In Ferndale, my hands-down favorite breakfast place is the Fly Trap. Problem is, it’s the favorite breakfast place of many people, and on the weekends, the line usually spills out onto the sidewalk. Unfortunately, there aren’t many other good breakfast options in Ferndale worth mentioning. And please don’t say, “But what about Toast?” Sure, they have cute décor, but mediocre food, abominable service and high prices, and after my last experience there (it was a Monday and the Fly Trap was closed), I don’t think I’ll ever go back.
So what’s a gal to do on a weekend morning when she doesn’t feel like cooking and is too hungry to wait in line? Two words: Café Habana.
Café Habana is in downtown Royal Oak and is part of the Bastone/Vinotecca complex on the corner of 5th and Main. It’s relatively small, yet is never full on weekends despite its tasty (and cheap!) brunch menu. They score points over the Fly Trap and other breakfast places for ambiance- they have Cuban music on the stereo, and sitting amongst the exposed brick and wrought-iron chandeliers, it is a pretty pleasant place to relax and read the Sunday paper. The service is laid-back and friendly, not frantic, and you never get the impression they are trying to turn a table.
If you’re more the type to seek a “standard” breakfast menu with pancakes, eggs, bacon and the like, this probably isn’t the place for you. But for the more adventurous eater, Café Habana has some exciting offerings. Marvin and I have eaten here several times and our favorite dish is the Huevos a la Flamenca. The eggs are served in a tomato-based sauce that has little pieces of carrot and peas as well as ham and sausage. It’s served with a potato croquette that is browned and crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Another dish I like is the Huevos Habana, two eggs with a pork and plantain hash and poblano hollandaise. If I’m not in an eggy mood, I go for the Arepas (cornmeal pancakes), which you can either get sweet, with cream cheese and fruit, or savory, with herbed goat cheese, sautéed spinach and pico de gallo. Coffee is above average here, but if you’re not a coffee drinker, they have a good freshly-squeezed limeade, or you can order drinks from the bar at the adjacent restaurant, Bastone.
Café Habana can also be recommended for lunch and dinner- I’ve had the Flank Steak with Chimichurri and it was pretty darn good- but for some reason when we end up there, it’s usually for breakfast. Fly Trap, we still love ya, but on the days we sleep too late to beat the crowds, you can find us in a booth at Café Habana, divvying up sections of the New York Times and enjoying a leisurely meal.