In Cuba you can eat well, in fact very well. But to eat well the first thing is to understand that the best restaurants in Havana are called “Paladares”. They are private businesses of Cuban families and entrepreneurs who have managed to create unique places in the world for their originality and gastronomy. It is always difficult to choose, our criterion is based on the testimonies of our clients during these years. With their opinions we have made the best 10 restaurants in Havana.
The boom of visitors and the success of this selection of palates makes us recommend that they always reserve a table, otherwise it will be difficult to find a table. At Espíritu Travel we offer this restaurant reservation service on all of our tours.
10. Doña Carmela
Address: Havana. Community #1, House 10. Habana del Este
On the eastern side of the harbor in the small community near the forts, this private eating option is usually full of tourists on their way to the nightly canon ceremony. Book ahead. The food is good, if pricey. Bank on dishes such as octopus in garlic and whole roast cooked pork in a wood oven. Tables are arranged in a very pleasant garden.
Their greatest fame came after Beyoncé visited this place with her family to celebrate her birthday. While it is true that in recent years it has changed owners and has diminished its prestige, it is still a good place to dine on the other side of the bay.
Address: Calle 13 No. 406 between calle F and G, Vedado, Plaza de la Revolución
Raúl, a Cuban that is intimately connected to land and sea, and Luigi, an Italian with a great culinary talent and a growing affection for this other island, turned their dream into reality by creating this paladar. The gastronomic concept on which it is based is: “from farm to table”. Focused on the preferential use of fresh ingredients, seasonal, and local, for the preparation of dishes. Thus defends the traditional kitchen and simple but purified, discarding the use of preservatives, additives or others and ensuring a healthy and nutritious food.
This is achieved thanks to their agreement with the farm “Vista Hermosa”, located in the rural area of Guanabacoa on the outskirts of Havana. Thus achieving the provision of fresh products, grown with an agroecological criterion.
We would highlight from the menu the variety of fresh pasta, especially the Ravioli and surprise the cheeses made from goat’s milk and pork sausages without preservatives or additives. You can see the chef’s Italian hand, with the fusion and experience of the local cuisine.
8. Seven Days
Address: Calle 14 between calle primera y Mar, Playa
This paladar combines two elements that make it worthy to be on the list: its spectacular location on the shores of the sea where you can enjoy a beautiful landscape and a coal oven where you can taste the delights of the sea. The place is characterized by a minimalist and cozy decoration, with ample outdoor spaces with barbecue and a reserved glass, suitable for celebrating festive events. The service is usually excellent and its menu offers international options for all palates. But when it comes to choosing, we recommend your selection of fish and seafood with charcoal to combine with a careful selection of cocktails.
7. Doña Eutimia
Address: Callejón del Chorro, 6 C, Cathedral Square, Old Havana
In the heart of Havana, very close to La Catedral, the paladar Doña Eutimia blends modern and familiar. It has been open since 1994 and was one of the pioneer paladares and is recommended in multiple guides and prestigious media. The name of the restaurant is a tribute to Eutimia, a lady who lived on the other side of the square and who cooked for the artists of the Graphic Experimental Workshop such as Fabelo, Choco, Nelson Domínguez and others. Those great women of the Cuban plastic arts remember her with a lot of love, because of the richness of her cooking and the affection with which she always treated them. That’s the guide: make a Cuban meal, homemade, simple and full of love. A place to taste the Cuban food of all the life like “Ropa Vieja” or the “rice with shrimps”.
Address: Calle 3ra & Final, 11, La Puntilla, Miramar, Playa
The first attraction of this paladar is its location, located in a privileged landscape with a unique view of the mouth of the Almendares River and the Torreón de la Chorrera. Upon entering, the visitor is surprised by the elegance, good taste and new trends in the presentation of the dishes and the service that derive from the minimalist concept that prevails in the place. The concept, the decoration and even the exercise of the culinary art seem set to achieve an exclusive experience between the river and the sea. With this name and this location, their specialty is fish and seafood, always treated with a fusion concept that you will enjoy.
5. San Cristobal
Address: Calle San Rafael, 469, between calle Lealtad & Campanario, Havana Centro
Paladar San Cristóbal is a mystical, family space, full of memories, where they want people to feel unique and at home. Through a good dinner, they want to show you their past and pay homage to Cuban culture and roots. This is how Carlos Cristóbal Márquez, the chef and owner of this paladar, describes his mission. A place full of history where Obama ate during his historic visit to the island.
It has an atmosphere full of memories of Havana from the 1950s. A traditional Cuban menu where you can try your meats in the variety you prefer. Without a doubt it is a recommendable place if you are looking for a classic Cuban gastronomy with the best service.
4. El Cocinero
Address: Calle 26 #57 between calle 11 & 13 Vedado
Far from all stereotypes, El Cocinero is committed to redefining the culinary experience in Cuba with a carefully though-out cuisine for special occasions. The menu adapts selected world recipes, made with distinctive Cuban ingredients. A towering smokestack sets apart the place, located on the banks of the Almendares river, between the neighborhoods of Vedado and Miramar.
Designed as part of the boiler system for the offices of the Havana Tramway in the late 19th century, the smokestack preserves the identity of the famed peanut oil brand which occupied the premises in 1930. The restaurant exhibits a contemporary and minimalistic décor, which both harmonizes with the original architecture and adds to it. The result is a stylish space, enlivened with soft lighting and music to share in the moment.
One of the favorites of all travelers when combined after dinner with an evening at the impressive Fabrica de Arte. A venue designed to enjoy all the artistic expressions of Cuba in one place, live concerts, cinema, art exhibitions, performance, outdoor spaces, dance hall … A place designed for the edonismo, El Cocinero + Fabrica de Arte is a must visit in Havana.
3. The Atelier
Address: Calle 5, # 511 between Paseo and 2. Vedado, Plaza de la Revolución
House with wooden ceilings, decorated with modern paintings, cozy and romantic atmosphere. Qualified chef with international experience. Two blocks from the downtown Malecón Habanero.
The Atelier restaurant is located in an old house of the stale aristocracy of the early twentieth century, in the central neighborhood of El Vedado. The establishment stands out for its elegance and exclusivity where the mime and the imagination of its owners are perceived. The house, which inspires freshness with its large and beautiful windows, is surrounded by a gallery that displays interesting paintings. It also has a cozy outdoor terrace, designed with style but without sacrificing the comfort provided by its Japanese and Arabic style zabutones. When the night falls it is a joy to enjoy the open air of the starry nights, the gourmet style in its dishes and the good service of its staff.
The signature cuisine, fused with magic and art, make up a menu that satisfies the most varied tastes and delights with its presentation. Each dish seems made to measure, I would definitely recommend the lamb dishes, although it is a place to listen to the recommendation of the waiter and let the palate fly where the chef wants to take us every day.
2. Café Laurent
Address: Calle M # 257 between calle 19 and 21. Vedado, Plaza de la Revolución
Café Laurent is a luxurious and sophisticated haute cuisine paladar, an authentic jewel that is leading the culinary revolution in Havana. It is one of those places of the past in the middle of the city that seems to lie that they have survived the challenges of progress. An ideal place for those who really want to know the real Cuba with a terrace from which you can enjoy fantastic panoramic views of the most emblematic buildings of the city.
The Cuban chef Dayron Aviles Alfonso – with a long career in restaurants in San Sebastian and Buenos Aires – has created a menu of high elegance and creativity, based on Basque cuisine and products from the area. A bet for the Cuban cuisine of author made with seasonal products, next and of quality.
From its menu we can highlight the seafood risotto, the snapper with clams and prawns in green sauce, the carpaccio of tuna, the pork sautéed with nuts or the suckling lamb with the tabaca (lamb simmered with garlic, cream and reduction of mint). For dessert, do not miss the chocolate biscotti or brownie, served with various ice cream combinations.
Your unforgettable terrace is perfect to take a treat congratulating you for knowing one of the most amazing corners of Havana.
Address: Calle Concordia, 418 between Gervasio & Escobar. Centro Havana
Located in a beautiful palace of the early twentieth century, La Guarida is a place full of magic. Upon your arrival you feel the experience of entering a humble residential building in the heart of the city. After climbing the narrow stairs and see some clothes hanging, you will fing the most luxurious restaurant in the city.
A space that gives us the opportunity to know in one place a city in three times; anchored in history, marked by its daily life and hopeful with its future …
In 1993 the film directors Tomás Gutiérrez Alea and Juan Carlos Tabío, decided to film the film “Strawberry and Chocolate” on the roof where the restaurant will later be located. The film transcended the borders of the country being nominated for the Oscar Awards as the best foreign film, acclaimed by critics and the public and achieving countless international awards.
Many people were motivated to visit Havana, after seeing the film and in one way or another they always managed to find the address of the place where they wanted to play with their hands, that little piece of film history, but when they arrived, they found a home, like that of any Cuban family and not the Baroque site, that they had seen in the movie. From there the owners decided to “keep alive the story” of Strawberry and Chocolate and fill the illusion of those who sought the reality behind the fiction, thus opened “La Guarida” on July 14, 1996.
Since then it has become the enclave of the most demanding travelers, of all those who want to taste the tradition and the future in one dish. It has hosted the celebration of Madonna’s birthday, the recording of reality show The Kardashians and the filming of “Fast and the furious” among many other stories of its walls.
But the paladar is much more than history, it is present in Cuban gastronomy. Few experiences can fill the soul more than watching the sunset from your terrace enjoying a cocktail and tasting any wonder of its menu. A place to ask without prejudice, to feel a special experience. Do not forget to book, and in advance. And if you are a client of Espíritu Travel just tell us and we will take care of everything so that you can have this unique experience.
Cuban cuisine on the rise
With the opening trend in Cuba, new and better gastronomic options appear throughout the island. That is why this list can not be static, so we will be attentive and we will publish gastronomic novelties when they appear.