Written by and photos by Nadia Ibanez
Cuban food is one of those cuisines that I have yet to tackle. There was never a huge Cuban population where I grew up, so finding out about a new Cuban restaurant in Oakland piqued my interest. I had the absolute pleasure of trying Casa Cubana in Downtown Oakland as their guest just a few months after they opened their doors. And this place is quickly becoming a staple in the neighborhood for bright and fresh cocktails, Cuban-inspired dishes, and delicious desserts.
Walking inside Casa Cubana, you’ll be greeted by a massive bar, bright walls and colorful artwork by local artists. Start your night off with a Mojito and order some apps for the table. The Cuban Guacamole is served up with some plantain chips, or go with the Habana Cocktail, a mix of tiger prawns, cucumber, mango, avocado and tomato.
Main courses offer a little something for everyone. The Lechon Asado was a savory slab of pork shoulder, served with black rice and an orange, onion, fennel and garlic gastrique. So good. Seafood and chicken dishes are also plentiful so bring a friend for sharing.
The standout for me was definitely the dessert. Our bartender and our server seriously would not stop talking about the Guava Cheesecake. Apparently diners come in specifically for this cheesecake and will even call ahead to make sure the dish in available. These guys are not messing around. Even if you’re not a guava fan, the creaminess of the cake pairs perfectly with the buttery crust and tart and sweet guava glaze. If you’re in downtown Oakland and need a sugary pick me up, you HAVE to try this dessert.
The service at Casa Cubana is warm and welcoming, the drinks are stellar and the vast menu will suit new Cuban diners and beyond. For more information, visit www.casacubanaoakland.com.