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Old Havana Sandwich Shop on E. Main Street, Durham...

RonboNC Feb 1, 2011 05:11 AM

Stopped in for lunch at this new restaurant in Durham and was pretty impressed! I get cravings for Cuban sandwiches every now and then, mostly rely on Oakwood Cafe in Raleigh for the fix. Old Havana has a very small menu, just sandwiches and sides but it does a very good job.

Had the standard Cuban and a roast pork sandwich along with maduros and a cafe con leche cubano. Bread was toasted just right and fillings were good. Will need to come back for a final verdict but if you do like Cuban sandwiches, might want to check it out...

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Oakwood Cafe
300 E Edenton St, Raleigh, NC 27601

 
 
 
  1. b
    bbqme Mar 8, 2011 04:57 PM

    The Santiago sandwich, the one on the left in the middle picture, is the bomb!

    9 Replies
    1. re: bbqme
      RonboNC Mar 9, 2011 06:09 AM

      Hah, you can recognize the sandwich from the picture? Nice!

      And Mandy, yeah I need to go back and try em out again. But not sure how I'm going to be able to walk past Dame's without stopping in there...

      1. re: RonboNC
        panthur Mar 9, 2011 10:15 AM

        Yes Dame's is very hard to resist!

        1. re: panthur
          b
          bbqme Mar 9, 2011 06:46 PM

          I'm confused. Dame's in on 9th Street and Old Havana is on E. Main St. about 4 miles away. If anything, a burger from King's Sandwich Shop is much closer to Old Havana, about a mile. If you haven't tried a burger from King's you should give them a try.

          1. re: bbqme
            RonboNC Mar 10, 2011 05:27 AM

            Uhm, Dain's is on 9th street (great tots) but Dame's Chicken and Waffles is right on Main St next to Toast and Beyu. If you haven't tried Dame's yet, check it out...

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            Dame's Chicken and Waffles
            317 W Main St, Durham, NC 27701

            1. re: RonboNC
              b
              bbqme Mar 10, 2011 06:59 PM

              DOH! brain fart...sorry! Dame's is indeed good. Best collard greens in town too.

            2. re: bbqme
              panthur Mar 10, 2011 05:34 AM

              Is King's walking distance from the American Tobacco campus?

              1. re: panthur
                b
                burgeoningfoodie Mar 10, 2011 10:12 AM

                Not really. King's is by the old Durham Bull's ball park. I mean it depends on how far you are willing to go.

                1. re: burgeoningfoodie
                  b
                  bbqme Mar 10, 2011 07:06 PM

                  My office is downtown so I walk to these places for lunch all the time. Trust me, it's no more than 10-12 minutes b/w Old Havana and King's.

                2. re: panthur
                  b
                  bbqme Mar 10, 2011 07:01 PM

                  Yes, no more than 10 minutes.

        2. panthur Feb 27, 2011 02:58 PM

          I stopped here too on Friday and got the special - a plate of chopped pork, black beans, rice, and a half order of maduros. It wasn't super cheap at about $9 but was amazing and enough for about two meals for me. I loved it as I am not big on cuban sandwiches, so it is good that there is another option. I lived in south florida for 5 years and this was just as good as most I found down there.

           
           
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            burgeoningfoodie Feb 1, 2011 10:33 AM

            A friend of mine went there this afternoon as well. She works at a law office not far from there and said it was very tasty. Also had the regular cubano.

            11 Replies
            1. re: burgeoningfoodie
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              ToothTooth Feb 1, 2011 01:15 PM

              I went this past weekend and had the regular sammich. The "old Havana". The meats were great, especially the roast pork which you could tell was a high quality product cooked with care. Bread was great too. Overall, though, I thought the sandwich was very dry. I was a bit disappointed because I want to love this place like I do Toast.

              1. re: ToothTooth
                RonboNC Feb 1, 2011 05:13 PM

                I sort of agree with you about the dryness, ToothTooth! Which is why I want to go back and double-check. I'm not sure if the roast pork is typically sliced, for some reason I remember it being shredded in the other sandwiches I've tried. Or maybe they need more olive oil or butter? Not sure yet...

                1. re: RonboNC
                  TSQ75 Feb 10, 2011 08:45 AM

                  Cuban Sandwiches arent generally very wet. the interior wetness is generally from the mustard, pickle juice, and overall wetness from the roast pork. the swiss cheese should seal it all together

                  there's no authentic way for the roast pork to be cut. it all depens on how its cooked. if its well done its falling off itself and a typical cuban sandwich maker with simply tear it off in big chunks and pile it on and hope it stays when it gets pressed. some places will slice it in an effort to be neater. that's all.

                  as a cuban who has grown up eating may Cuban Sandwiches/Sanwiches Cubanos (we never call them "Cubanos") this is the best i've had since living in Miami. the family is genuine and their hearts are in it.

                  the maduros were spectacular. someone mentioned they were baked and i'm still trying to figure out how they did that.

                  i suggested offering a side of Mojo because honestly, you cant get enough :)

                  1. re: TSQ75
                    RonboNC Feb 11, 2011 07:03 AM

                    Thanks TSQ, appreciate the opinion from an expert! Yes, I totally agree on the family and the authenticity of the place. Maybe all I've had are gringo Cuban sandwiches up until now.

                    But I admit that I liked the Cuban sandwiches from Oakwood Cafe in Raleigh better than Old Havana. Not necessarily more authentic (different type of bread), but tasty stuff. And Oakwood Cafe's maduro's are awesome too, not sure if you've eaten there.

                    I'll go back for another visit and get a better idea about Old Havana, appreciate the comments...

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                    Oakwood Cafe
                    300 E Edenton St, Raleigh, NC 27601

                    1. re: RonboNC
                      TSQ75 Feb 11, 2011 08:26 AM

                      oddly enough, the bread is generally the dealbreaker for me. I've been having Cuban sandwiches in gringo establishments for years, and always have to say its great except for the bread...lol

                      1. re: TSQ75
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                        bbqme Feb 12, 2011 06:52 PM

                        My roommate at college was a Cuban dude from Hialeah. I would go stay at his house on occasion and we ate many a Cuban sandwich, croquetas, media noches, etc., at Latin American Cafeteria. I hope Old Havana comes close to the sandwiches at Latin American.

                        1. re: bbqme
                          TSQ75 Feb 14, 2011 05:27 AM

                          Latin American Had awesome cuban sandwiches....and great breakfast

                          *also spent formative teen years living in Hialeah*

                          1. re: TSQ75
                            b
                            bbqme Feb 14, 2011 08:37 AM

                            I was shocked to read on the net that the LA cafeterias had closed. I can't understand why since it was always packed no matter the time of day.

                            1. re: bbqme
                              TSQ75 Feb 16, 2011 06:58 AM

                              I will also admit, the Frijoles Negros at Old Havana do not hold up at all. I wanted to let them know but it was way too busy. I'm a stickler for beans because truthfully, they need help, and it irks me when people dont offer beans the flavor help that they need.

                              come on guys, a bit of sofrito, adobo, vinegar...you'd be amazed at how many people are shocked to have delicious beans after a lifetime of marginal bland beans. I've converted passive or non-responsive bean eaters happily for years with Cuban frijoles...lol

                              1. re: TSQ75
                                RonboNC Feb 17, 2011 06:08 AM

                                Sounds like you could consult for them, TSQ75! On a sidenote, I was told by a well-informed friend that Old Havana does not have a full kitchen in their space. I wonder if that will limit them in their prep and the breadth of the menu...

                                But yes, need to go back for another visit once the buzz dies down!

                                1. re: TSQ75
                                  t
                                  Tom from Raleigh Feb 17, 2011 06:36 AM

                                  A bit of softrito, adobo and vinegar would make gravel taste good.

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