Little Havana

Little Havana
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R140 avg main meal
Groups, Special occasions, Views
Amex, Mastercard, Visa
R60(one and local champagne)R150(imported champagne) max 4 bottles

Critic's review

Nicola Jenvey

Set above the buzzing Granada Square in Umhlanga, Little Havana offers patrons an elegant indoor-outdoor dining experience. The emphasis is on world-class food matched to top local wines.

The food offering includes everything from seafood to enticing vegetarian dishes, poultry and red meat, including venison.

Start with deconstructed prawn samoosas that speak to Durban’s cultural heritage; duck spring rolls with orange-balsamic dipping sauce; or smoked springbok carpaccio served with the Vietnamese nuoc cham dressing, rocket, red chilli and lime-coriander aioli.

More exploratory taste sensations are the wood-fired trio of snails or the oft-ignored but mouth-wateringly rich roasted marrow bones.

Fresh line fish can be served simply grilled with lemon butter, char-grilled or with coconut and lime, while the opulently flavoured seafood curry with ginger-and-cumin basmati rice is a worthy honour to another Durban favourite.

However, it is the perfectly executed steaks for which owner Martin Lombaard is renowned. The in-house butchery processes and ages the restaurant’s free-range hormone-free meats. Virtually all Little Havana’s beef is wet-aged with the exception of the dry-aged T-bone and fillet on the bone. Steaks are seasoned with Maldon salt, black pepper, thyme and mustard seeds, and served with a choice of shoestring fries, baked potato, mashed potato or basmati rice.

The selected free-range grass-fed beef embodies a field-to-fork traceability and the in-house block man prepares perfect cuts.
The results are succulent steaks barely requiring a knife that take centre stage on the plate and the experience.

Little Havana also has a specialities menu from which patrons can compare grain-fed versus free-range grass-fed rump steaks and enjoy bone-in fillet with mash, wilted spinach and sauce of red wine and pearl onion, risotto rump with mushroom-and-herb risotto or an entrecote béarnaise sirloin with herb salad and fries.

The premier wine list offers a balanced cross-section of South Africa’s award-winning industry. There is also a sound selection of wines by the glass, and a temperature controlled cellar with even more wines not represented on the list.

Professional, efficient and understated service.

Speaking to its Cuban connections, Little Havana’s décor and ambience are chic without being overbearing. The warm copper and glass décor and the inviting leather seating sub-dividing the large room ensures elegance for any occasion, from romantic dinners to business lunches.

Patrons are invited to enter the feature wine cellar and explore.

(September 2016)

Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.

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User reviews

  • Little Havana is by far the best steak eat out venue that I've been to in Durban and that's coming from someone who is a seafood lover. Little Havana has managed to change my mind.
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  • Had the most delicious 3 course luncheon with a good glass of wine for the princely sum of R140! Not sure how they get it right, but uts amazing. Good sized portions, delicious food, superb dessert, lively wine, all backed up by brilliant friendly service! Well done!
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  • With the rising cost of eating out these days, it is unfathomable how Little Havana, Umhlanga can offer a lunch special of a 2 course meal with a drink for only R120. Sister restaurant to one of my favourites, Havana Grill at Suncoast, Little Havanna is similarly elegant but relaxed, in crisp white and dark browns, with a deck overlooking Umhlanga Village. Our shared starter was beef strips in a garlic and chilli gravy. Tender strips of beef were cooked in a rich, hearty tomato gravy with a sofrito base. The brushcetta was perfect to lap up all that thick, luscious gravy. My main of slow roasted pork belly was meltingly tender, with an unctuous layer of fat and soft, moist yielding meat below. The crackling was puffed, super crisp and crunchy, making a loud "crack" each time I broke off a piece. The beans had a slight bite to it, just the way I like it and the caramelised onion and mustard cream rounded off the meal beautifully. My friend's meal, however, was a bit of a disappointment. The sole was dry and slightly overcooked. A garlic or lemon butter sauce on the side would have added some much needed moisture and flavour to the meal. We did bring this to the manager's attention and he welcomed the feedback. Dessert of the day was Panna Cotta but as neither of us are a fan, we opted to share a bowl of ice cream and chocolate sauce for dessert. Our waiter is one I will never forget. His name, after all, was Never. Friendly and efficient, he never disappointed, with impeccable service. Overall, a great dining experience.
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  • Accepts credit cards
  • Booking required
  • Cocktails
  • Functions
  • Licensed
  • Parking
  • Wheelchair
  • WiFi

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