Best ice-creams in Havana: Gelato, Helad’oro and Palenque
Everlasting summer’s temperatures in Cuba can be quite a hard thing to fight. You’ll need to refresh continuously: carry a fan in the purse (one of the benefits of having one for ladies), have a sip of fresh water or even better, a Mojito sip. But what about a tasty, creamy and freeze handmade ice-cream? You cannot deny this might be a piece of heaven while walking in Havana.
Cubans have always loved ice-cream. I remember when I attended to elementary school, we were all always waiting for the bell to ring and go for an endless run to the nearest cafeteria and buy an ice-cream cone or an ice lolly; not just me but the entire school couldn’t wait for it. Years passed, and later in university things only changed…a bit. We won’t run this time, but there was always time for friends and ice-cream; and I bet there’ll always be.
If you have been in Havana before and walked around Vedado town, you have seen for sure one of the greatest monuments to ice-cream in the city. Called Coppelia, this spot placed in 23 and L, central core of Vedado is probably one of the few places that I can imagine every single local have visited at least twice: our biggest ice-cream parlor. Sadly, today the quality is not what is used to be in the past (I’ve grown hearing my grandma histories when they use to go there and at least 20 different flavours were offered) and the queue to get in is usually giant.
However, new places are rising in the capital. Italian influences, modern equipment and European styles ice-cream shops can be found during a walk in some areas of Havana. From Old Havana to Miramar, ice-cream still fighting our endless summer.
Named after the Italian word for ice-cream, this place has become one of my very own favorites to go for a cone. Placed in 1st Avenue and 44A in Miramar offers a great product, lots of flavours from Almonds, Nutella, Mojito sorbet, Dark Chocolate, Wild berries, Whisky nuts to the classic Chocolate. The owner is an Italian guy, who brought all the equipment from Italy, also the technique and basic products. Starting from 1.50 CUC (meaning a massive cone) you’ll delight yourself in a quick visit; some yummy desserts and drinks are also offered. An extremely nice environment, spotless tables, air conditioned and open air areas and a very good service are guaranteed. Plus, as part of the same business there is a Sea-food restaurant just next to Gelato and it looks quite promising.
Imagine yourself walking in Old Havana, its narrows streets, tons of people, unique facades (some refurbished colonial Havana and others just months from being dust and rubble). Then, just couple of blocks from Havana’s cathedral, and barely 200 meters from the iconic Bodeguita del Medio, stands a magic place. Yes, because when you enter, coming from all the sweat and the heat and rough Havana, and get hit by the cold air, and all the smells and colours, it’ll feel like Wonderland. Placed at Aguiar and Empedrado streets I believe is becoming a must when walking around. Top quality ice-cream, not cheap ones, but definitely spot on. From 2 CUC you can choose between different sizes containers and cones, and many flavours. Must recommend are Ferrero Rocher ice-cream, Rum raisins or Almond chocolate; you can try some of the fruity ones, like mango, mamey (a very unique tropical fruit) or lemon, they look yummy.
Then we have Palenque! This is a most famous restaurant in Havana, known by Cuban creole food; and now it has a plus: an incredible ice-cream. Located in Playa town, it’s quite far from Central Havana but still easy to get there; lots of important places are around and as mentioned, everyone knows this spot in Havana. The ice-cream place is really nice; cool design and exquisite things to bite! They guarantee at least 20 different flavours and in total produce more or less 40. Their famous Yogurt, Cheesecake and Green Apple are available most of the time. So, if you are nearby…make it happen and give yourself a good treat.