In 1940, champagne bubbles flowed, big bands jammed and top chefs dazzled as guests in Havana, Cuba, first danced the rhumba at the now-historic Tropicana Club. Today, that nostalgic old-world essence, combined with a new Miami vibe, awaits enthusiasts at the Kuba CabanaSocial Club in upscale CityPlace Doral.
No, it’s not a typo! Kuba Cabana exudes the flair of 1950’s Cuba, but with a kick – authentically creative cocktails and gastronomy inspired by Cuban faire, as well as flavorful hints of South America, Spain and Mexico.
“Kuba Cabana incorporates the experience of dynamic, Latin-inspired cuisine, decor reminiscent of Old Havana – including art by local artists, red velvet drapes trimmed in gold tassels, plush tufted seating at candle-lit tables, neon signs, tropical foliage and glimmering chandeliers, all coupled with an unforgettable experience,” said Kuba Cabana co-manager Carlos Guerrero, who was born and raised in Havana and can attest to the authenticity guests will enjoy as they step into an evening journey to the Caribbean, no passport necessary.
Guests feel as if they are emerged in Havana, Cuba, as they enter the 8,900-square-foot restaurant, boasting interior design by renowned Mexican design firm Concepto Visual Estudio, and the overall concept by the executive team, who traveled to Cuba for inspiration for the design.
The inside bar, located within the Kuba Social Club (above), depicts the dayscape and nightscape of Old Cuba; the outside bar, located within the Cabana Garden, features a shiny, vintage red Pontiac Star Chief Convertible, to allow guests to travel back in time when sipping a cocktail, or enjoying dinner in the garden. The Kuba Social Club boasts a stage for live music, including entertainers and DJs, as well as a dedicated cigar room. The private Chef’s Table dining space, which is accessed through the kitchen, seats up to 12 guests and hosts those looking to take their dining experience to the next level.
Old World Cuba Meets Modern Miami
Guests can choose to dine in the Cabana Garden, the outdoor terrace located directly in front of the iconic fountain at CityPlace Doral, or the more formal option, the Kuba Cabana Social Club, which boasts a glitter-ball stage and grand piano for special performances. The restaurant exudes a sultry soundtrack of rumba, salsa, flamenco and tunes from the rich Latin musical cultures.
“At Kuba Cabana, guests can enjoy a truly authentic Cuban Mojito,” Co-Manager Carlos Guerrero told Eloquence. Most American mojitos use mint and processed simple syrup, but our real Cuban Mojitos are made with Yerba Buena (a variety of specialty herbs including spearmint) and hand crushed sugar cane. They are incredibly refreshing!”
The culinary program brings the venue to an elevated level, led by Corporate Chef Jorge Mas and Executive Chef Pedro Sarracino, who both have extensive experience in the international culinary world and Miami dining scene.
Eloquence recently enjoyed dining at Kuba Cabana and chatting with Chefs Mas and Sarracino about their cleverly procured Latin menu. Consider these delicious menu recommendations:
Start with these Raw Bar selections:
TUNA TARTARE – Papaya, fermented adobo, burnt avocado, blue corn chips and COBIA TIRADITO – Passion fruit, leche de tigre, charred scallions, crispy quinoa and cilantro. “Oh, it’s so fresh and so good!”
“I love to cook with fresh fruits because papaya, passion fruit and guava were all a sweet part of my childhood, my history in Villa Clara, Cuba,” said Chef Mas, who procures tropical fruits, rare peppers and other produce from small Hispanic farms in Homestead and Kendall. “I discovered the delicious taste of burnt papaya as I was grilling and realized the smokiness and texture is enhanced and to-die-for. The same for charred avocado! At Kuba Cabana, we’re not just a Cuban restaurant, we also have roots in Venezuela, Peru, Spain and Mexico. We like to give our guests a Hispanic culinary world tour. We put a huge amount of love into every dish!”
Next, let’s move on to Appetizers. May we suggest:
Don’t miss the CROQUETAS – Creamy rich ham filling with a crunchy coating and a side of garlic aioli for dipping. Then sample the EMPANADAS – Beef with herb dipping mayo or chicken with yellow pepper aioli. And you must try the YUCA-LOTE – Fried Yuca “Mexican elote style”, mojo crema, cotija cheese and chili lime.
And for the Salad Course…
For the salad course, may we suggest the NOT YOUR CAESAR – A round of charred iceberg lettuce, smoked salmon roe dressing, deep fried rye crumbs and chives. It’s a stunningly unique presentation quite unlike you’ve ever seen or tasted!
Another delicious salad choice is the PAPAYA & BURRATA – Heirloom tomatoes, burnt papaya, pesto, with balsamic glaze. Mmmmmm…need we say more?
The Main Course
For the savory entre, one of our very favorites is the POLLO BARBACOA – Guava smoked half chicken, spiced guava jus, and charred herbs. The tender, juicy poultry tastes like it slow-roasted in abuela’s kitchen all day long! For your side accompaniment, ask for Maduros – soft fried sweet plantains that will melt in your mouth.
Something Sweet To Finish
No Latin meal is quite complete without something sweet. For a little taste of Cuban heaven, try TIMBA – A deconstructed Pastelito, this guava cheesecake is topped with crispy pastelito pieces sprinkled with powdered sugar, drizzled with spiced guava sauce and guava gel, or CHOCOLAND – Nutella mousse, chocolate cookies, dark chocolate and guajillo dust.
For a night cap, enjoy a Carajillo Cocktail – This Mexican style Carajillo is made with espresso and Liquor 43, a sweet vanilla-citrus flavored liquor, shaken and poured over ice in a short glass, garnished with whole coffee beans.Seriously sensational!
“When you visit Kuba Cabana, we serve you dishes with flavors we grew up eating,” said Executive Chef Pedro Sarracino, who created the menu alongside Chef Mas, his friend since childhood in Cuba. “We bring you a fine dining experience – refined with flavors close to our home and heart.”
Current dinner hours Monday-Friday from 4 p.m.–close, Saturday 3 p.m. to close and Sunday for brunch, 1-4 p.m. and dinner from 4 p.m. to close. Happy Hour is offered Monday–Friday 4–6 p.m.
Kuba Cabana is located at 8300 NW 36th Street, Doral, FL 33166. For more information, visit www.kubamiami.com, www.instagram.com/kubacabanamiami, www.facebook.com/kubacabana.doral, or call 305.800.5822.