Havana’s restaurant scene in 2016 is changing as rapidly as an action film.
Is there any other choice but to explore?
When food is prepared, it becomes culture. Visiting Havana’s private restaurants (or paladares) offers participation into Cuba’s mysterious unfolding as enterprising Cubans combine scarce financial resources, effort and imagination into occasions for pleasure (and profit).
Here are three restaurants that promise to deliver for its customers in 2017.
Opened in 1996, La Gaurida was named by the Cuba Journal as the best restaurant in all of Cuba in 2016. It’s an institution. The restaurant has been the backdrop for several films and is known to host most of Havana’s visiting celebrities. We recommend making a reservation at (+53) 7 866 9047 – booking online works too if you do so at least 24 hours in advance.
Another amazing option in Havana is Cafe Laurent. It’s actually situated in the penthouse of a residential building. Try for the sparkling visitas of city and sea at sunset. Make a reservation at (+53) 7 831 2090. We found the best Cuban lobster at Cafe Laurent.
Don’t let the handwritten menus at El Atelier put you off. It’s the way owner Niuris Higueras keeps food and her eclectic cuisine fresh. The restaurant is located in a balconied mansion in the Vedado section of Havana. Try the filet mignon or the lobster. You can also sample Cuban rabbit if the spirit moves you. Make a reservation at (+53) 7 836 2025
Paladar Los Mercaderes
Despite the increase in tourist traffic to Old Havana, the area retains a lot of charm. The Cuba Journal had lunch at Paladar Los Mercaderes with the entrepreneur/owner Yamil Alvares Torres and learned about his dream to transform his house into a top notch private restaurant. The food was amazing and the service was the best we have experienced in Cuba. The menu is traditional Cuban. The hot sauce (or salsa) made in the kitchen was mesmerizing – it’s not too hot and it has a special quality of being good on everything. Make a reservation at (+53) 7 801-2437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.