Revolutionary Tastes

Jamie Gwen | March 20, 2018 | Feature Features

With Habana's new spot at Irvine Spectrum Center, South County gastronomes can delight in the authentic flavors and vibrant spirit of Cuba.
The Spanish chorizo sofrito steamers features clams, mussels and chorizo in a leek-infused white wine sauce and charred bread

The tantalizing spirit of Cuba is alive and kicking. At the new Habana at Irvine Spectrum Center, it’s present in the notable national dish ropa vieja, the succulently tender pork shank, the chorizo-laden steamers and the sweet caramelized plantains. And, oh, the alfajores—they alone are worth the trip.

At Habana, your palate will be treated to an explosion of Caribbean flavors, richly influenced by Spanish zest and African ingredients, and lush with heart and soul. You can feel the vibrant pulse of Cuban music, taste the sweetness of tropical fruit and savor the appreciation for a well-made cafe con leche. And the excitement, passion and authenticity are palpable in every sip and bite.

In our beloved O.C., ethnic influences are wonderfully widespread—the delight of classic dim sum, the thrill of a genuine taqueria. But authentic Cuban cuisine is unique. After 20 years of perfecting their craft, veteran restaurateurs Jeffrey Best and Kenneth Jones have opened the long-awaited sister to their popular Costa Mesa outpost. With chef Alex Moreno at the helm, the new establishment boasts 300-plus seats to experience classic Cuban flavors that tantalize the senses.

The bar is a spectacle—grandiose and gorgeous, with the shimmer of bottles from floor to ceiling and a 2,000-pound pineapple chandelier that hangs at the center of what resembles a Cuban mansion, giving you the notion that you’ve stepped back in time. A glorious wraparound patio will welcome you to dine alfresco. Or opt for indoor seating, and be sure to appreciate the vintage wrought-iron tables and the artifacts decorating the space.


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