In 2002, entrepreneur Jeremy Merrin teamed with fellow restaurant mogul Arlene Spiegel and head chef Stanley Licairac to establish Havana Central, a family-friendly enterprise based on lively Latin music and the rich flavors of Cuban cuisine. The food of Cuba draws from disparate influences across the globe⎯Spanish, French, African, Chinese, and indigenous cultures⎯manifesting into tender skirt-steak ropa vieja, empanadas stuffed with savory meats and goat cheese, and salmon, chicken, and shrimp marinated in tangy citrus juices.
Though the restaurant's leafy palms and tropical cocktails hint at the freewheeling good times of 1950s Havana, the staff pairs their joie de vivre with social responsibility, specifically by donating to local charities and taking on numerous green initiatives. As guests sip mojitos and sangria and sup upon slow-roasted meats and chicken sofrito, a lineup of live entertainment keeps feet moving in rhythm. Interactive events include salsa-dance lessons, charanga bands, and reenactments of the charge up San Juan Hill.
On a Bronx street lined with Italian restaurants, one fa?ade stands out?the one with a streetside bar under a shady awning, and a dense gathering of exotic plants and excited diners. This fa?ade belongs to Havana Cafe, which the 2013 and 2014 Michelin Guide honored with a Bib Gourmand award recognizing the inspectors? favorites for good value. PIX-11 confirmed the restaurant's status as a neighborhood staple during a 2011 Bronx Restaurant Week profile, noting that it?s ?become famous fast for serving great food in a welcoming atmosphere.?
Smells of Cuban and Latin-American cooking spill out from an intimate dining room, and, in the kitchen, a custom brick oven burns through shovelfuls of bricks under the direction of Chef Alex Garcia. Chef Alex designs modern interpretations of classic dishes, resulting in cultural collisions such as brick-oven pizza topped with beef picadillo and piquillo peppers. Straightforward renditions of Latin flavors abound as well, in the form of adobo-rubbed shrimp, churrasco-style grilled steaks, and sides and sauces made with tropical produce such as plantains, mango, and yuca.
When cool weather forces the french doors closed, groups snuggle up with their mojitos in leather-cushioned chairs beneath brick pillars and exposed rafters. Behind plush red banquettes, murals commemorate a hazy Cuban past lined with shiny classic cars and balconies leaning convivially over narrow city streets.
Fresh vegetables, meats, and Latin spices help capture the home-cooked flavors of authentic Latin cuisine at Caridad Restaurant. A bilingual staff pairs traditional entrees such as roasted chicken and oxtail stew with Latin ingredients such as ripe avocados and flan freshly sapped from a tropical custard tree.
Some have called baked goods the world's greatest treasure, and Havana Express is creating them right.
Don't expect to find any low-fat fare on Havana Express' menu — you'll need to be prepared to indulge a bit.
At Havana Express, business casual is the norm, so save your suit and tie for another day.
If you prefer to drive to the bakery, go right ahead. Parking is abundant in the area.
The flavors of old Havana are alive and well at Madera Cuban Grill.
The cooks at Madera Cuban Grill know how to get creative with gluten-free ingredients.
Take a peek at the drink menu here, and make sure to sample something off the list.
Sometimes it's annoying to plan events for big groups, and sometimes it's easy with great restaurants like Madera Cuban Grill helping you out.
Tap into the free wireless Internet at Madera Cuban Grill.
Planning a special night? Call ahead to reserve a table.
Casual dining at its best, Madera Cuban Grill customers are free to enjoy themselves in jeans and a T-shirt.
Need a night in? Don't miss out on Madera Cuban Grill's delicious food — you can carry it out to eat at home or have them deliver it straight to you.
Throwing a big party? Count on Madera Cuban Grill to provide top-notch catering with the same great dishes you love.
At Madera Cuban Grill, street and lot parking is made simple for diners.
Store your bike at one of the many racks outside of Madera Cuban Grill.
Treating yourself doesn't mean breaking the bank, come taste the great dishes Madera Cuban Grill has to offer.
If you're looking to rack up your frequent flyer miles, feel free to pay by major credit card.
Reviewers rave about the dinner menu at the restaurant, though breakfast and lunch are also served.
Try Nuevo Jardin De China Restaurant's Cuban tamale or some black bean soup for authentic Latin-American fare.
G-free and low-fat are just a couple of examples, come here for a quick bite that will leave you feeling healthy.
Complement your meal with a beer or wine from Nuevo Jardin De China Restaurant's delightful drink menu.
Load up the mini-van and bring the kids to Nuevo Jardin De China Restaurant — they'll love the menu and scene here as much as mom and dad.
Tables at Nuevo Jardin De China Restaurant are available first-come, first-served, so be sure to show up a bit earlier on busy weekends.
Homebodies can take advantage of Nuevo Jardin De China Restaurant's delivery and take-out options.
Pull up curbside and find simple street parking near Nuevo Jardin De China Restaurant.
You can take it easy on your wallet at Nuevo Jardin De China Restaurant — prices are generally less than $30 per person.