Havana Restaurants

Shortages of raw materials and a bureaucratized approach to food preparation in state-owned restaurants have produced many a mediocre meal, but with the privateer restaurants leading the way, Cuban cuisine is coming back. For the best cooking in Havana, seek out the paladares (privately owned establishments; the name, which literally means "palates," was cribbed from a popular Brazilian soap opera in which the heroine makes her fortune with a roadside restaurant named "El Paladar de Raquel"). Call ahead to reserve a table if you go to a paladar, and never believe a taxi driver who swears to you that the place is closed; he gets a commission for taking you to the place he is flacking for.

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  • 1. Paladar Maeda

    $ | Cuban

    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...Read More

  • 2. Cafe de los Artistas

    $ | La Habana Vieja | International

    Located down the trendy Callejón de Peluquerros, lined with new paladares, bars, and art galleries, this eatery offers some of the tastiest...Read More

  • 3. Hanoi

    $ | Centro Habana | Cuban

    Also known as Casa de la Parra (House of the Grape Arbor), this simple, yet elegant restaurant only specializes in typical criollo and Cuban...Read More

  • 4. Jardín del Oriente

    $ | La Habana Vieja | Cuban

    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...Read More

  • 5. La Flor de Loto

    $ | Centro Habana | Chinese

    While both its decor, neighborhood, and context may be Chinese, this restaurant has very little to do with the Orient. (Frankly, rare is the...Read More

  • 6. Los Nardos

    $ | Centro Habana | Cajun

    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...Read More

  • 7. Nao Bar Paladar

    $ | La Habana Vieja | Cuban

    Located in a quiet alley near the waterfront, this cozy and intimate paladar serves up tasty Cuban dishes with an emphasis on seafood. Seated...Read More

  • 8. Paladar el Piccolo

    $ | Habana del Este | Italian

    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...Read More

  • 9. Restaurante Europa

    $ | La Habana Vieja | Cajun

    From its beginnings as the 19th-century Europa Café, the onetime famous colonial-style café and candy shop has reopened as a restaurant serving...Read More

  • 10. Taberna El Molino

    $ | La Habana Vieja | Cuban

    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...Read More

  • 11. Tien-Tan

    $ | Centro Habana | Chinese

    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...Read More

  • 12. Vistamar

    $ | Miramar | Cajun

    Overlooking the Straits of Florida, this cozy little paladar is set in an attractive Miramar home, and provides alfresco dining with, as its...Read More

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