converted into a spring roll and served with a mustard dipping sauce that I could eat with a spoon. The pork tenderloin morsels with cilantro dipping sauce and the baby spinach empanadas were both tasty and perfectly seasoned. The pizza "del dia" was the crowd favorite; ours was a Spanish cured ham and manchego cheese that was a play on the popular cured ham and cheese plates one would find in southern Spain.

Everyone at my table fell in love with Havana 59's mojitos; we had the original and guava flavored. The guava mojito was perfectly tart and the flavor blended well with the mint crushed into the drink.

The appetizers were good, but the main course was even better. Havana 59 offers a lot of fish options, as well as some meatier ones such as a roast half chicken served with coconut rice, black beans and plantains. We found that Havana 59's sides and sauces often dwarfed the actual meat, but that was something everyone at my table was very OK with. All the fish was perfectly cooked and paired with tropical-inspired sides.

Contact staff writer Alexandra Varipapa at

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