Habana Restaurant & Bakery
Orange County, California
eekends are always discovery days for Omid and I. I usually spend the week finding new coffee shops or quirky restaurants and when the weekend rolls around we spontaneously choose one to try. Half the fun is getting to shake up the routine and go somewhere new, but the best part is that it’s something we do together and are both enthusiastic about. I never have to drag Omid out of bed and convince him to try a new place with me. If anything he’s dragging me out of bed because I just want to snuggle for 5 hours before we leave…. but if I’ve got to give up some cuddle time, our weekend adventures are worth it.
Last weekend I actually stumbled across a photo on Instagram of this Cuban bakery and it looked absolutely delicious. Right off the bat I thought, this is probably in New York or middle of LA somewhere, but I went on Google to look it up and add a little “Want to Go” tag to it on my map (I have little hearts and green flags all over my google maps from tagging so many places). But to my surprise Habana had two locations right here In Orange County! At this point I didn’t even know there was the Restaurant Habana, I just knew there was an adorable Cuban bakery at the Irvine Spectrum and I was preparing my taste buds for the divinity of their baked goods and espresso.
We ended up coming from around the back and found ourselves walking past what felt like a street and restaurant that was plucked up from a city in Cuban and transplanted in the middle of the concrete city of Irvine. Without hesitation we decided to see if we would be able to get in during their peek Sunday Brunch, but the attendant informed us that the wait was over an hour. Omid, always loving to push boundaries decided to see if we could find a place at the bar, which of course was packed, but in his relentlessness, we discovered a second bar on the back patio that was almost empty and quickly snagged two seats.
As we walked through first the bakery and then the rest of the restaurant it honestly felt like I was in the scene of an old movie located in Cuba. With rustic furniture, antique televisions playing old black-and-white movies in the corners. Then there’s the buffet, which looks and feels exactly like a huge family potluck: different colored plates, a hundred different types of foods, random books and lights scattered throughout the dishes. You all know Im a sucker for good presentation and this place should have had a sign outside that said “Leigh Ann Enter Here” with a huge arrow because it is everything I could have ever wanted from a décor/presentation standpoint. But what really solidified the obsession for me was that the food tasted as incredible as it look; Picture perfect presentation, with that real, home-made taste. Sorry, I could go on for days trying to describe every detail of Habana….
The bartender quickly took our drink orders: two mimosas, two coconut lattes (I’ll never say no to the chance to have a mimosa and coffee is just always obligatory). He explained that from 10:00AM-3:00PM on Sundays was their Brunch buffet; we could fill our plates with anything we liked and go back as often as we wanted and our stomachs would physically allow. At this point, the best way to depict this buffet is through the photos because their presentation was unlike anything I had ever seen in any restaurant. So, enjoy the photos, find their location and all other logistical information to the right and book your reservation ASAP!
And look for me in the back-bar cause that’s where I’ll be every weekend until I can get control of this new obsession.