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"Looking for a good restaurant in Havana?
Check my "secret" list of best restaurants!"
When selecting restaurants, understand that Cuba is no food paradise, where you can expect gourmet cuisine. It took me a trial and error period to find a good restaurant in the "food jungle". I tried some (state) hotel restaurants my first time in the city, and I can be short about this experience, don’t do it, forget it, it isn’t worth the money, the food is over priced.
My next experience in the Havana restaurant scene was the "paladar" restaurant. Let me explain the “paladar” system : under this regulation a Cuban family is permitted to install a small restaurant in one of the rooms in their house.
This is a private enterprise under strict government regulations. The restaurant is limited to one room and a maximum of four tables and sixteen seats. They should have an official license and pay a heavy tax. The paladar has a limited menu and they may not offer dishes like lobster and shrimp to avoid competition with the State restaurants and State owned hotels.
Paladares are thought to be the better restaurants in Cuba, because they are privately owned. I can say there are good ones and bad ones.
I tried several paladares and some are excellent and others, not worth the money.
Watch out when a Cuban guy recommends a paladar restaurant, most of the time he does it only for the fee he gets from the owner.
After all these restaurant experiences I felt a bit lost, so I did some research and ultimately I found some good addresses. I am happy to share my "secret list" with you.
Here are my top picks, they all offer good food for a reasonable price.
My favourite Havana restaurant and at this moment the place to be in the city: Los Nardos is located on the Paseo del Prado 563, opposite the Capitolio.
Restaurant Los Nardos
A Cuban private owned restaurant in Old Havana, nicely decorated in local style. The waitresses are pretty girls dressed in traditional country clothing. Restaurant El Guajirito
A private restaurant, owned by the Robaina family. Located in the Nuevo Vedado district, 30th street #865 between 26th and 41th street
Located at the corner of Neptuno street and the Paseo del Prado, very close to the Central Park. This is one of the best Italian restaurants in Havana. (READ UPDATE 2009!)
Restaurant A Prado y Neptuno
Located on 7th Avenue, between 24th and 26th Streets. One of Havana's most popular restaurants famous for the best chicken in town...
Restaurant El Aljibe
Located on the 17th street # 60, opposite the FOCSA building...
Restaurant La Casona de 17
Located on Ignace Street # 368, Corner Plaza Vieja (Old Square) this tavern is a unique experience....
More about Taberna de la Muralle
Calle Concordia # 418 Havana Centro The famous Cuban movie “Fresa y chocolate " was filmed at this paladar Good quality – reservations required Paladar La Guarida
NEW restaurant good dishes and live Jazz music in Obispo street Old Havana.
Restaurant Europa Havana
Other restaurants and paladars
AL MEDINA (Arab kitchen) Calle de los Oficios 12 Havana Vieja (Old Havana)
NEREI (paladar) Between 19 and L streets # 110 Vedado
ARIES Avenida Universidad # 456 Between J and K streets Vedado
Don Giovanni Calle Tacon 4 Habana Vieja (Old Havana)
El Floridita Calle Obispo 557 Habana Centro Typical tourist place, was made famous by Ernest Hemingway – rather expensive
El Gato Tuerto Calle O between 17th and 19th streets Vedado
El Patio Plaza de la Cathedral # 54 Habana Vieja (Old Havana)
Bodegita del Medio Calle Empedrado # 207 Habana Vieja
La Cocina de Lilliam (paladar)
Calle 48 # 1311 Playa (Miramar)
La Paella Calle de los Oficios # 53 Havana Vieja
La Terraza Florentina 21st street, between Streets N and O Vedado
Don Cangrejo (seafood) 1st Avenue between 16th and 18th Street Miramar district
Dos Gardenias 7th Avenue, Corner 26th street Miramar district
Vistamar (paladar) 1st Avenue #2206 between 22nd and 24th street Havana Miramar
Paco Mer Corner Infanta and Neptuno Streets Habana Vieja (old Havana)
Bistro Berlin Hotel Maritim 3rd Avenue, Corner 70th street Miramar district
La Torre (at the top of the FOCSA building)
17th street # 55 Vedado district
Great cocktails in restaurant "La Torre"
and stunning views over the city
Meson de la Flota San Ignacio Street between Amagura and Teniente Rey streets Habana Vieja (Old Havana)
La Esperanza 16th Street #105, between Avenue 1 and 3 Miramar district (Friendly service at a moderate price)
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