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“Best Cuban in LA area!”
Review of Havana Mania

Havana Mania
Ranked #43 of 300 Restaurants in Redondo Beach
Cuisines: Cuban, Seafood
Restaurant details
Reviewed October 6, 2011

Want the best Lechon Cubano? - this is your place!
Also, all 20 kinds of mojito are worth trying...
Fast service, great prices, very casual atmosphere.
Luis and Alice are fantastic hosts and the music on the weekends rocks!

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Thank Dman_DW
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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57 - 61 of 71 reviews

Reviewed September 19, 2011

I had lived in Redondo Beach 18 years ago and loved a Cuban restaurant that is no longer there. A friend told me about Havana Mania so we went the first night I was back in town.

They have a good menu with a lot of Cuban favorites. I had the fried pork the first night and it was excellent! The service was very good and the food came quickly and the quantity was good. If you like mojitos their menu showed about 20 varieties.

I was so impressed that my last night in town we went back and I tried the ropa vieja, shredded beef and it too was a winner. Again, the service was very good and again the owner stopped by our table to be sure everything was good.

It's a bit difficult to find the place as it's behind a filling station in the corner of a strip mall but it's worth the search. I highly recommend it.

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1  Thank mdfloyd322
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 1, 2011

Each of us should have a feel-food restaurant-- the place you automatically default to after you've been stuck on the 405 for 2 hours, your customers have been demanding and the washing machine has gone on the fritz. Someplace where you can cozy into a booth, roll down your invisible shield, forget the outside world, enjoy the food, a drink, your dining companions. Havana Mania is exactly that kind of place, especially if you go on a Friday or Saturday night when there's live entertainment. Maybe it's my Cuban blood, but I'm utterly incapable of visiting this place without dancing in my seat to the beat of the music. Apparently, a lot of the patrons feel much the same way, but they have absolutely no compunction about taking it a step farther: they're dancing in the aisles. That there's absolutely no room to do so in this bustling eatery doesn't seem to bother anyone-- not the dancers, the staff or the other patrons. Then just step around and go about their business as if it's the most normal thing in the world.

Maybe it should be.

Servers here are friendly and helpful. After a couple of visits, we were greeted like friends with a jovial clap on the shoulder by the waiter who remembered that we started with Malbec and croquetas. Servers who aren't genial are few and far between at this place. Most of them remind me of my cousins, aunts and uncles.

For those used to the abundance of food served at Versailles, be forewarned that the portions aren't aren't as generous. But c'mon, people, look around you. America is packing away far too much food. What you're served at Havana Mania is certainly an ample portion, moreover it's tasty. If I have one complaint it's simply that I'd enjoy a bit more of the black beans. Happily, there's more in the kitchen.

Unlike Versailles, things don't arrive at the table drenched in mojo. This means that chicken will taste like chicken, pork will taste like pork, shrimp will taste like shrimp and so forth. Yes, we love our garlic and it's part of Cuban cuisine-- but instead of being in your face it will be a soft caress on your palate. And it's very tasty. One of the first things which scored with me at Havana Mania were the croquetas. While I'm convinced the ones at Versailles are Goya frozen (which are tasty) what's served at Havana Mania tastes more freshly made. They also add an irresistible sauce of some sort (cilantro dressing, perhaps?) which significantly bolsters the yum factor. Like yuca frita? I do now. I didn't until I had it at Havana Mania.

The first dish I tried was the Lechon Cubano because I'd read numerous kudos for the moist, flavorful bits of pork in onion and garlic. Very tasty, and very different from the way I make it at home. The next time, I was in the mood for arroz con pollo and was delighted to note their use of red bell pepper instead of canned pimiento and the absence of the ubiquitous canned peas. the menu states the arroz con pollo is cooked with beer. I had no idea until I read that right now. Pollo al carbe was surprisingly spicy and tasty (yes, we know serranos are hot. I'm just not used to them at a Cuban restaurant) and the bistec con cebollas was everything a Cuban steak should be. The night that I had the bistec, I decided to seek out the waiter's advice for favorites. So far, I've had two of the three recommendations and will catch the third at a later time. For meat lovers, he recommended their finely ground and flavorful picadillo, comfort on a plate Cuban style. Since my family makes it with raisins, green olives and chiles, this was a change of pace for me, but a tasty enough one that I've ordered it a couple of times. Camarones al ajillo actually made the waiter's eyes roll back in his head to mention, and for those of us who love shrimp and love garlic, it's a perfect marriage. The third recommendation was rabo encendido, oxtails. I love oxtails, so that's next on the agenda.

I haven't mentioned the mojitos, have I? And they're definitely worth mention. In addiction to the tasty-but-deadly basic mojito, the menu lists 18 variations to keep mojito tasters happy for quite some time.

Still hungry? There's a pleasant tres leches cake or a lovely flan to end your evening on a sweet note. Stay a while. Enjoy the music and a tropical drink. Get up and dance. I can assure you you won't be out there dancing alone.

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1  Thank Gail G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 13, 2010

Food is on the good side, especially the lechon. Ambiance is lively... maybe a bit on the loud side. Live music when I was there (weekend thing?)

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Thank David L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 7, 2010

Don't be put off by the location, this is a great place for Cuban food. We stopped in for a mojito and something light after a golf outing. The slow cooked pork was melt in your mouth good and the black beans and rice were very good as well. Beware the second mojito if you're driving they can sneak up on you.

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Thank RBLeaddog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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