Every weekend, rain or shine, crowds of NoLiTa hipsters and fans from afar flock to the corner of Prince St and Elizabeth St for the chance to brunch at Cafe Habana. The restaurant’s interior and exterior make you feel as though you’re dining in an authentic Mexican/Cuban cafe and the restaurant attracts one of the best scenes in the area. Diners can often be nobread unfriendly due to the amount of fried food and cross contamination, but upon checking out the menu and speaking with the restaurant’s corporate team, I’m happy to announce that plenty of the menu is NOBREAD approved! …
So what makes this Cuban/Mexican diner stand out from all the other diners in New York City. Two words; grilled corn. The famous Cafe Habana grilled corn is dressed in mayonnaise, chili powder, cotija cheese, and lime, and skewered on a stick. It is absurdly delicious, and quite photogenic, too! And of course, it is gluten free. Cafe Habana is also popular for their award winning Cuban sandwich. Unfortunately there is NO gluten free bread at the restaurant, so this classic dish is nobread UNapproved. Good news, however! The tacos at Cafe Habana are served on a corn tortilla shell; my favorite tacos are the shrimp tacos and vegetable tacos. The veggie taco is packed with grilled cactus, queso fresco, sauteed red onion, and salsa verde, and all tacos are served with a hearty side of nobread approved rice and beans.
For years I have walked by these crowds, navigated through them to go from my apartment to my next destination, and now I see what all the fuss is about. For those who don’t want to wait, Cafe Habana also has a “to-go” outpost right next to the restaurant (on Elizabeth St) and you can have your corn or taco fix satisfied in under 5 minutes! Quick, cheap, and nobread friendly; Cafe Habana is a NoLiTa staple and absolute must-try!