Team GQA got a chance to celebrate the flavors of Cuba at Havana 1920!
Newly opened in the Gaslamp Quarter is Havana 1920, the latest concept from GBOD Hospitality Group. The 80-seat quaint and richly decorated restaurant channels the Hemingway-era Havana and serves classic Cuban dishes cooked by Executive Chef Anthony Porras. Havana 1920 celebrates the personal heritage of Joe Santos, COO of GBOD Hospitality Group, whose grandparents migrated from Cuba to the United States. The décor, the aroma of delicious food, and the festive music made us feel as if we had been transported to Joe Santos’ grandmother’s house, ready for an authentic Cuban meal.
What We Enjoyed:
Alex, Sherry and I were seated in their upstairs dining room decked out with vintage travel posters, 1920 Cuban cigar boxes, memorabilia and a table set with a decorative oil cloth.
- To start, Alex, Sherry and I had a basket of crispy Mariquitas (Plantain Chips) lightly salted and with a side of Cuban Mojo Criollo and Havana Royale sauces.
- Then, we ordered some bocaditos (bites), the Papa Rellena De Carne and the Empanada Vegetariana, that was also served with Cuban Mojo Criollo and Havana Royale sauces.
- Papa Rellena De Carne (Picadillo Stuffed Potato) – Mashed potato fried to a golden brown and filled with seasoned ground beef and peppers.
- Empanada Vegetariana (Vegetarian Turnover) – This crisp savory pastry was filled with portobello mushroom, spinach and cheese.
- For an Entrée, Sherry enjoyed the Ropa Vieja (Shredded Beef in Tomato), known as the national dish of Cuba, made with peppers and onions cooked in tomato sauce. The Platillo was served with black beans and rice as well as fried sweet plantains.
- Alex had to have the classic Cuban Sandwich with slices of slow roasted pork, ham, swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard on Cuban bread served with Yuca fries and their signature sauces.
- I had the avocado salad, complete with HUGE Carribean avocados, tomato and onion on a bed of watercress, drizzled with EVOO, kosher salt and fresh lemon juice. I also drizzled a little of the delectable mojo criollo sauce on the bed of greens too.
Havana 1920 boasts a robust bar program. Beverage Director and Lead Mixologist Ryan Andrews has curated a collection of more than 150 rums, including British Navy and hard-to-find Appleton Estate Joy. Manager Andrew Walsh gave us an amazing tour of the restaurant and taught us how to mix our own cocktails from their exquisite menu. Personally, it was fun, but I definitely have a new appreciation for the Gaslamp Quarter’s talented mixologists and bartenders! With Andrew’s guidance, I got through it, but I’m sure the mixologists of Havana 1920 would make their signature cocktails A LOT better than I did.
- From their Bebidas menu I made the Hotel Nacional with Diplomatico 6yr. rum, fresh pineapple juice, fresh lime juice, apricot liqueur and R&D Aromatic #7 bitters.
- Alex mixed the classic Havana 1920 Mojito. This refreshing cocktail included Havana Club anejo blanco rum, fresh lime juice, yerba buena (Cuban mint), fresh pressed sugarcane juice, sugarcane syrup, and club soda.
- As a decorative nod to their authentic Cuban roots, the restaurant’s tables and chairs are reminiscent of your abuela’s house. All of the mismatched dining chairs were sourced by Havana 1920 staff from all across San Diego’s flea markets and vintage stores.
- Guests of Havana 1920 can enjoy live music every evening.
- A rare collection of vintage Bacardi Bottles, 1920 Cuban publications, photos and trinkets are beautifully displayed in creative niches around the restaurant.
- Back by the bar, there is a wall of Cuban cigar boxes that sometimes have little fun surprises in them. Make sure you look through them and see what you can find when you visit!
- Right below the wall of Cuban cigar boxes are couches you can lounge on and play a game of foosball.
- Havana 1920 also has 2 wonderfully decorated domino and cigar gaming tables on the outdoor patio.
- Authentic Cuban bread is flown in from La Segunda bakery in Florida for the restaurant’s delicious sandwiches.
From music to décor to food and drinks to service, every guest is wrapped in the spirit of Cuba. Make a reservation for lunch, dinner, or cocktails today and experience a trip to Havana in San Diego! Havana 1920 is open from 11am-1am Daily.