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“Interesting menu but poor service and trashy looking areas” 2 of 5 bubbles
Review of Habana

Habana
Ranked #1,667 of 3,668 Restaurants in Austin
Price range: US$1 - US$20
Cuisines: Latin, Cuban, Caribbean, Spanish
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Takeout, Waitstaff
Neighbourhood: Downtown
Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
163 reviews
99 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
“Interesting menu but poor service and trashy looking areas”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 May 2013

We had been to Habana many years ago and were not really impressed but we decided to give it another chance on Friday. Habana is located adjacent to the Great Outdoors Nursery which is a rather quaint, beautiful, peaceful place itself. We parked in the front of the parking lot and my wife wanted to walk around the nursery so I went ahead and seated myself at one of the outside cabanas directly in front of the restaurant. Several folks were leaving the inside area and I waited for a server. No luck. Ten minutes later, still no server showed up. I got up and headed to the main entrance and a friendly young lady came out of the "employees only" door and asked if I wanted to order. Hmmm, duh, yeah.

I asked about their mojitos and she tried to explain something about a new rum they were using and "would I like to try that?" I inquired about the price difference between the regular mojito and this new rum. "Oh, I think it's about 5 cents." she replied. Sure, I will try that. So I went in, checked out the inside. It was empty of customers and I saw not a single soul. No tender at the bar, no wait staff, no one. I went back out and seated myself in the same spot and waited. And waited, and waited. Finally, the server returned with my drink and asked if I would like to see a menu.

I told her yes and that my wife would want a mojito when she came back from Great Outdoors. She acknowledged that and left. She did return with a menu within a few minutes. When my wife returned, she looked at the inside as well and asked about the drinks. Little did I know that happy hour was just 10 minutes away and that I had ordered my drink too soon. Shortly thereafter the server came back and asked to cash out because she was leaving and did not want to turn over the tab to the oncoming server. I paid her ($8.50 for a unremarkable mojito is simply too much) and reluctantly gave her a tip. Supposedly, the other drink would arrive promptly at 4 PM, when happy hour kicked in. It did not arrive. Again we waited and agreed if it did not come within another 5 minutes we would leave.

We also noticed how trashy the cabana area was. Building material on the ground, some litter strewn about and just generally unsightly. We moved down to the outside patio area which at least was clean but somewhat run down as well. The new server came out and we ordered two more mojitos at the reduced price of $5.50. Then as I was looking at the bar menu, I noticed that the standard mojito at happy hour was $4. So, not only did I get misinformation on the price difference, I got no mention of an approaching happy hour. Whatever "Pirate Rum" is, it isn't worth $5.50.

As I mentioned, the food looked interesting (except for all the plantain related items) but we had already had lunch and just wanted to relax with some cocktails. We picked the wrong place. We agreed that we will not return to Habana. Way too many good service places with good food and decent prices to come back here.

  • Visited May 2013
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank lonestarlizard
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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37 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    13
    13
    3
    4
    4
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
16 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Austin cuba great”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 May 2013 via mobile

Cuban food. Very good simple food spiced well outside seating. Empanada and pulled pork were good vegitables were excellent.

  • Visited May 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank DeepBubbles69
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fort Collins, Colorado
Level Contributor
106 reviews
69 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
“Food blew me away, like a tropical breeze”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 March 2013

I see there are some mixed reviews for this restaurant, but I had nothing but a great time. The food was absolutely fantastic - the slow-cooked pork was the winner, but the tostones (appetizer) were also delicious. Makes me wish I lived in Austin so that I could go back here more often!

OK, my mojito wasn't as fabulous - I've had better.

I found the service to be excellent and seating wasn't an issue at all, but maybe I was there on a slow night. The atmosphere did make me feel a bit like I was in the Caribbean - certainly made me wistful for a beach vacation!

Did I mention the pork? It was really really good. :-)

  • Visited March 2013
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank EllzeyB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Antonio, Texas
Level Contributor
14 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Habana Good Food Bad Service”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 February 2013

Was there today. Place was nearly empty inside and a few people on the patio. Our party of 2 sat inside. Hostess did not seat us. Too busy watching TV she pointed to some seats and we sat down. Had to ask for menus and was told our waitress was the bartender and we would need to wait a bit for her to take our order. She took our order, gave us the food and never came back. We had to go to the bar to ask for more water, ask for a to go box and ask for the bill. When she came with the bill we expressed our concern over the lack of service. Although apologetic the bartender explained that she was busy at the bar and probably should have asked for assistance in this matter. During the meal the hostess and other wait staff came by our table, did not make eye contact and totally ignored us. In this case, I blame the manager. Not once did he ask how we were or check on our table. He could see our concerns that we were expressing to our waitress/bartender and he did not even step in to offer any assistance to diffuse the situation. Go there if you like to be ignored and need to ask for everything.

  • Visited February 2013
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Jill R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
572 reviews
415 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 116 helpful votes
“Habana, y'all”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 December 2012

I've been here a few times. Not bad overall, but a few things that keep this from being authentic Cuban food. First of all, it is in Austin, and 90% of the population expects tacos or enchiladas to be included in any hispanic cuisine. Second of all, you can't find Cuban bread in Austin- which is essential to the Cuban sandwich. Not a bad approximation- but I would say Austin is missing out on the essence of Cuban food: Fresh, comfort food to the max. Perfect late night fare, and not a jalapeno to be found.

Also, Cuban coffee disappointing. Beans and rice lack authenticity, plates can be somewhat dry.

  • Visited October 2012
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank JrMushroom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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