Top 12 restaurants in Havana
When visiting a new city knowing top places to go, restaurants, museums, squares or just some cool spots around can make a difference during your trip and your final memories. No wonder why tons of visitors are always looking around and asking for a proper plate of food. Well, good news for you! We´ll be giving you some hints and showing our finest restaurants in town.
Cuban food isn´t that famous as, for example, Mexican food. We would like to let you notice we don’t do spicy; most people believe we like “hot” plates as we are in a geographic area famous for adding too much pepper to their mains e.g. Jamaica or Mexico. But no, only few Cubans actually like spicy food; it doesn’t mean our food isn’t exciting though. Full of aromas and local products, if you have a weakness for a rice, pork, vegetables or beans then you are in the right place! And a sweet tooth? Welcome to the sweetest homemade desserts island in the globe.
Everyday Cuban food is gaining more international recognition. Joining events, expositions, opening top restaurants with incredible chefs (Michelin’s stars are already working in Cuba), taking to the next level traditional dishes with unique designs and storms of flavours this combination is getting hard to beat these days. With recently opening private restaurants (authorized by the government only few years ago) the quality of our food is increasing by day. Not only great courses to taste but really nice environments; some places still very traditional while others could be placed in a New York rooftop.
So, after this brief summary of our culinary background we’ll give you the best and trendy restaurants to visit in Havana, a list made by popular voting according TripAdvisor and also locals’ experience (who are not an easy target):
1. Habana 61 (Old Havana)
2. Donde Lis Restaurant & Bar (Old Havana)
3. San Cristobal Paladar (Central Havana)
4. 304 O’Reilly (Old Havana)
5. Esto no es un café (Old Havana)
6. Mediterraneo Havana (Vedado town)
7. Nazdarovie (Central Havana)
8. El Litoral (Vedado town)
9. Doña Eutimia (Old Havana)
10. Atelier (Vedado town)
11. Starbien (Vedado town)
12. Café de los Artistas (Old Havana)
Now let me guide you a bit through the list. Some tips but reminding you any of them are incredible good and totally recommended. Number 1, 2, 4 and 9 are top restaurants placed in Old Havana ideal if you are on a day walk in the old town sniffing around; these are the most recognized places to eat, quality is a guarantee in any of them. They mainly offer traditional Cuban food in its best performance; from the basic Malanga puree or roasted pork and Congri (Cuban rice made by black beans) to exquisite combinations of lobster mains and stunning desserts. Our advice is to make a booking before going, they are usually full at midday and nights. These are not cheap treats yet they worth it; more than food you’ll be paying for top services, unique environment, sometimes with live music, a perfect location and most of all an original product.
Main course at Habana 61
Also in Old Havana you have number 5 and number 12, more value for money spots and stunning quality. The environment here is more relax, places to go to and feel free to spend your very own time, tasting their endless and delicious menu, with a young and very friendly staff advising you. I believe these are the best places to chill out. Also very popular in town here you’ll find out many locals sitting around meeting with friends. Highly recommended, even for some snacks or brunch.
And then some other exciting places like Nazdarovie, a Russian restaurant inspired by those Cubans who went to the Soviet Union to study or work in the 70’s and 80’s and now find a way to remember their food and traditions; a good place to have a nice meal and enjoy a first line view of the Malecon. Also in Malecon first line you have El Litoral, number 8, quite trendy these days and located next to the American Embassy in Havana is famous for the seafood in any of its combinations. And to end San Cristobal Paladar in Central Havana, a very authentic neighborhood in Havana. The food is delivered by one of the best chefs in Cuba, and you must know that even Obama’s family stop by and dine in this place during their visit to the island (a recommendation made by Beyoncé they said).
Esto no es un cafe Restaurant
It makes a difference when you dine in good places during a trip, it brings the best of any country and might let you walk away with a different perception of the country. Don’t miss that opportunity, no when you have so many good places to go!