A new restaurant in Oak Cliff is doing Cuban food with cocktails and a companion gift shop and cigar store. Called Little Havana, it opened in December in a former Mexican restaurant space at 607 N. Willomet Ave.
The location was a large two-story rental house until 2013, when it transitioned into commercial use with the opening of Victoria's Mexican Grill. That lasted two years, then it was replaced by another Mexican restaurant called Antojitos Tacontento, which was open barely a year.
Little Havana features a menu of Cuban food including dishes such as beans and rice, both red beans and black; and ropa vieja, aka beef stew. In addition to its regular menu, there are daily specials, sort of like a Cuban blue plate deal, with offerings such as roasted whole fish and garbanzo bean soup. A full bar serves Cuban cocktails — think piña coladas and mojitos, including a spicier version called the Creole mojito.
The space has been given a dramatic makeover, with photos of celebrities on the walls, old and new, very Hollywood glam. The entryway is inviting, with benches out front where you can possibly sip a drink if there's a wait. There's an eye-catching metal sculpture of a rooster out front, and cute cut-outs where you poke your head through and get your photo taken.
Oak Cliff has a Cuban spot, C. Senor, but it's a smaller place with benches out front. Other Cuban restaurants in the area include Caribbean Cafe in Carrollton and Havana Cafe in Casa Linda. We got Cuban.
Little Havana's owner comes from Las Vegas, where he did a similar concept; he's the guy at the door in the white ensemble. Servers wear natty guayabera shirts. The Oak Cliff restaurant boasts that essential ingredient, the patio, and will be observing late-night hours; there's also a nice selection of cigars at the gift shop upstairs.