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Jun 13, 2010 08:49 AM

Cafe Habana Malibu

While this restaurant has only been open about a week, and I want to be fair, there's really not a whole lot they can fix when the food is just plain bad.

We were there four hours, from sign in to leaving, mostly thanks to being ignored for 30 minutes at a time (after being served our first drink, after being served our meal...), and our food wasn't bused for a full 40 minutes, but this is really a food review sharing site, so....

Every one of us had a bad meal. Either food came undercooked, or overcooked, or was over-salted, or cold (cold rice and beans are not good, undercooked beans are the worst). It's meant to be a cuban restaurant, but the only thing on the menu resembling cuban is their chicken (and there's a pulled pork), and the chicken is what I would get if forced to go there again. I should mention their guacamole is outstanding (but so is Howdy's around the corner, and half the price). No one ordered the pulled pork sandwich, so someone will have to report back on that. Avoid anything with skirt steak on the menu (there are a couple incarnations of it).

Bartenders incredibly nice and are overworked (any menu that features mojitos as their one specialty drink means bartenders can't get to you for a while), but waiting 20 minutes from ordering to receiving a drink is 15 minutes too long. The waitress couldn't have been sweeter, but the hostess needs a serious attitude adjustment. Every interaction with her was a nightmare. I can't imagine a reason to go back, not even to just get a drink.

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  1. that's a bummer. the food at the NY locations has never been spectacular, but it's also not out-and-out bad (or at least it didn't used to be). the grilled corn and tostones were always worth getting. i think i read somewhere a while back that they were creating a more California-friendly menu for the Malibu location, which made absolutely no sense to me.

    FWIW, even the NY locations have never been considered straight Cuban, they're sort of a Cuban/Latin/Mexican mishmash....and the service sucks there as well.

    1. That seems consistent with all the yelp reviews I've seen as well. LA will have to wait for great Cuban food.

      1. Bummer, as I wanted to try this place, and I really love Cuban food. Thanks for the heads up, maybe Red O is sounding better,even tho it's much farther for us on the westside.

        PS - your link is incorrect, just fyi.

        1. Hey give them a chance. They have just opened. My wife and I had a great meal there. The grilled corn is outstanding and my wife can't wait to go back for the fish dish. The service was a little slow but they will work out the kinks. If you want to be rushed through a great dining experience don't go out in Malibu, this is a laid back community. If you want authentic Cuban food go to Miami or Cuba.

          1. fyi, the place listed in ur addy is not the same as the cafe habana in malibu.