30 Best Restaurants in Havana, Cuba

Decamerón

$$ | Vedado Fodor's choice
Ring the bell of this cozy paladar to be let into a series of intimate rooms packed with an eclectic array of antique clocks, vintage musical instruments, paintings, lamps, and vases. For something typically Cuban with a gourmet twist, go for the ropa vieja (shredded beef in Creole sauce) with crunchy sweet potatoes. If you're looking for something a little more international, try the sirloin steak with blue cheese sauce or one of the excellent pasta dishes. Of the house specialties, the flaky tuna and vegetable tartlet starter or the lemon pie for dessert are particularly good.
Linea 753, e/ Paseo y Calle 2, Havana, 10400, Cuba
7832--2444
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Reservations essential

El Cocinero

$$ | Vedado Fodor's choice
Housed in an old renovated oil mill, this place is easy to find, with its name branded in giant letters across the towering brick chimney. Located at the edge of Vedado, it might be a bit of a trek to get here, but it's definitely worth it for one of Havana's trendiest eateries. Step inside to the clanging of an old ship's bell (indicating a new customer has arrived) and climb the winding staircase into the mill itself. Stop on middle level for the industrial-chic restaurant, where tasty Cuban and international favorites are served, or head on up to the atmospheric terrace to enjoy gourmet snacks and cocktails. There's everything here, from lobster tail, fish croquettes, and octopus cooked in garlic to ribs, lamb curry, and goat-cheese club sandwich.

La Guarida

$$$$ | Centro Habana Fodor's choice

Still Havana's most famous paladar, La Guardia has reached almost legendary status. Enrique Nuñez and his wife, Odeysis, have transformed their early 20th-century town house into a fine paladar. It's so photogenic that scenes in Fresa y Chocolate (Strawberry and Chocolate) were filmed here. The three-floor climb up the squalid but picturesque stairway generates an appetite-enhancing adrenaline. The daily special is never what Enrique and Odeysis need to get rid of but rather what they hope will make you happiest. Look for cherna compuesta a lo caimanero (with coconut and spices) or conejoal aceite de oliva con caponata (cooked in olive oil with a sauce of eggplant, peppers, and onion). On Sunday the restaurant is open only for brunch from noon to 4.

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Paladar Maeda

$ | Habana del Este Fodor's choice
In a small residential area on top of a hill in Guanabo, this charming paladar is the best in town. What's more is that it actually does feel like you're dining in someone's home, unlike some of Havana's more modern paladares. Here you'll dine on modern Cuban classics and an excellent array of fresh seafood dishes, in a pretty garden, filled with flowers, grape vines, and trickling fountains. Try the grilled fish with salsa verde. There are no vegetarian choices on the menu, but if you ask, they'll make you up a giant parilla de verduras (grilled platter of mixed vegetables), straight from the barbecue. If you like it, you can even opt to stay here, as they also have a couple of rooms for rent upstairs.

Aguiar

$$$$ | Vedado

For decades, the elegant dining room in the Hotel Nacional has been one of the city's premier establishments. Despite the table-side shrimp-and-rum flambé performances, which are always entertaining, the atmosphere is generally subdued—even when the place is full. The wine list is excellent, though pricey.

Bodegón Onda

$$ | La Habana Vieja

In a quiet corner next to the Hotel El Comendador, this restaurant offers an array of tapas, which includes various seafood offerings. On top of that, it also offers grilled fare such as vegetables, chicken, pork, and fish. Tapas servings vary from CUC$1 to CUC$3, a great deal in any destination. Seafood tapas menus can be had for CUC$12 for two persons. Service is rather slow, but friendly.

Calle Obrapía 55, Havana, 10100, Cuba
7864–6021
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted

Cafe de los Artistas

$ | La Habana Vieja
Located down the trendy Callejón de Peluquerros, lined with new paladares, bars, and art galleries, this eatery offers some of the tastiest and most innovative cuisine in Havana Vieja. Think Cuban-style fajitas or wild rice with peanuts and curry. Vegetarians will be delighted with the choices, which include a savory eggplant cake, topped with a tomato salsa and melted cheese. The decor here matches the excellent food, with bare brick walls, original tiles, stained glass windows, and old black-and-white photos lining the walls.

Café del Oriente

$$ | La Habana Vieja

One of the most sophisticated-looking eateries in Havana Vieja, this upscale restaurant sits on the atmospheric Plaza de San Francisco. Try for the upstairs corner table, which overlooks the plaza and has a view of the Sierra Maestra boat terminal, the Iglesia y Convento Menor de San Francisco de Asís, and the Lonja del Comercio (Commerce Exchange) across the way. The food is overpriced and only fair, but the suave decor does offer a nice ambience. Tempting dishes here, prepared by head chef Ernesto Rosario, include seafood à la crème or prawns sautéed with rosemary.

Calle de los Oficios 112, Havana, 10100, Cuba
7860–6686
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted

Café Laurent

$$ | Vedado
This chic paladar, situated in the penthouse of a Vedado apartment block, could very well be located in Paris or Barcelona with its funky decor and gourmet cuisine. Choose to dine inside the bright dining room, plastered in newsprint, or outside on the breezy terrace, which offers dreamy views of Havana. With a heavy emphasis on seafood with a Creole twist, the menu also offers meat and vegetarian options, all beautifully presented—think red snapper with clams, lobster and shrimp brochettes, tuna carpaccio, or slow-roasted lamb.

Don Cangrejo

$$ | Miramar

Located near the seafront in the open air, this is one of Havana's best seafood restaurants. Shrimp, crab, lobster, grouper, snapper: every type of seafood available in the Antilles seems to find its way through this bustling kitchen. At night, the restaurant turns into one of Miramar's most popular nightclubs, with a host of live bands and DJs.

Av. 1, e/Calle 16 y Calle 18, Havana, 11500, Cuba
7204–3837
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted

El Aljibe

$$ | Miramar

One of the better state-owned restaurants, El Aljibe offers a pretty open-air setting and live music while you dine. The criollo fare here is reasonably priced and served gracefully, and the place is always filled to the brim with clued-in diners (including such celebrities as Omar Linares, Cuba's finest former baseball player), as well as bus loads of tourists. The roast chicken in bitter-orange sauce, served with black beans and rice is famous, and it's worth coming here just to try it.

Av. 7, e/Calle 24 y Calle 26, Havana, 11500, Cuba
7204–1584
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted

El Figaro

$$ | La Habana Vieja

Another popular addition to Callejón de Peluquerros (Barbers' Alley), El Figaro's tagline is comida sin pelos (food without hairs). The menu, which was set up by the grandson of Cuba's celebrity chef Gilberto Smith Duquesne, is full of gourmet, stylized Cuban dishes, as well as international favorites such as ceviche or gazpacho. Try the signature dish of lobster cooked in coffee, cream, white wine, and cognac.

Come later in the evening to watch old movies projected onto the outside wall (like a drive-in movie theater), while sampling one of their 15 varieties of mojitos.

El Mesón de la Flota

$$ | La Habana Vieja

Opened on the site of a warehouse that was frequented by Spanish sailors in colonial times, this little hideaway serves such creditable Spanish specialties as tortilla de patata (potato omelet) and gambas al ajillo (shrimp sautéed with garlic). The flamenco performances (nightly at 9) provide a bracing shot of atmosphere, although the Café Taberna just a couple hundred meters on tends to attract the crowds these days.

Calle Mercaderes 257, e/Calle Amargura y Calle Brasil (Teniente Rey), Havana, 10100, Cuba
7863–3838
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: No credit cards

Hanoi

$ | Centro Habana

Also known as Casa de la Parra (House of the Grape Arbor), this simple, yet elegant restaurant only specializes in typical criollo and Cuban food, despite the name. Sit inside under old wooden beams or outside on the patio under shady grape vines while dining on the classic menu that includes such dishes as morros y cristianos (rice and beans), boniato cocido (boiled yam), various grilled meats, and fish and vegetable fried rice. Although the price is right, make sure to check your bill before paying as sometimes they overcharge.

Calle Brasil (Teniente Rey) y Calle Bernaza, Havana, Cuba
7867–1029
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted

Jardín del Oriente

$ | La Habana Vieja
Those on a budget should try this lovely little place located in the gardens of Café del Oriente, which is just around the corner. A favorite with locals on their lunch break, tables are set among the tropical plants and trickling fountains, and it's always packed. Typical Cuban fare is served, as well as an array of filled baguettes. Portions are big and you won't pay more than CUC$5 for any of the main meals.
Calle Amargura 12, e/Oficios y Mercaderes, Havana, 10100, Cuba
7860--6686

La Divina Pastora

$$ | Habana del Este

Although prices are on the high side, the romantic location makes them worth it. Standing at the foot of El Morro, this restaurant offers splendid views over Havana and is a good spot for dinner after the cañonazo at La Cabaña. Your best bet is lobster; kept alive in an on-site tank, it's guaranteed to be fresh.

Havana, Cuba
7937–807
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted

La Flor de Loto

$ | Centro Habana

While both its decor, neighborhood, and context may be Chinese, this restaurant has very little to do with the Orient. (Frankly, rare is the Asiatic face at any Havana Chinese eatery.) Very popular with locals, there's always a queue halfway out the door. The restaurant's menu includes a wide variety of food that is popular with Cubans. The grilled chicken criollo-style is grand and not dry at all, while the shrimp in a cream sauce is delicious. Prepare yourself for king-size portions. Daily offerings and the chef's selections are stapled to the menu daily.

Havana, 10200, Cuba
7860--8501
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted

La Fontana

$$ | Miramar

Set in a scenic garden, around small ponds and fountains, this is one of Miramar's best paladares, which also functions as a bar and lounge with good cocktails and some great live bands. Specializing in a variety of grilled meats, which are cooked on an outdoor charcoal grill, this place will definitely satisfy the carnivores among you. Other excellent dishes include shrimp teriyaki and fish fillet with clams in a green herb sauce. Vegetarians meanwhile will be happy with the starters of eggplant or fried chickpeas and mains of grilled vegetable platters, risottos, and pastas. Sometimes there is an extra cover charge for the music.

La Paella

$$ | La Habana Vieja

In the Hostal Valencia, this restaurant specializes in paella, just as its name suggests, and has won high praise for its Valencian dishes. House suggestions include grilled Caribbean seafood, Yoruba lobster with béchamel sauce, and buttered shrimp. In keeping with the cuisine, the large, airy dining room has a terra-cotta floor, a rustic feel, and is dressed in traditional Spanish furnishings. A signed image of a notable bullfighter, another of the running of the bulls, and even a memento to former president Fidel Castro Ruz dating from 1989 adorn the walls here.

Calle de los Oficios 53, esq. de Calle Obrapía, Havana, 10100, Cuba
7867–1037
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted

Le Chansonnier

$$ | Vedado
Once a private French restaurant, Le Chansonnier has now emerged into one of Havana's hottest paladares under the direction of Hector Higueras. In its modern chic interior, dine on fusion specialities such as seafood gazpacho, aubergine au gratin, roast chicken with mushroom cream, and their signature duck terrine. Make a visit the bathrooms to see the amazing artwork created by Damián Alquiles.

Los Nardos

$ | Centro Habana

Situated right across from the Capitolio, it might be easy to miss Los Nardos if it wasn't for the long queues. Popular among locals, hefty portions of red snapper, rabbit or chicken and lamb stew are served up daily. There's virtually no exterior signage, and the restaurant is decorated with locally crafted wooden lamps, tables, and chairs, giving the dining room an eclectic decor and a romantic ambience. Make sure that you are on the first floor—and not the upper floor, which is another less stellar eatery.

Paseo del Prado 563, Havana, Cuba
7863–2985
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted

Mama Inés

$$ | La Habana Vieja
Ask anyone in Havana Vieja which places they recommend to eat and they'll almost always mention Mama Inés. Owned by chef Erasmo, who has cooked for everyone and anyone including presidents and diplomats, this intimate colonial-style paladar serves classic Creole dishes using the freshest ingredients. Erasmo himself is very humble and friendly, and always comes out of the kitchen to check on diners. Dishes are a little overpriced for what they are, but you are being cooked for by a famous chef.
Calle Obrapia 60, e/Oficios y Baratillo, Havana, 10100, Cuba
7862--2669

Nao Bar Paladar

$ | La Habana Vieja
Located in a quiet alley near the waterfront, this cozy and intimate paladar serves up tasty Cuban dishes with an emphasis on seafood. Seated under old wooden beams and surrounded by colorful antique lamps, you can sit back and enjoy the rhythms of the house band Legendario Havana. Try the Cuban tamales or malanga fritters with honey to start, followed by the giant mermaid lobster or fresh catch of the day. Like most places in Havana, you won't find many vegetarian options on the menu, but the staff here will be happy to cook up something special for you if you ask (and it won't just be an omelet or rice and beans).
Calle Obispo 1 e/San Pedro y Baratillo, Havana, 10100, Cuba
7867–3463

Paladar el Piccolo

$ | Habana del Este
This place is a little far out of town, but hitch a ride on one of Guanabo's quaint horse and carts, and for a couple of CUC's, you'll be there in no time. Set in a rustic dining room with a large outdoor patio and open kitchen, this lively paladar serves some of the best pizzas you will find in the whole of Cuba. Watch as your pizza is cooked in a traditional wood-fired oven in front of you.

Restaurante Europa

$ | La Habana Vieja

From its beginnings as the 19th-century Europa Café, the onetime famous colonial-style café and candy shop has reopened as a restaurant serving Cuban and international cuisine. As is typical here, a band plays live Cuban music, greeting visitors walking down Obispo towards the port. Dishes are uninspiring, but if you just want a cheap and simple lunch, this place is good. Plates include basic grilled chicken fillets, traditional Cuban hashed beef, and simple sandwiches cooked by chef Ernesto. There's an extensive cocktail list and an impressively stocked bar. As is often the case in Cuba, the restaurant even sells tobacco products.

Calle Obispo 112, adjacent to Aguiar, Havana, 10100, Cuba
7866–4484
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted

Restaurante Paris

$$ | La Habana Vieja

Formerly named El Patio, Restaurante Paris is still a romantic and atmospheric option for a meal. It might be hard to pick a spot here: tables are either out on the Plaza de la Catedral or in the patio of the colonial house in which the restaurant is located. The criollo menu is complete, and although the food and service fall short of the spectacular settings, the quality of the ingredients is good. Most notable are the array of seafood dishes, such as lobster in salsa criollo or grilled fish.

Plaza de la Catedral 54, Havana, 10100, Cuba
7867–1035
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted

Taberna El Molino

$ | La Habana Vieja

Located at the rear of the quiet and elegant Hotel Marqués de Prado Ameno, the decor here is simple and understated and dishes range from alluring fare like grilled seafood, langoustines, or filet mignon to the simple, homey stuffed chicken and vegetables that Cubans seem to favor. The best options are its two signature dishes—cider chicken or honey pork. Desserts are uninspiring, including such standbys as cheesecake, chocolate cake, and ice cream, but try the strong but tasty Café Cubano to top off your meal.

Calle O'Reilly 253, e/Cuba y Aguiar, Havana, 10100, Cuba
7862–4127
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted

Tien-Tan

$ | Centro Habana

Its name means "heaven's temple" in Mandarin, and this temple to Chinese cuisine has enough worshippers that you'll be lucky to find a spot inside. No matter, though, as there are tables outside as well—all the better for watching passersby on Chinatown's wildest street. Prices vary wildly depending on what you order, and while the food is cooked by Chinese chef Xio Luo, it could be a little fresher. Certain dishes (such as the crispy duck) must be ordered in advance.

Calle Cuchillo 17, e/Calle Zanja y Calle San Nicolas, Havana, 10200, Cuba
7861–5478
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: No credit cards

Vistamar

$ | Miramar

Overlooking the Straits of Florida, this cozy little paladar is set in an attractive Miramar home, and provides alfresco dining with, as its name suggests, fine views—well, at sunset anyway (at night, it's blacker than Hades out there). The dishes are good quality and specialties include octopus and lobster tails. The lemon pie also comes highly recommended. Spectacular views, good food, and live Cuban tunes—what more could you ask for?

Av. 1, No. 2206, e/Calle 22 y Calle 24, Havana, 11500, Cuba
7203–8328
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Reservations essential, No credit cards

Vuelta Abajo

$$ | La Habana Vieja

An elegant, intimate spot in the Hostal Conde de Villanueva, this restaurant specializes in dishes from Vuelta Abajo, Cuba's best tobacco-growing region. Try the pollo yumurino (in a criollo sauce) or the colonial-trapiche fish fillet, which is garnished with a piece of sugarcane dressed in a ginger sauce.