There are fewer things in life which will drive my curiosity enough to drive 35 minutes for a note-worthy experiential moment. A highly rated newly released blockbuster, a must-watch stage play, a street art carnival and cubanos. I would literally cross borders to another country for cubanos.
After watching Chef for a ‘meagre’ 7 times ( don’t judge me), I knew it was only a matter of time before I sank my teeth into a well-crusted toasted baguette filled with generous mounds of mojo pork slices, pickles and cheese. That matter of time came during one summer holiday in Manhattan. My husband brought home a cubanos sandwich from Guantanamera restaurant and for five minutes we were floating on cloud nine. Unforgettable!
So back to how we drove 35 minutes to Ako Adjei to experience cubanos at Little Havana Afro-Latino Cuban Cantina. After clean eating for a week, we decide to have our cheat day start day on Saturday evening to last till Sunday. I was seriously pumped!
Little Havana huddles between two typical Ako-Adjei estate houses with it’s unmissable lime-green coloured colonial-style wooden shutters and street-art leaf painted walls. It’s almost impossible to miss it. The restaurant with it’s open doors calls out to prospective diners passing by on the streets to walk into it’s warm embrace. “Hola 👋🏻👋🏼👋🏼!”
It was a quiet Saturday evening and being the only diners in the place, I was afforded the private chance of drinking in the cuban-inspired decor. Painted portraits of aged Havana women possibly inspired by ‘Smoking Graciela’ also smoking unlit cuban cigars whilst staring defiantly at the artist, vintage cars stuck in motion with a smattering of wildlife paintings hang on a partitioning wall. We immediately got the attention of a waiter who led us to a table for two.
The drinks menu was as expected; an array of aged rum-influences and choosing a mojito was such a classic move on both our parts. The mojito was perhaps the best tasting mojito I have ever had in Accra. A perfect balance between the mint leaves, white rum, sugar, lime juice and soda water down to the crushed ice. Not too sugary and not too minty.
A side of divinely crunchy sweet potatoes was a lucky strike with the mojito.
The food menu came not too long after although we both knew without a glance at it, what our menu choice was. Cubanos please. Thank you. Very. Much.
Salsa music flowed from invisible speakers in the dining area whilst the bartender mixed drinks at the bar.
Whilst waiting for your meal, grab a fedora hat and take your best selfie or stroll through the photo gallery in the restaurant area for a glimpse of Fidel Castro in his regime moments.
The cubano’s finally arrived! I was a bit deflated by the thinness of the sandwich.
My first bite was an expected crunch which was right on time. First bite down and we both shook our head. It wasn’t the same as the cubano’s we had at Guantanamera Restaurant in Manhattan. Were we asking for too much? No I don’t think so. Anyone who boasts of being the only Cuban restaurant in West Africa should live up to the hype. The cubanos was too cheesy and the overly generous pickles overwhelmed the overall taste. The key player; the roast pork was hardly noticed from start to finish. It was actually surprising to learn there was also ham. It was an okay sandwich to have when hungry but if you are looking for the authentic cubanos taste, this didn’t quite cut it. And at GHC40 come on, give us some roast pork here!
Our waiter asked for our feedback and we gave it as succinctly as possible. Ghanaians have a hard time dealing with negative feedback or any form of criticism. He tried explaining (foodsplaining) and had a frown but i think he managed it well. We just had to explain to him that ‘ it wasn’t bad oh! It’s just not an authentic cubanos from what we had eaten in cuban restaurants’. We promised to come back and he seemed a bit placated and later came to tell us the chef said next time it will be to our expectations. Yay!
Overall, Little Havana Ghana gives a sultry afro-latino vibe from their fun Friday salsa nights to the warm lighting, excellent mojito’s and okay cubanos , it’s worth a visit or becoming a regular.
Find LittleHavanaGhana here.
THE KUMODZI RESTAURANT RATING : ⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Kumodzi Restaurant Rating Guide:
* ⭐️ is a restaurant which is spotless, very affordable, basic amenities in place, food is just okay, service is average.
*⭐️⭐️ – Above average hygiene conditions, polite and reliable service, staff are responsive, basic amenities, food is exciting and tasty with wider variety, affordable, mobile money payment options, family and group friendly.
*⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Worth driving to and trying everything on the menu. Reliable and responsive service from staff, family and group friendly environment, online payment options available, parking services, easy access to location.
*⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- Exceptional and well presented food, outstanding and flawless service from staff, executive space for VIP services, seamless online payment options.
*⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Flawless and outstanding food and service offerings. Diner focused and awareness of allergies and wine preferences. Menu offers vegan, gluten-free and vegetarian offerings.