If you have never tried the fruity perfection that is the guava, run to the Taste of Havana and order a guava and cream cheese sandwich, because there is no better way to introduce yourself. And if you’ve never had a Cuban sandwich, you should be immediately running to this small, fantastic Cuban restaurant.
Taste of Havana is owned by a father and daughter pair, who aspired to bring Indianapolis it’s finest Cuban sandwich, made with real, hand-cut meats and perfectly-pressed Cuban bread. The small store they opened, painted in vibrant yellows and reds and decorated with photos of themselves and their customers, is in the Broad Ripple neighborhood and is irresistible.
I wasn’t hungry when I got to Taste of Havana. I’d had a big breakfast, and didn’t think I would be able to stomach much of anything so soon afterward. But the guava and cream cheese sandwich caught my eye, and before I knew it, the press was coming down on a long piece of bread smeared with fruit and spread.
The owners are impossibly nice and helpful, and take their time making sure everything that comes from their kitchen is cooked and marinated to perfection. Options for sides to your sandwich include homemade black bean soup, Jarritas soda, pastries, glazed plantains and homemade flan. I tried the plantains and the flan, and loved them, though I don’t usually like either one.
The sandwiches are clearly the main event at Taste of Havana, though, and to go without ordering one would be a horrific mistake. The pan con lechon is loaded with pork marinated to perfection, with caramelized onions and mayonnaise. The sandwich de croqueta includes not only ham, but ham croquettes.
And, of course, the infamous Cuban Sandwich. Pork, ham, swiss cheese, pickle and mustard come together on a lightly toasted length of bread to form this creation. As a vegetarian, I didn’t have one. But I was told by friends that the sandwich goes down in their personal histories as one of the best.
What I recommend for this restaurant is that you come hungry, because you should try to order at least one of everything on the menu.