As most New Yorkers, I am NOT fans of Times Square, so when I was invited to go to an event at Havana Central in Times Square, I was a bit concerned. The restaurants in Times Square don’t really have good reputation, as they are mainly for tourists (expensive food and not very quality food), and therefore not for foodies. The exterior had a huge, very colorful neon lights, bringing the feelings of the good old hang-out spot from many decades ago.
The inside was much bigger than expected, and the fun neon light sign and the bright interior welcomes you to the fun space. They feature Cuba’s golden era, party on the island that never ends. There were large, old-fashioned Cuban arts on the walls which made the room even more festive.
They also have a nice sized bar right by the entrance, and across from the bar on the other side was a stage for live band music.
Our event was on the upper level, maybe the VIP section of the restaurant? It was not that large space, but good enough for a party. You can pack a lot of people there. There was a long booth seat that covered the back wall from edge to edge, and some chairs and tables were added.
It had a great view of the main floor dining room. The ceiling of the dining room goes from the floor to the upper level ceiling, makes it feel as though it was even larger space. With this much height, you can have tall palm trees there with no issue at all.
The staff were super nice, we got Margaritas immediately. It had really nice flavor, not watered down, but real, good glass of Margarita. You don’t always get good, strong drinks during an event, but they took care of us with a great quality drink.
And then some smaller bite-sized empanadas. They had chicken, cheese, and beef with tasty dipping sauce. The interesting part was that they were served on their custom made newspaper (on a plate), which read “Havana Central Restaurant & Bar, Home of the Best Mojitos in New York!” Very creative! Back to empanadas… The flavor of the chicken was really nice, but the beef one was the juiciest. It had sweet peppers in it, which was a nice surprise.
Then, they brought out the whole pig! The roasted pig looked so nice and everyone was in awe… We got to have some curved pig with pickled onion, chimichurri, and garlic bread. I didn’t really get the “garlic”from the bread, but it was great with chimichurri. The pickled onion was really vinegary, a bit too strong for me, but it gave a good extra flavor to the pig. The pig was juicy and moist, tender and flavorful. The skin was a bit too chewy, I wish if it was more crispy…
For desserts, they had flan and churros. The flan was a cute mini flan! Well, it certainly was cute but it also was really small… so we had to have 2 flans (that’s my excuse). It was really rich, dense, and very tasty!
The bite-size churros were also very delicious! And yes, we had more than 1 of these too… It was soft and slightly chewy, sweet and addictive. Don’t come here when you are on a diet.
We had great time, with friendly and helpful staff, nice food, and very festive atmosphere, it is almost like a neighborhood gem. It will be fun to hang out there with friends and family for sure. I would like to go back to try out their regular menu, and see how it is like to really spend some time in the festive Havana Central.
Havana Central – 151 W 46th St, New York, NY 10036