Lunch Spot: Havana Tropical Grill
As a long-time Miami resident, good authentic Cuban restaurants were a dime a dozen. However, since moving to Northwest Arkansas, Cuban pressed sandwiches, fried plantains, and mojo chicken with black beans slowly became a distant memory.
Thankfully, that all changed last week when a friend recommended Havana Tropical Grill in Rogers. With hundreds of reviews averaging 4.5-4.8 starts across multiple online sites, I had to give it a try. Havana Tropical Grill is tucked in a small plaza off Walnut across from the Center for Non-profits (just past the light after Aldi on the left if you are driving East behind Unify Bank) - MAP IT.
Note: The staff indicated the restaurant is moving to downtown Rogers later in the summer of 2018. We will update their location in this article when they move.
Havana has a full bar, and specializes in the infamous Mojito. But where Havana shines is the food. Having eaten there multiple times with different people over the past few weeks, I will highlight some "can't miss" recommendations.
Let's start with the basics:
- Cuban sandwich: A traditional Cuban sandwich with slow roasted pork, ham, Swiss cheese, mustard, a touch of garlic butter on pressed Cuban bread. Off my diet, I indulged with fries which were crisp and tasty. It was delicious and will likely be my "go-to" choice on most lunch visits (see the image at the top of the page).
- Arroz con Pollo: Translated means simply chicken and rice. Seasoned yellow rice, boneless chicken breast shredded, onions, peppers, and Cuban spices. Served with maduros.
- Maduros (side dish): These are fried ripe sweet plantains. They usually give you a couple with most meals but you can order an entire side dish of them. They are tasty and lie somewhere between a side dish and desert.
- Empanadas (appetizer): Fried pastry-like turnover filled with home-style beef and home-made sauce.
Looking for something heavier?
- Churrasco Cubano: Tender outside skirt steak marinated with Cuban spices. Served with congri rice, tostones, and some of the most flavorful chimichurri sauce I have tasted.
- Pollo Mojo: Boneless grilled chicken seasoned in tasty garlic-lemon sauce with cilantro and served with white rice, Cuban-style black beans, and 2 maduros. High protein meal with plenty of flavor.
Vegetarian / healthier choices?
- Viduo: White rice with Cuban-style black beans, maduros, and a small house salad. Black beans are the hallmark of many Cuban dishes, loaded with protein for those who want to remain health conscious.
- Arroz Amarillo: Mixed yellow rice, onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, and carrots. Served with a side salad and tostones. Similar taste to Arroz con Pollo above, but replace the chicken with delicious seasoned vegetables.
Prices are reasonable, with lunch running between $8-10 per person, while dinner and weekends can run from $12-18 depending on what you order.
Note: If you know of some hidden gems, please tell us and we will definitely check them out for a future article.
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