On Saturday after running a few errands, it was time for Jake and I to have some “real lunch”! I picked Havana Grill since we were in the area and I had been curious about Havana Grill. I had seen it was finally open and wanted to check it out with Jake.
Havana Grill is in that little plaza off Clairemont Mesa Blvd. at the 805 when you start heading west. The smaller one that’s slighter harder to park in. Surely you know the one? Havana Grill has outdoor seating, too, in case you want to bring a furry friend.
Here’s part of the interior. There’s a half wall that semi-separates part of the restaurant. Jake and I were sitting on the other side of it to take advantage of the natural light. This is an order-at-the-counter type restaurant. They’ll give you a number and then bring your meal to your table once it’s ready.
At the front counter, there’s a display of some baked goods. It looked like they had guava pastries and chocolate chip cookies on display.
To the right of the baked goods are samples of what some of the various appetizers are so you can see what they look like before you order them. Smart.
At the very end was samples of their salads.
And right next to the register was a smaller case with desserts in it. The chocolate bomb looked so good but I decided to pass on dessert that day.
Jake got a couple of sodas for us to share – a pineapple soda and an Ironbeer. I hadn’t tried Ironbeer in a long time and was surprised to find that it tasted like an orange creamsicle. For some reason I thought it would be like cola! Memory fail.
[cubano sandwich with plantain chips / $10 ]
Jake and I decided to share the Cubano sandwich which came with sliced roasted leg of pork, smoked ham, Swiss cheese, mustard, sweet pickles (on the side), and is hot pressed to form a bit of an outer crunch.
The bread was quite nice – it was soft on the inside and had a nice outer crust. It wasn’t super crunchy and I think it could have been pressed a little bit longer. The roasted pork was especially good in this sandwich. It was thinly sliced and had a great flavor – very juicy and delicious. It tasted great with the ham and swiss cheese. My favorite part about the sandwich was that in addition to the mustard, there was some garlic mojo that was added to the sandwich. That gave the the sandwich an extra boost of garlic flavor that permeated the entire sandwich – I loved that bit of garlic!
We also both enjoyed the thinly sliced, super crunchy plantain chips. I sprinkled a little extra salt on them since them seemed to be underseasoned. Jake commented they didn’t really taste like bananas or plantains to him – more like just a crunchy, tasty chip.
[empanada / $6]
We also shared this giant sized empanada. I found it somewhat amusing that the empanada was served in a dish that it didn’t quite fit in! The empanada was nicely blistered from a dip in the fryer.
The empanada was filled with a mixture of ground beef, beans, onions, and other veggies. The empanada was quite airy inside and had a lot of air pockets. Jake and I both thought the filling was just “okay”. The filling had an almost bitter flavor to it from the ingredients that were inside. The empanada also could have been fried a little bit longer since parts of the crust tasted a bit chewy and slightly undercooked.
All in all though I’d come back and try out a few more items – especially if they have more of that delicious garlic mojo on it! I’d want to try out their potato balls as well and that chocolate bomb has my name all over it.
5450 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92117
Open Daily: 11 am – 9 pm