in Hotels (which are generally good, but pricey [although
reasonable compared to the US or Europe])
for Cubans (authentic, tasty, and cheap)
(privately operated "restaurants," officially allowed
up to 12 seats [some have more, however]. the food is sometimes
excellent, and you know that your money goes directly to the people
when you eat there, but the prices are only fair--still, less
expensive than the hotels)
Again, we could list a hundred choices,
but that's just a list. Here we'll list some of the better hotel restaurants,
some of the nicer non-hotel restaurants, some cheap Cuban restaurants,
and a few choice paladares.
Paladares are restaurants run out of Cuban homes. Many
are in Vedado. Officially, paladares can only seat 12. Some are just some
families kitchen/dining room, and some are virtually full restaurants.
in Habana Vieja...
La Rejita Mayela
Calle Habana #405, e/Obispos y Obrapia
Basic meals at around $9.
Calle K 154 (a block north of Linea)
Tasty meals for about $12.
Paladar El Amor
3rd floor of an old mansion, Calle 23 e/B y C
Full of antiques, you'll eat of fine china. Meals from
Restarante Ls Cactus
Calle 21 e/Calle K y L
Simple crillo food, from about $7
Calle 10#303, e/Avenida 3ra y 5ta
Inside an old mansion will lots of atmosphere, pasta
from $3, fish meals from $7. Large portions, tasty food.
La Habana Vieja, Monserrate 557, at Obispo
Open daily 11:30-midnight.
Tel: 63 10 60/63
Cuba's most famous restaurant since the 1930s. Ernest
Hemingway, and various Cuban presidents have been regulars here because
of the excellent food well presented and well served. The prices, however,
are high. Don't leave the island without trying one of the daiquiris popularized
Miramar, Calle 18, No. 302, btw. 3rd and 5th
Open 12:30-midnight, until 2 or 3 AM if there are customers
waiting. Closed Sun.
Tel: 33 22 09
Perhaps the best restaurant in Havana. Beautiful gardens,
great service, wonderful food. The quality of the raw materials is excellent
and the preparation is simple but delicious. The place is famous for its
pechitos de camarones, the house hors d'oeuvre, and for its Creole dishes.
All of the seafood is good, especially the grilled lobster. Expensive
by Cuban standards, about $30 per meal.
La Bodeguita del Medio
La Habana Vieja, Empedrado 256, btw. Cuba and San Ignacio
Open daily 11:30 AM-1 AM.
Phone: 62 44 98
One of Havana's great hang outs, the Bodeguita is a
superb Creole tavern. Its mojitos are famous around the world, as is its
authentic Cuban fare. The restaurant is situated in one of the prettiest
spots in the city. Especially recommended is the picadillo (finely chopped
meat sautéed with onions, garlic, olives, and tomatoes), the tasajo,
and the arroz congri (rice with spicy meat sauce). Try the chicharrones
with a light beer. Also, try the upstairs, top floor, out door (well,
sort of) kitchen. The prices are lower and the food is just as good. Better
to get there earlier in the day, as the food is fresher.
La Casa de Quinta y 16
Miramar, Av. 5 and 16th
Open noon-10. Closed Sun.
Phone: 29 40 47
This is a small, rustic ranch house located to the side
of the Casa del Habano. It offers beautifully presented portions of well
prepared food, seafood as well as fish and meat. The prices are reasonable.
La Habana Vieja, Pl. de la Catedral
Open 24 hrs.
Phone: 33 81 46
This restaurant is in the courtyard of one of the finest
palaces on the Plaza de la Catedral. Although the food is average and
the prices are too, a visit is recommended due to its pretty location
in Habana Vieja, and its nighttime popularity, try it if only for a beer
or a coffee.
La Torre del Mangia
Miramar, Playa, Av. 5, btw. 40th and 42nd
Open daily noon-11.
Phone: 33 24 50
This is the restaurant for Italian cuisine. Its chefs
are schooled at the best restaurants of Italy. The decor is understated,
but appealing and relaxing. The pasta dishes are always good. The parguitos
entomatados del golfo (Gulf porgy with tomato) is quite popular.
La Habana Vieja, Casa de los árabes, Oficios 12
Open Thurs.-Tues. 3-10. Al Medina
Phone: 63 08 62
Located on a restored street in Old Havana, in a beautiful
Colonial era mansion. The food is Middle Eastern with a Cuban flair. It's
fun and different, but the food is rather exotic, and may not please everyone.
Vedado, 510 H Street between 23 and 21st
Open Mon-Friday 11:00-5:00
It really doesn't have a name, but the food is dirt
cheap (you pay in Cuban pesos), and tasty. You order at a little stand.
Come at noon and order a lunch box, it's the equivalent of US seventy
five cents: sandwich, rice, salad, bread, papaya milk shake.
There are a number of additions to be added here. Basically,
this is the area for inexpensive Cuban food, places to go when you don't
want to spend $15 for lunch.