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. Decamerón

    $$ | Vedado | Cuban

    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...Read More

  • 2. 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

  • 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 Divina Pastora

    $$ | Habana del Este | Cuban

    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...Read More

  • 6. 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

  • 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. 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

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