To make the most of your pleasure time, follow a few of my tips:
• Good Cuban ingredients are fresh, seasonal and often unavailable! Be flexible about what you think you want to eat. Seafood, pork, chicken, lamb, duck and rabbit are all on the menu. Fruit and vegetables are sun-ripened and delicious.
• Good food anywhere usually takes time to cook. Havana is no exception.
• Make reservations prior to your trip. Especially if you want a table outside.
• Some things change quickly in Cuba! My recommendations were good at time of going to press.
Amigos Del Mar
Calle Cero #511 e/5taA y 5taB, Miramar
T: +53 7 2031196
Tricky to find by the river, but the themed decor and good seafood menu mean you can get nautical without leaving the shore!
BVCC – Buena Vista Curry Club
Tejadillo No. 24 e/Cuba y San Ignacio, Habana Vieja
T: +53 7 8627379
Just opened. Serves authentic Indian food, and good wines are available. Fantastic naan bread and fish tikka.
Calle M #257,
between Calle 19 & 21, Havana T: +53 7 831 2090
Conveniently close to the Hotel Nacional, an elegant salon reached via the apartment block lift. Smoking on terrace.
between 11 & 13,
T: +53 7 8322355
You can easily spot the restaurant, with its
big tower. An old vegetable oil factory, it now houses a chic dining room and a lively rooftop tapas bar reached via three flights of spiral stairs. Try the tuna tataki and grilled pork rib tapas.
Go next door to Fábrica de Arte Cubano for
Calle 10 #513 e 5 y 7, Playa, T: +53 7 2022921
This lively, tropical garden restaurant and bar stays open until 4:00am. Great for octopus paella, tapas and late night pizza!
Ivan Chef Justo
Aguacate 9, Esquina Chacón (nr. Museo de la Revolución), T: +53 7 8639697
Probably the best suckling pig in Havana! Also seafood tacos, paella and a wicked chocolate flan. If they are full, Al Carbón downstairs offers a good grill menu with the same excellent wines.
Calle 16 #506 e 5 y 7, Miramar
T: +53 7 2029941
Across the road from the Casa del Habano; tables in the cool garden for smokers. Great shrimp curry, and a new eco menu suitable for vegetarians – try the tempura veggies and guava cheesecake.
Calle 35 #1810
between 20 and 41, Playa
T: +53 7 2038315
Inspired food by a Cuban-Spanish couple – an artist and a sommelier (trained at the famous Catalan restaurant elBulli). With minimalist interiors, this place sparked a new era of sophistication for Havana’s private restaurant scene.
#11, 3ra y Final, La Puntilla, Miramar
T: +53 7 2094838
Seafood is best here, with stunning waterside views of Havana, good service and a fresh contemporary interior.
Calle 240A #3023 esq. 3raC,
T: +53 5 2867039
By the water where the fishing boats come in, the charm and quality of food here (sushi and other fish dishes of the day) still make this a must.
Esquina L y K, Tunel de La Habana,
T: +53 7 8300711
Smart, modern, food with excellent service in a pretty 1930s house in Vedado. Love the traditional pork with bitter orange.
Templo del Cileo
Calle 44 No. 4406 e/5ta y 3ra, Miramar
T: +53 7 2062543
New Chinese restaurant from the owners of Tien Tan in Havana’s Chinatown. Good sweet and sour pork, chicken with roasted peanuts, and extraordinarily good garlic cabbage! Smoking on terrace.
O’Reilly #304, Habana Vieja
T: +53 7 8630206
Inventive small plates – like a light crab soup with miso broth or malanga with paprika and soy sauce at this small, super hip place with rooftop terrace.
This article was published in the Cigar Journal Summer Edition 2017. Read more