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. Café del Oriente

    $$ | La Habana Vieja | Cajun

    One of the most sophisticated-looking eateries in Havana Vieja, this upscale restaurant sits on the atmospheric Plaza de San Francisco. Try...Read More

  • 2. El Aljibe

    $$ | Miramar | Cajun

    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...Read More

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. Restaurante Paris

    $$ | La Habana Vieja | Cajun

    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...Read More

  • 6. 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

  • 7. Vuelta Abajo

    $$ | La Habana Vieja | Cajun

    An elegant, intimate spot in the Hostal Conde de Villanueva, this restaurant specializes in dishes from Vuelta Abajo, Cuba's best tobacco-growing...Read More

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