Today’s Groupon is muddled with tropical taste, splashed with foreign flavors, and garnished with Latin locomotion. For $15, you’ll get $35 worth of scrumptious Cuban cuisine at Havana Café, an authentic eatery praised by the Phoenix New Times as the best Latin bistro. Redeem your Groupon at one of two locations on East Camelback Road in Phoenix or on East Bell Road in Scottsdale.
Restaurant veterans B.J. and Gilbert Hernandez opened their ethnic outpost more than 20 years ago in an effort to introduce signature dishes and Cuban cuisine as a local mainstay. Stop in for a tapas-based lunch and start with the mussels ($9.50), decadently poached in a parsley, garlic, fish-stock, and white-wine sauce. Finger food fans will appreciate the yuca frita ($5.95), fried cassava fingers flanked by dual dipping sauces (banana-guava ketchup and black bean dip). You can also elect to sample and share with a sampler platter ($24.50). You'll find an extended menu for dinner, including a modest selection of tamales and empanaditas. Try the tamal cubano ($4.50), a cuban pocket stuffed with ground corn, pork bits, and sofrito. End the meal on a sweet note with the restaurant's celebrated caramel-coated flan ($6.50).
Head to Havana for live music at both locations. The Scottsdale outpost features bold beats Friday and Saturdays from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., or conclude the weekend with Sunday night sounds at the Phoenix or Scottsdale location. Havana's well-edited libations menu presents diners with smart beverage choices from wines to specialty sips (mojitos, sangria, daiquiris), the perfect complement to live music, bold beats, and tracks.
Restaurant veterans BJ and Gilbert Hernandez infuse Spanish and Latin flavors into traditional Cuban cuisine at both Havana Cafe locations, where chef BJ’s menu has been winning awards since 1989. BJ's tapas have caught the attention of critics at the Arizona Republic and Fodor's the latter describing the ham-and-chicken croquettes and shrimp pancakes as "marvelous." For the house specialty Paella a la Havana, BJ combines five types of seafood–– including lobster, mussels, and scallops––with chicken breast, chorizo, pork, and saffron, and the classic Cubano sandwich sees the chef carefully layering imported ham, mortadella, roast pork,swiss cheese, and pickles, and then pressing the savory stack into a thin, toasty sandwich. Those dining in-house can sample sangria that was voted No. 1 by the Phoenix New Times.