Everything we said about Café Habana back in our 2009 review remains true, which is kind of amazing considering how quickly the restaurant landscape of this city changes these days. It’s still one of the coolest restaurants in NYC, it’s still delicious, it’s still cheap, and crack is still the special ingredient to the corn. Café Habana is a special place, as important to the culture of downtown New York as any establishment. It’s the corner diner that never goes out of style, where customers will gladly wait outside for 45 minutes, people watching until their table is ready. Everyone knows the drill, and no one complains. And if things happen to be a little too crazy, Habana-To-Go is situated right next door, with mostly the same menu, perfectly packed to-go.
Our favorite time to come to Café Habana will always be weekday breakfast or weekday dinner, when you can actually get in here without waiting, and when it’s more of a locals’ hang than during prime time. It’s useful for any meal, any time of the day, whether you need a cuban, a Corona, or a big plate of $9 huevos rancheros. People cram themselves into the tiniest spaces, literally sitting on top of strangers next to them. Comfort is not something Café Habana achieves in the traditional sense - it’s something they achieve through their food.
You come to Habana, you order the corn. That’s just how it is.
The mustard dressing they serve with these salads is incredible. They are a nice size, come loaded with protein, and are a great call for lunch on the weekends or dinner during the week. The tortilla chips are a nice touch, too.
Habana has one of our favorite steak sandwiches in NYC, although every time we eat it, we wish it had a bit more steak, a bit more peppers, and a bit more onions. For the amount of bread, it could use some more “stuff.” That being said, it’s still pretty damn awesome. Make sure to order an extra side of the spicy chipotle mayo for dipping purposes.
A Habana classic. This heaping plate of sautéed chicken comes smothered in a roasted garlic sauce and served with spicy spinach and white rice. One of our go-to entrees here.
A hand-formed corn masa boat stuffed with goat cheese, black beans, and sun dried tomatoes. This is one of their signature dishes, and people can’t get enough.
These are obviously a must. Sweet plantains will never let you down.
A HUGE serving that is almost impossible to finish but is awesome and topped with loads of fruit.
Treat your hangover to this mound of toasted Cuban bread topped with black refried beans, melted cheese, and fresh tomato salsa.
All of Café Habana’s Mexican egg breakfast plates are excellent. You can’t go wrong.
So, so good. For brunch or breakfast, these need to be ordered with whatever eggs you decide upon.