Depending on where you live in Baristaville it may seem like a trek, but if you’re looking for casual Cuban (eat in or take out), Bloomfield’s got a sweet new eatery, Havana Sandwich Cafe. Go for the atmosphere (not island and bamboo, but more authentic roadside) and the locals (a Cuban-American sitting down with a plate of ropa vieja (shredded beef) overheard me asking about the cafe’s “Midnight Sandwich.” He went on to explain the name — it was the sandwich Cubans would eat after a night of partying, when they were up late and suddenly hungry, but didn’t want to eat a meal-sized pressed Cuban sandwich (like the one pictured here). CubansandwichWe also had an interesting discussion about where to find good lobster Thermidor in NJ, but that’s another post. Havana is open 10 am to 8 pm, Monday through Saturday, and the reasonably priced menu is a carnivore’s dream. Wash down a sandwich with one of Havana’s shakes (try the papaya or mango). During the few minutes it took to get my takeout order, I watched the five tables in the small tidy storefront space fill up with a lunch crowd who seemed to know their way around a Cuban menu. In minutes, patrons were digging into plates of meat with sides of creamy black beans and rice and tostones. Havana Sandwich is right across from Franklin Centre/Stop & Shop, so parking isn’t a problem. The cafe, which is already on the radar of Roadfood, has the following statement on its menu: “El Sabor No Engana” which translates to “Good Taste Doesn’t Lie.” So far, the food is telling the truth. Check it out. — Liz George

35 replies on “The Other New Cuban”

  1. Is Cuban food becoming the new sushi? I notice Cuban restaurants popping up all oevr the place lately. Not that I am complaining, I love the food. Have to give this one a try as well.

  2. I was there we my husband 2 weekends ago and we enjoyed every minute of it. I ordered the Rice and Beans with Roast Pork and it comes with a sauce that is very garlicky and lemony plus the platanos, my husband ordered the Cuban sandwich which he liked very much. The owner’s son Andrew was very nice. Did not meet the owner, but his name is George.

  3. This sounds great – and if Jane and Michael Stern’s site, Roadfood, recommends it, I’m sure it’s good. We’ve used their old book from the pre-internet days “Good Food and Road Food” to find great local eateries around the parts of the US that we go to, and have never been disappointed with their recommendations. In fact, we still go to a Portuguese restaurant in Fall River, MA that we found through their book. Looking forward to trying Havana Sandwich!

  4. This is a hit!! I love this place. The only thing is they give too much food. I did roast pork (WITH SKIN) yellow rice & beans, I could not finish it and I’m a “Big Guy”. I’m tired of pizza & Chinese & Tex Mex I want something different to eat at home.
    Maybe they’ll deliver in the future

  5. I went here today and had some fantastic rice and the cuban sandwich. The service is awesome and the food is equally awesome. I’ll definitely be coming back.

  6. Got takeout here tonight as 12MilesWest cancelled their 9:30 show due to the weather.
    The empanada’s and plantains were very good, I thought that the cubans were okay – not outstanding. However, the chick pea soup was awesome!! Black beans and rice very good, the only downside was that they were out of pernil pork (my fave) – will have to go back to try that.

  7. After years of mediocre cuban sandwiches in Elizabeth is about time we got a new place to get some real good ones.

  8. Wow! I ate at Havana Sandwich Cafe and I had a feast! It’s been long time since I had a good and thick cuban sandwich. The pork, rice and black beans were out of this world. The Flan was a sin! The place is really nice with good cuban music. The service is outstanding! I recommend it and can’t wait to go back!

  9. Cuban sandwiches are bangin here, ate one at the place, and took 2 home. Service is great too. Definitly be back again and again and again!!!

  10. They have a lot of side dishes. Like White Rice, Black Rice, Yellow Rice, Black Beans, Red Beans, Ensalada, Yucca with mojo, Fried Yucca, Fried Green Plantain, Fried Plantain (Sweet), And Fried Papitas.
    Hope this helps.

  11. Well, Havana Sandwich Cafe, I did it again! I came back sooner than expected and had samples of many of your side dishes as well as the sandwiches. My taste buds enjoyed every one of them. KEEP UP the good food and the good service!
    P.S. By the way, I’m a real good cook (modesty aside) and enjoy good quality dining!

  12. I just had a cuban sandwich and some ropa vieja. They were out of this world. Now, if you want to feel like you are in Havanna go to cuban pete’s, but if you want to eat like you are in havana, go to Havanna sandwich cafe. keep it up guys!!

  13. so how big is this place could a baby in a stroller fit in there? And is it a atmosphere that one would feel comfortable bringing a baby in a stroller there?

  14. Went last night, the food is great, I’ll be going back. Bluto, you’d probably want to leave the stroller at home. This place is so small, the front door and the back door are on the same hinge!

  15. it’s not that small dont exagerate stupid. a baby in a stroller would fit but i dont like to listen to crying babies while im trying to enjoy good cuban food. and no the front door and back door arent on the same hinge

  16. It’s not exagerrating, it’s my opinion based on other eat-in places I’ve tried so fall back. Anyway, not counting the counter space, the eating area is small enough that it will not accomodate a stroller if most of the five tables are occupied.

  17. BLUTO,
    my kidS are very well behaved thank you very much, just so happens that most children these days arent very well raised and arent as behaved. if you are raising your kid well, then congratulations. What, u want a cookie?

  18. Ordered take-out from here the other night. The young man and his cousin were so good to me. They had to explain a lot. We definitely enjoyed the food a lot and will be returning. The restaurant itself has a few tables (4) with enough room for a stroller so I can’t imagine there being a problem. The plantains were great and my boyfriend enjoyed his chicken fricassee (sp?).
    I wish the family great success.

  19. We just got take out from the Havana Cafe and it was great. The mang shake was something special. My daughter liked the “midnight sandwich” which is a child size Cuban sandwich.

  20. Brought home a Cuban & a lechon (roast pork) sandwich & rice & black beans -absolutely delicious and fresh! The pork was juicy with some crispy skin, devoid of the extra fat which many like, but I’d rather do without. The beans were creamy and tasty. The family is polite and friendly and the place was very tidy. I KNOW and COOK Cuban, Dominican & Puerto Rican food, but on days off, this is where my meals will come from. Can’t wait to try the rest. Selfishly hoping they don’t get too busy, but wishing them success.

  21. Cuban food? I just love it! Especially, from Havana Sandwich Cafe! I keep going back for more and I’m never disappointed!

  22. We had takeout from Havana today, 03/18/06. Their “specials” for the dawere the cuban stew (a very tender and tasty piece of beef brisket) and “pork chunks”, which should have a better name to reflect how super tasty each slightly-larger-than bize sized piece of pork really was. Both were delicious with nice-sized portions. A very friendly spot, reasonable prices.

  23. I went in here a couple weeks ago got two sandwiches- one pork and one beef. I couldn’t decide which one I wanted so I ate half of each and saved the other halves for my husband. We both loved them! I spoke with the owner (didn’t catch his name) – he seemed really nice. So was the young man behind the counter. I dropped something and he came out from behind the counter to pick it up for me (I had a newborn strapped to me via Baby Bjorn). Even the other customers that were there were very friendly to me. Yummy food, great service, reasonable prices, friendly atmosphere. I wish they delivered, but until then it’s worth the trip. I’m going to keep going back till I try everything on the menu 🙂

  24. Hey Havana! I have sent to you many of my friends from work and they have truly enjoyed the food and the service. They are now regulars at your place. God Bless and I’ll be stopping by soon!

  25. Can’t wait to try this place! I just discovered cuban food last summer and I love it. Hope this is as good as everyone says!

  26. The restaurant has expanded to open a storefront on Bloomfield Ave at Orange St. Nicer establishment and easier to get to. Puts them at a better location and wish them well. Yummy and economical but now ability to BYOB.

Comments are closed.