The trend of new restaurants inhabiting old locations has hit the very southern end of Islamorada, with the opening of Habanos Oceanfront on Lower Matecumbe Key.
The Cuban- and Spanish-inspired restaurant is located at Caloosa Cove Marina, in the building formerly occupied by The Captain’s Table, near mile marker 73.5 oceanside.
Keys locals Eddy and Marilyn Ramos teamed up with Miami restaurateur Raul Busquet to purchase the restaurant about six months ago, and they said they worked tirelessly to revamp the interior before opening three weeks ago.
The new space is bright and clean, with a long stone bar and wood wine racks greeting customers at the entrance — right next to the ice cream cooler.
Up front is a more casual area for having drinks, eating the Cuban-style pizza (with toppings buried below the cheese) or chilling out with an ice cream cone with the kids.
The back area still keeps it casual but is for sit-down dining while looking out the windows at the boats coming in to and out of the marina.
“I just think that a place like this was needed here,” Marilyn Ramos said. “There’s not many options for the people in this area, and especially nothing like the food we offer.”
The menu includes the aforementioned specialty pizza and ice cream, as well as a long list of Cuban favorites like pork, steak and chicken entrees with sides of rice and beans and plantains.
But this is still Islamorada, Ramos explains, and so seafood plays a major role. Expect weekly specials based on the fresh catch, like lobster bites and whole fried yellowtail. Habanos will also cook your catch.
“We’ve had a family that comes in three times a week and brings their own lobster and fish, or eats what we have fresh that day,” Ramos said. “We’ve had a lot of repeat customers already, so I think we’re doing something right.”
Habanos will also deliver anything on the menu within 10 miles north to Islamorada or 10 miles south to Long Key.