Quick Bites: A Little Havana in The Villages

Havana Country Club opened a short time ago in the The Village of Hemingway in The Villages. Located on O’Dell Circle, this restaurant caught my eye on The Villages Gourmet website where local diners/members voluntarily input their comments after their dining experience. They have an option to vote yes or no on whether they will return. How much of an impact this has on web surfers is not known, but the site is growing by leaps and bounds and Havana Country Club has nine positives out of nine comments as of this writing.

The executive chef is Gregory Torrech, who at 30 has a lot of experience. After graduating from the Florida Culinary Institute in West Palm Beach, he worked under George Mahaffey in Colorado and was voted Best American Chef in the Southwest by the James Board Foundation. He also worked with renowned chef Todd English in Boston and Chef Ryan Skeen in New York.

More than once, Torrech said he serves honest food so I had to ask what he meant by that.

“It’s food that’s not pretentious,” he says. “There’s no fancy garnishing, but it’s put together with great technique.”

Havana Country Club features indoor and outdoor dining, set in a 1930s atmosphere. Dark woods meet colorful tile and fab-rics. There is a large circular bar with an open kitchen. The menu includes Cuban-style dishes as well as American such as Baked Stuffed Mini Meatloaf, Chicken Amaretto, Grilled Mahi Mahi with Key Lime Glaze, Coconut Tempura Fried Shrimp, Seared Boneless Pork Chops, Havana Shrimp Scampi, Marinated Skirt Steak, Grilled Ribeye Steak, and Wood Oven Roasted Chicken as well as traditional Paella. A variety of sandwiches, pizzas, and salads are also offered on the menu. Call (352) 430-3200 for details.

Now in full swing is Villages SKY Asian Fusion, (352) 751-5300, a smaller version of SKY Asian Fusion found in the Holiday Inn Conference Center in Ocala. Villages SKY is located in Rolling Acres Plaza in The Villages where Dee Dee’s Dog House used to be.

The restaurant’s executive chef, Clay Flechas, trained under Chef Trinidad in Ocala for over a year.

“Our atmosphere is a bit more relaxed over here with tans, browns, and green Asian accents,” says General Manager Leigh Gallups.

She also says that each evening, featured entrées are available as opposed to a full dinner menu. Villages SKY is open seven days a week and details can be found at ocalasky.com.

Nibbles: Where Dominic’s closed on Canal Street in The Villages, a new Italian eatery named Red Sauce has moved in and should be open by the time you’re reading this. In Lake Sumter Landing, Whiskey Creek Wood Fire Grill has closed and another restaurant should be moving in soon. Look for more information on these locations in the next issue. 

Roseann founded Restaurant Guide USA and
still enjoys writing about new and upcoming eateries.
E-mail roseann@lakeandsumterstyle.com
if you see or know of any new restaurants coming to your area.

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