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Havana South

I got wind of this place late last year when they were newly opened via my site’s contact form. I promised myself I was gonna go the first chance I got but kept putting it off because it’s about 22 miles from where I live. But I will travel for food so I cleared my schedule and went. Now I’m kicking myself silly for not coming in sooner.

I came in during lunch time and the place was packed. Not a single table was available and I was just lucky enough to secure the last tiny one by the bar with a good view of the kitchen’s pass-through bar. I could see all the food coming out and was salivating at the beauty (and portion sizes) of each dish.  The chef is Cuban and worked in Florida for 12 years as a chef before coming to Havana South.  His food is comparable to the upscale places in Buckhead and Midtown:  innovative, yet authentic.

Havana South

Since no visit to a Cuban restaurant is complete without the requisite order of Cuban sandwich, I went for the Media Noche. It’s a Cuban sandwich except they use a sweeter type of bread, similar to what Lotta Frutta uses.  This is by far, the best Cuban sandwich in Georgia. The bread has that toasty crunch on the outside yet a soft chewy inside. It is filled with thick slices of ham and the tastiest roast pork. The pickles were not meant to overpower, instead, it gave a distinctive crunch to every bite and a slight acidity that was very appetizing.

Havana South

The Lechon Asado platter is also the best I’ve had outside of Florida. The slices of pork were tender, juicy, and has that cooked-for-hours taste. It comes with white rice and black beans. I’m not really into black beans because most that I’ve tasted are nothing but dumbed-down boiled versions.  But here, they are fantastic.  The beans are stir-fried before being simmered in liquid, thus, producing more depth in flavor.

Havana South

The Arroz con Pollo (yellow rice with chicken) comes with flavorful rice and two big pieces of tender chicken stewed in Cuban spices.  This is another huge platter and good enough for two.

Havana South

The Chicharron de Pollo (fried chicken chunks) is notches better than its Latin American counterparts.  The chicken chunks are well marinated before being fried crispy. These are not your usual dry, teeth-shattering, hard-to-chew variety.

Havana South

A must-try at Cuban restaurants is the Cuban coffee.  The Cortadito Cafe con Leche here is brewed individually and freshly made to order.  It is strong and sweet and just so good.  Beware, this is addicting.

I can’t reiterate enough how good and authentic the food is here.  What more can you ask for — quality, portion, and taste are all top-notch.  My take?  RUN, don’t walk and head on up north for some mind-blowing Cuban goodness.

Insider tip:

Located where Satellite Blvd dead-ends on Buford Dr.
Lunch specials daily.
Open everyday from 11am.

The scoop:

Havana South Cuban Restaurant & Bar
4060 Buford Dr
Buford, GA 30518
(678) 546-2252

Havana South Cuban Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

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5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Bren // May 11, 2009 at 9:04 am

    well the arroz amarillo looks as authentic as it goes! and im sippin’ on a cortadito right now! i have to have atleast 5 every morning! so bad, i know! thanks for sharing this… i’m almost curious! (read Twitter message!)

  • 2 Gene // May 11, 2009 at 9:57 am

    Salivating so hard… I would move mountains for Cuban Chicharrones de Pollo…

  • 3 Chloe // May 11, 2009 at 10:06 am

    @Bren — that coffee is addicting!

    @Gene — food is soooo good. probably 35 miles from where you live :(

  • 4 Vince // May 11, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    wow, yet another great find in my neck of the woods! :)

  • 5 Havana South, Buford GA « Food Near Snellville // Jul 27, 2009 at 8:36 am

    [...] Down Atlanta has an excellent review of Havana South. You might think she’s praising Havana South too much, but in my judgment, [...]

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