Cuba is a popular destination for vacation. Since I don’t quite have the budget to travel just yet, La Habanera allowed me to have a taste of Cuban food. Locating right in the downtown of Montreal, it has soon become a hit spot. The restaurant offers Hawaiian-inspired shareable plates, as well as an extensive cocktail menu.
It’s not spacious, but enough to seat 30 customers, and not too crowded. La Habanera is operated by the same team as the Japanese inspired Biiru, and the Mexican inspired Escondite, which is just right next door.
I saw that aguacate is a must, which is a salad with avocado, nougat, red papaya, oseille leaves, cucumber, and mojito dressing. I liked the combinations. Never thought about putting nougat in the salad, because it’s more like a sweet/candy. Moreover, I don’t like papaya due to the unpleasant odor, but this one was acceptable!
This is the tomato y cerezas, which is composed of kumato tomatoes, black cherries, pickled fennel, tamarin jerky, Thai basil, and hibiscus dressing. I have to say that this dish is very unique and special, and I would encourage you to try it. However, if you don’t like tamarin, like me, you would probably want to skip it. The taste of the tamarin is very strong…
Ceviche is something that one shouldn’t be missed when visiting a South American restaurant. At La Habanera, the ceviche is composed of white fish, oranges, cantaloupe, honey dew, oregano, jalapeño, and escabeche creme. I was expecting the fish to be raw, but it was cooked. However, I do like the pairing with fruits.
The El Cubano is a sandwich stuffed with “mojo” pork, ham, smoked mustard, swiss and provolone cheese, and pickles. The sandwich was a bit salty, but very flavorful. The chips added a bit of the crunchiness.
The staff recommended the bao cubano, which is a steam bao filled with anchiote and saffron fried chicken, and Argousier Habanero salsa. The fried chicken is well-seasoned. However, the bun was a bit dried and hard.
These tostones rellenos de Camarones were my favorite of the night. It’s plantain cups filled with rum and coconut and garlic dulce de leche shrimps. Unlike the normal flat plantains, these plantain cups are quite thick, and nicely combined with the shrimps. It was sweet and savory at the same time.
As for dessert, we ended with the 3 leches, which was a bit disappointing. The sponge cake was dry, and the cream was more like meringues. It seems like separate layers.
Overall, it was nice. The combinations of the flavors are interesting and unique. The service was nice, and the staffs were friendly and attentive. It’s a nice spot to grab a small bites and drinks with friends afterwork.
1216 Avenue Union, Montréal
Tel: +1 (514) 375-5355