Jun 13 2013

First Take: Havana Grill, Cary for Solid Cuban Dishes and Cuisine!

Counter at Havana Grill, Cary on Foodalicious Follies


Unlike Miami, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of Cubans in the Triangle area but thankfully there are places like Havana Grill in Cary around!  I stopped in for a quick lunch, Havana Grill is located in a dusty corner lot outside of downtown Cary. It looks a bit run-down, inside you’ve got a small counter, fridge with Latin-American drinks and oddly enough, a dining room with really large patio!  I’ve not sure how they can pump out enough food at the counter to fill this space but they must have all that space for a reason…


Hot table at Havana Grill, Cary on Foodalicious Follies


The menu is not super deep, I ordered up some steak palomilla while my co-worker goes with a plate from the steam table.  I grab an Inka cola, we find a table and wait for our eats!  Now most of the time when I want Cuban I end up at Oakwood Cafe but I do believe they may be more Argentinian than Cuban.  The steak palomilla at Havana Grill is a stripped down, thin steak, lightly breaded with onions.  Some tostones on the side sprinkled with garlic and yellow rice as complement.  The steak is ok along with the yellow rice (sorta clumpy), my favorite part of the meal was the crunchy tostones which had some nice texture and bite with the garlic.  I’d give Havana Grill a luke-warm thumbs up as a solid meal but I’m thinking they may be a more accurate rendition of Cuban than I expected.


Steak palomilla at Havana Grill, Cary on Foodalicious Follies


Downtown Cary is not an area I usually get to for lunch so not sure when I’ll be back at Havana Grill next to explore the menu.  It’s solid but I’d confess to prefering Oakwood Cafe or Mami Nora’s or a variety of other Latin-American eateries.  Havana Grill may actually dish out pretty authentic Cuban and for that I’ll have to give them credit, especially in downtown Cary!  Just need some Miami peeps to validate if that’s the truth, until then just enjoy this simple little eatery dishing out down-home food from the islands…


Havana Grill
404 W. Chatham Street
Cary, NC 27511

Havana Grill menu
Location on Google maps
Havana Grill on Urbanspoon


  1. Mandy

    I don’t think their Cuban is very good. Tried it out today and was also disappointed by the palomilla and the rice and beans. The steak was dry and tough, the sauce was much more vinegar than lime juice. The smell in the restaurant was overwhelming with a strong deodorizing smell.

    Cuban sandwich looked plentiful but greasy, along with the “fries” that came with it. Nothing was like what I’ve had in Florida, aside form the plantains.

    1. Ron Wen

      I’d have to agree, Mandy! I think my post was sorta luke-warm on Havana Grill and I still stand by Oakwood Cafe for Cuban. Also check out Tropical Picken Chicken which does similar food. Have a post for them but just haven’t released it yet…

      1. Mandy

        I agree, I like Tropical Picken Chicken and Oakwood Cafe too. Also Carmen’s Cuban Cafe (by the airport) I liked last time I went, but I haven’t been in a few years now, so can’t vouch for their consistency. I miss Cuban food so much!

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