havana grill

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 | San Diego, CA / This Tasty Life

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. 

Interior at Havana Grill | San Diego, CA / This Tasty Life

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.

Menu at Havana Grill | San Diego, CA / This Tasty Life

Menu side two at Havana Grill | San Diego, CA / This Tasty Life

The menu.

Baked goods at Havana Grill | San Diego, CA / This Tasty Life

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.

Appetizers at Havana Grill | San Diego, CA / This Tasty Life

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.

Salads at Havana Grill | San Diego, CA / This Tasty Life

At the very end was samples of their salads. 

Desserts at Havana Grill | San Diego, CA / This Tasty Life

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. 

Pineapple Soda and Ironbeer Soda at Havana Grill | San Diego, CA / This Tasty Life

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 at Havana Grill | San Diego, CA / This Tasty Life

[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.

Cubano at Havana Grill | San Diego, CA / This Tasty Life

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!

Plantain Chips at Havana Grill | San Diego, CA / This Tasty Life

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. 

Fried Empanada at Havana Grill | San Diego, CA / This Tasty Life

[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.

Empanada filling - Havana Grill | San Diego, CA / This Tasty Life

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.

Havana Grill
5450 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92117
(858) 430-6878
Open Daily: 11 am – 9 pm

Author: Mary

Mary is a San Diego native and has been a food blogger for 11+ years. She is an avid reader, a lover of puppies, and loves trying new food. Foods she loves: sweets, peanut butter, pasta, Triscuit crackers with cream cheese, and extra nuts on top of her sundaes. Food she dislikes: pickles, really spicy food, runny eggs, olives, and too much arugula.

2 Replies to “havana grill

  1. We just visited Havana as well! Your Cubano looks different than mine though. I was looking forward to trying the guava pastry but they were sold out that day. How would you compare this place to Embargo?

    1. I just read your post! How funny we posted about the same place! Your Cubano does look a little different than mine – I think maybe yours was pressed a little more evenly than mine was. I really, really, really liked the garlic flavor that was in this sandwich but I liked the bread a little more over at Embargo. The Embargo sandwich was crunchier but the Cubano at Havana Grill had better overall flavor in my opinion. Both really good sandwiches though! I need to try their Cuban coffee, too.

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