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@nino just gave me the idea for this.

Quite a few of us have just returned from Havana and some members will be going in the next few months, February etc.

Any new paladares to recommend?

Or any that have gone downhill since the last visit?

Here's my, short, list to begin.

Michifú

https://www.tripadvisor.ie/Restaurant_Review-g147271-d16227665-Reviews-Michifu-Havana_Ciudad_de_la_Habana_Province_Cuba.html

It's very new, not even on the Alamesa app yet.

I was brought there by a friend who lives and works in Havana. It's about 1/2 block east (towards Habana Vieja) from La Guarida.

Great spot, smoking indoors and out with no complaints, in a courtyard style setting.

I was there 3 times for dinner on the last trip. The food is Cuban/Spanish/French fusion. The mixed chicken/pork skewers are very good. So is the ratatouille. A friend had the pargo (red snapper) and was very impressed. 

It was opened by the original owner of Sia Kará (one of my favourite cafes in Havana).

Very cheap. Starter, main and a couple of beers won't be much more than $20.

 

Casa Nostra

https://www.tripadvisor.ie/Restaurant_Review-g147271-d10460593-Reviews-Casa_Nostra-Havana_Ciudad_de_la_Habana_Province_Cuba.html

Currently my favourite Italian in Havana. Very close to El Sauce. 

The owners have another place (Il Rustico) in Habana Vieja.

They have their own herb and vegetable garden in the back. I test Italian restaurants with a plate of penne and pesto, with the thinking that if they can get simple right...

The pasta is homemade as is the pesto from basil they grow on site. It was brilliant, as good as I have had anywhere.

They have a wood fired pizza oven. I was told by a friend in the know, to order the octopus. They put the octopus on the pizza spade and shove it in the pizza oven for less than a minute. It comes out crispy on the outside and perfectly cooked inside, extraordinary.

I was in the mood for a White Russian (not on the menu), they apologised that they had no cream, until they magicked up a bottle of cream from somewhere about 15 minutes later. Great service. I highly recommend.

 

On the downslope

Unfortunately, La Corte del Principe

I hate saying this, as it was one of my favourite restaurants in Havana. I was going there with a friend on one of my first days and was warned by some ex-pat friends in Havana that it had gone downhill.

There was still a good crowd there. The grilled eggplant and cheese is still very good. But the pasta was stale or poorly cooked and the prices have really gone up. Service wasn't great either. Some of the staff are still the same and I believe it is still owned by Sergio but something has changed.

We were charged $66 for two for lunch, what would have been $40 in February. 2 starters, 2 mains, 4 beers and coffee.

 

Honourable mentions of other good places.

Tocamadera, ate here a few times again, met @nino there one of the days. Good dining, but I really like the hamburger there, new comfortable outside furniture. Owner and staff are great.

La Guarida, still brilliant. Was there for Punch Joe's birthday. Those marlin tacos..

Bone'Ma, I can't remember where I heard of this place, none of my Havana resident friends had heard of it. On Calle 21 between L and M. A block uphill from the Hotel Capri. Very nice spot, lovely staff. Very clean. And they do a doner kebab. Some people will disagree, but I sometimes get an urge for one and had never seen one in Havana. Very decent. They do chicken kebabs but had lamb on the menu in a different dish, they were happy to make lamb doners for us, and the chips/fries were great too. A rare thing in Havana. I brought Stuart there on his first night. I think I saw a tear. :)

Muelle There is a new fairground area at 1 av and 70th in Playa. Bouncy castle, rides for kids etc. It is surrounded by bars/restaurants, chiringuito style on the beach (it's a rocky/concretey beach but nice view of the sea). Muelle is the one closest to the Hotel Panorama (to the west) and is owned by the same people as Espacios. Obviously very new and they're still shaking it out but service was great. Drinks cheap and a great view. I didn't eat there but I heard decent reports. Very nice spot for a sundowner, along the lines of 7 Dias.

Espacios Still great staff, good drinks at a reasonable price and very decent pizza as a quick bite. Espacios was our launch pad on many nights.

 

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Nice idea for a thread.  There are lots of great choices in Havana.  Here are my favorites in no particular order-

Habana 61- Contemporary Cuban seafood at reasonable prices.  The food is pretty good here but the portions are a bit small.  Avoid the swordfish- dry and cut too thick.  This restaurant does not allow smoking.

Santy Pescador- Great seafood in a relaxed atmosphere.  The pricing is moderate although still reasonable.  They allow cigar smoking. 

Marea- Great seafood and amazing views of the bay.  Excellent place to hang out and enjoy a long meal.  The food and drinks are expensive but worth it.  This place allows cigar smoking.

304 O’Reillys- Good, although not stellar Cuban food at reasonable prices.  Great drinks.  I was not allowed to smoke here.

Al carbon- One of my favorite restaurants in Havana.  Owned by the same people who opened Ivan Chef Justo.  The restaurant was recently renovated and is in the same building as the aforementioned restaurant.  Excellent food and atmosphere with high end traditional Cuban cuisine.  Al carbon is known for charcoal grilled food (hence the name) and the charcoal grilling does add a unique flavor to several dishes.  Lechon is a must try and is prepared better here than at Chef Justo since they tend to crisp the skin more.  Can be difficult to get a reservation although I have had no problems making multiple same day reservations in 2019.  Great selection of wines and spirits.  Allows cigar smoking.  Expensive.

Ivan Chef Justo- Excellent food and atmosphere also with high end traditional Cuban cuisine.  Can also be difficult to get a reservation although again I have had no problems with making multiple same day reservations during 2019.  Great selection of wines and spirits.  Expensive.

El Aljibe- Famous and touristy all you can eat chicken joint.  Good food that is moderately priced.  Make sure to order the wings.  Can be quite busy if there are conventions in town, but now that the Cruises are gone, far less crowded.  Allows cigar smoking. 

Cafe Laurent- Good cuban seafood at moderate prices with great views of Hotel Nacional, The HSA offices and Vedado.  Allows cigar smoking. 

Lo de Monik- Great place for a moderately priced breakfast.  Nice atmosphere and quaint location.  No smoking.

 

 

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Thanks @Ryan - good idea !!

La Corte del Principe was also one of my fave places but was there last time with you & Rob Nov. 2018. Sorry to hear it has gone down - Thanks for the heads up.

One of my other fave places has also been disappointing last few trips - 7 Dias on 1ra and 14th. Menu has shrunk, many things not available, staff changed ... still OK for snacks and a nice place but not much more ... Sorry @Habana Mike

Will see I post some additional places here later from my notes.

Espacios is still the best place - as long as you avoid having Spanish Gin & Tonic at 16,50 a shot .... ?

 

 

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Here is my choice of Havana Paladares and my comments on them -

Buen provecho !

 

Tocamadera : A one year old, excellent Paladar run by Enrique Suarez, market cuisine, all fresh and natural, outstanding food, small place, highly recommended.

Calle 38 e/ 1ra y 3ra Ave. Miramar - Tlf. 5281 2144

 

Marea : Great views of Marina Hemingway, private beach, sun-chairs, excellent food and service, far from the crowds, very good seafood at normal prices, highly recommended !!  
5ta Avenida 25804 e/ 258 y 260, Santa Fe, (+53) 7271 1192

Update December 2018 :
Was there in November and food and service was very good - then a few days later place was overflowing with more than 70 tourists in buses for lunch.
So I guess it's "hit & miss".

Update June/Nov 2019 : Was there 3 times and excellent service and food. Recommended !

 

Destino ( both elegant interior dining and informal covered garden area, cigar lounge corner, excellent food, relaxed atmosphere, normal prices, highly recommended )
Calle 18 #305 entre3ra y 5ta, Miramar (+53 7205 4099)

 

Buena Vista Curry Club ( Great and genuine Indian Curry place in old Havana, Indian chef, fantastic Chicken Tikka Massala, Garlic Naan, recommended ! )

Tejadillo 24 e/ Cuba y San Ignacio, (+53) 7862 7379

 

CubaPasion ( Beautiful large old mansion next to the University, terrace, owner Emrah very passionate about cigars and rum, great food, a bit noisy, next to Hotel Habana Libre, very recommended !! )

Calle L 502 e/ 27 y Ave. Universidad, Vedado. (+53) 5406 1925

 

Iván Chef Justo (Great atmosphere and food) & Al Carbon ( located next door and also run by Ivan )

Aguacate #9 esq. a Chacón, Habana Vieja - (+53) 7-863-9697

 

Santy's (Best seafood, hidden away, best Sushi and Sashimi in town)

Calle 240A #3023 esq. a 3ra C, Jaimanitas

(+53) 5-286-7039

 

El Templete (Seafood/Spanish/Tapas - good wine list - recommended)

Avda. del Puerto Closed for "renovations" Nov 2017 - still  renovating ...

 

La Terraza del Centro Asturiano (Great food, large servings, centrally located, great views, cigar lounge in the back.) Watch out for a shift that hands out "tourists menues" at double prices !

Prado 309 - (+53) 7-864 1447 / 5-817 8778


 

Río Mar (Good but expensive, terrace by the sea, great views)

Ave. 3ra A y Final #11, La Puntilla, Miramar - (+53) 7-209-4838


 

El Chanchullero (opens 1 pm, small, hip, unconventional, crowded, great food and atmosphere, large servings, cheap)

Teniente Rey #457 bajos, Plaza del Cristo, Habana Vieja

(+53) 7-872-8227


 

Lamparilla 361 (Small good Tapas and beer place with good lunch & dinner)
Lamparilla #361, entre Aguacate and Villegas, Habana Vieja
Tel: 5289 5324


 

El Rejoneo / Tic Tac ( Fresh Sandwiches, cheap, the best baguette sandwiches in town, large garden )

11 Esq. a 84, Miramar, Playa - (+53) 7-203 5190


 

7 Dias ( Grill & BBQ, facing the sea, seafood and meat, not expensive. )

1-ra Avenida entre 14 y 16 ( near Karl Marx Theater)
Update Nov. 2019 : Menu has shrunk, many items not available, staff has changed, nice for Snacks and the view.

 

Amigos del Mar ( overlooking the Rio Almendares, near Puente de Hierro, across from Fabrica de Arte, good seafood, quiet and friendly. )

Calle Cero # 511 e/ 5ta A y 5ta B, Miramar  - (+53) 7-203 1196

 

Restaurante La Foresta ( Great quality and atmosphere, first class place, one of Havana's best restaurants right now - Update March 2017 : The cook has left and tourist buses now there in full force. Rumoured to have declined )

Calle 17 entre 174 y 176, Siboney ( next to Pabexpo )

(+53) 721 2777

 

La Corte del Príncipe / Sergio's (Italian, very good, expensive)

Calle 9na esq. a 74, Miramar - (+53) 5255-9091
Update Nov. 2019 : Heard negative comments, quality and service declined, prices increased ...

 

La Fontana (I recommend only the Bar, beautiful 50's atmosphere, good tapas and cocktails, quiet, cool, fish and turtles swim at your feet)

Calle 46 #305 esq. a 3ra, Miramar - (+53) 7-202 8337

 

La Guarida (The best paladar in Cuba - crowded - reservation is essential, beautiful open roof terrace and bar)

Concordia #418 e/ Gervasio y Escobar, Centro Habana

(+53) 7-866 9047

 

San Cristóbal (kitschy atmosphere but very good food - Obama ate there ...)

San Rafael #469 e/ Lealtad y Campanario, Centro Habana

(+53) 7-860 9109


 

Doña Eutimia (touristy, good food, crowded)

Callejón del Chorro #60C, Plaza de la Catedral, Habana Vieja

(+53) 7-861 1332

 

Espacios ( Great tapas, BBQ, private garden, good crowd, cool garden, frequented by musicians and artists )

Calle 10 e 5 y 7, Miramar - (+53) 7-202 2921

 

Otramanera (possibly among the best in HAV right now)
A/C room inside, 2 tables in patio, reservation needed.

Calle 35 e 20 y 41, Playa, close to the Casa de la Musica.
(+53) 7-203 8315

 

Casa Abel, Paladar and Cigar lounge by Abel Esposito, former manager of LCDH Partagas
319 San Lazaro esq/ Nicolas, Centro Habana
(+53) 7-860 6589

 

 

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New spot Jesus Maria #20 in San Ysidro nestled mid block on Jesus Maria between Mercaderes & San Ignacio

This was the place the Parades Pintadas launch party was held last year. Now recently opened as a restaurant.

Food and service both excellent. Dined on the upstairs patio. Stunning artwork.

 

Also enjoyed Destino - great spot for dinner and a smoke after in the cigar corner.

 

Excellent food at La Divina Pastora across the bay for the welcome dinner. Roast suckling pig, lobster/chicken/steak cooked to order. Large charcuterie and cheese station, awesome desserts and an open Rum bar. Best food yet and didn't hear anyone got sick.

 

Also enjoyed Michifu - thanks for the invite @Ryan!

 

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1 hour ago, nino said:

 

Buena Vista Curry Club ( Great and genuine Indian Curry place in old Havana, Indian chef, fantastic Chicken Tikka Massala, Garlic Naan, recommended ! )

 

Tejadillo 24 e/ Cuba y San Ignacio, (+53) 7862 7379

When wandering  Habana Vieja, a must at least once on a trip for a lazy long lunch. Who would have thought.....brilliant Indian in Havana!

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