It’s fair to say that most New Yorkers have never been to Cuba. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the country’s vibrant spirit and delicious signature dishes without leaving the borough of Manhattan. Havana Alma de Cuba celebrates all things Cuban and invites you to savor the flavors of an authentic meal all while immersed in an upbeat atmosphere with live music and traditional décor.
Havana Alma de Cuba is a cozy restaurant located in the heart of the West Village. With beautiful murals covering the walls, impressive lantern light fixtures, and elegant leather white booths and chairs, you feel that you have been transported to Old Havana for the night. With the weather getting warmer, you may want to take advantage of the private backyard patio. Start things off with one of their unique drinks, such as pasión cubana ($11), a blend of Bacardi rum, passion fruit purée, and lemon juice or mojito clásico ($10), served with Santa Teresa rum. Sangria lovers will be able to jump into a pitcher of red, white, or sparkling sangria ($36), but you should be aware that this potion is quite strong…which could be a good thing!
With so many appetizing entradas to kick off your meal, you will be able to enjoy a bunch by sharing with others. The empanada habanera offers a Cuban take on a traditional Latin American staple, with beef picadillo mixed with cachucha (mild pepper) sauce in an exquisite pastry shell ($6). The albondigas (beef meatballs) is another hearty dish served with a tasty blend of manchego cheese and tomato fricassee ($9). Perhaps the most memorable appetizer on the menu is the montadito de chorizo ($8), a medley of Spanish chorizo, jalapeños, caramelized onions, and chimichurri sauce served as bruschettas (Italian toasted bread appetizers).
Havana Alma de Cuba offers a number of scrumptious entrées that celebrate unique Cuban ingredients. If you enjoy fresh fish, you will appreciate the filete de Pargo ($24), green plantain crusted red snapper served on a plantain purée with a mouthwatering sofrito (garlic, onion, and green peppers) sauce and a side of saffron rice and beans. If you’re looking for something with more vegetables, check out the pollo Camaguey ($18). Named after the third largest city in Cuba, the pollo Camaguey is a delicious blend of chicken with a medley of vegetables, including shiitake mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, and spinach, all served in a tomato-based sofrito sauce. Of course, the most popular Cuban dish is ropa vieja. Despite its name, this dish has nothing to do with old clothes. Havana Alma de Cuba pays homage to the homeland with its interpretation, ropa vieja “La Bodeguita” ($19), shredded skirt steak braised in tomato and a pepper criolla sauce served in a plantain chip basket (talk about artistic), with a side of black rice and beans. The presentation alone is elaborate, but one bite and you’ll understand what makes this dish so popular. For something extra, order a side of yuquita frita (fried cassava) served with a tangy cilantro dipping sauce ($7).
You will be happy to know that your experience can be taken up notch on the weekends with live music Thursdays through Saturdays, and traditional cigar rolling on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Sure, traveling to Havana may prove to be challenging, but Havana Alma de Cuba makes it easy to indulge in authentic Cuban fare without leaving the states.
Havana Alma de Cuba
94 Christopher Street
New York, New York 10014