Restaurants in Havana
Havana has two types of restaurants: state-run and privately-owned and operated. While there are some very fine state restaurants and food quality and service have vastly improved in recent years, paladares (private restaurants) generally offer more variety (at a corresponding higher price) and more welcoming ambience. Always check restaurant bills carefully to make sure a random starter or cerveza hasn't migrated onto your bill - a pretty common scam.
The restaurants below have been classed into four different pricing categories:
Expensive (over CUC20)
Moderate (CUC10 - CUC20)
Cheap (up to CUC10)
These prices are for a three course meal for one, including tax but not drinks. A service charge of 10% will be added to your bill in most restaurants. Tipping is customary if not.
Café LaurentCuisine: International
For a splurge or celebration, look no further than this classy, sophisticated paladar (private restaurant). A block from the Hotel Nacional, the balcony tables here offer fine views and the menu is Havana haute at its best. Seafood standouts include whole red snapper and grilled lobster tails and these folks do nice twists on classics including squid in its ink and pork chops with dates. Vegetarians are accommodated with care and creativity here. Reservations recommended.Address: between Calles 19 & 21, Calle M #257, Havana,
Telephone: +53 7 831 2090.
Ivan Chef JustoCuisine: International
The prime Habana Vieja location, the hip setting, and the innovative menu here all combine to mean Ivan Justo – who will be in the teeny kitchen whipping up fresh and delicious dishes as you enter – is setting a new standard in Havana. There’s no going wrong with the homemade pasta perfectly dressed in sparkling green pesto, the mini rack of lamb or toothsome steak with goat cheese. Save room for the cuatros leches dessert – Havana’s best sweet treat.Address: corner Chacón , Aguacate #9, Havana,
Telephone: +53 7 863 9697.
La FontanaCuisine: International
One of Havana's top private restaurants bar none, La Fontana's European-style menu is inspired. With charcoal-grilled sausages, cilantro spiked ceviche and Dijon mustard dressed rabbit as highlights, La Fontana specialises in dishes typically not found elsewhere in Cuba. The people watching is great too, since famous locals frequent this intimate place. The new Eden Bar, added in 2012, is spectacular and gives a good idea of how sophisticated Havana is becoming. It doesn't get going until 0100 at the earliest.Address: , Calle 3ra A #305, Havana,
Telephone: +53 7 202 8337.
Doña EutimiaCuisine: Cuban
With the relaxation of rules for private restaurants in 2011, it was only a matter of time before someone opened an excellent dining establishment in the heart of Habana Vieja; Doña Eutimia (voted one of the top 100 restaurants in the world by Newsweek) is it. The menu is dominated by solid traditional Cuban dishes including picadillo (ground beef in tomato sauce with raisins and olives), stuffed plantains and pork done a variety of ways. Try the mojito frappe. Reservations are recommended.Address: Plaza de Catedral, Callejón del Chorro #60C, Havana,
Telephone: +53 7 861 1332.
El AljibeCuisine: Cuban
This restaurant is world famous with reason: the all-you-can-eat prix fixe chicken meal. It comes with all the traditional trimmings, including mouth-watering black bean potaje (Cuba's classic soupy side dish), and perfectly roasted and seasoned chicken. The secret is in the sauce, based on naranja agria (bitter orange), a staple in all Cuban kitchens. The wine list is one of the city's best. Located in Miramar, 15 minutes by car from the oldest part of the city, the restaurant has a rustic décor though it can get loud with boisterous diners.Address: between Calle 24 & Calle 26, Avenida 7ma, Havana,
Telephone: +53 7 204 1583.
Tien TanCuisine: Chinese
Havana's Chinatown is small, with the heart of things happening along the ‘cuchillo’ (diagonal alley), where restaurants packed cheek by jowl angle for diners. The best of the lot is this popular place anchoring the alley’s southern end. The house speciality is res al hierro caliente (beef on hot iron), or try the equally delicious seafood soup; adventurous eaters might point to one of the specials listed on the wall (in Chinese!). The food is authentic Cuban Chinese and the portions generous.Address: Centro Habana, Calle Zanja 1 & San Nicolás, Havana,
Telephone: +53 7 861 5478.
La RocaCuisine: Cuban
Step back in time at this Vedado classic, where your chicken or pork fillet comes with live piano accompaniment and fine service. Old timers as well as young couples typically fill this fun place and the bar is a happy hour hangout for local film, television and music luminaries. Word about town is the CUC15 surf and turf for two is a veritable feast. This place is very popular with local families and couples on dates.Address: , Calle 21 #102, Havana,
Telephone: +53 7 334 501.
La VicariaCuisine: Cuban
Waiting-staff-in-training cut their teeth at this sprawling restaurant offering traditional Cuban food, so you can be sure of attentive service. Choose between a leafy outdoor setting or head indoors into a converted mansion full of intimate dining rooms. This place is popular with Cuban families digging into super affordable shish kebabs, pizzas, and shellfish casseroles. In keeping with changes sweeping Havana, La Vicaria now offers drive-thru' takeout service.Address: corner Calle 13, 5ta Avenida #18207, Havana,
Telephone: +53 7 339 100.
Los NardosCuisine: International
A perennial favourite among Cubans and visitors alike, this cavernous restaurant directly across from the Capitolio has gained fame for its huge portions and affordable prices. The menu is pages long, with selections ranging from traditional dishes like ropa vieja to spaghetti and whole fish. There's a terrific wine list and vegetarians will appreciate the (meatless) chef salad. Always check your bill twice and take heart: the long line to get in moves fast.Address: , Paseo de Martí #563, Havana,
Telephone: +53 7 863 2985.