Best restaurants in Havana

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Habana Vieja

    Lamparilla 361 Tapas & Cervezas

    Havana’s best tapas bar might also be its finest all-round eating establishment, with food, presentation and service down to a fine art. Inside the loungy, romantically lit restaurant there’s plenty to look at as you enjoy ice-cold beer, fabulous cocktails, and creative but interestingly presented tapas (on plates, slates, pans and mini-shopping trolleys). Best of all is the sharp, discreet and multilingual service that ought to be bottled and exported all around Cuba. You’ll need more than a postcard (or tweet) to list the standout food and drink items. Could they include the tapas-size lasagna, the meatballs served freshly made in the pan, the cornbread with sweet chicken, or the daiquiri that comes with a face iced onto it? It’s all epic!

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Habana Vieja

    Doña Eutimia

    The secret at Doña Eutimia is that there is no secret: just serve decent-size portions of the best Cuban food. Expect the likes of ropa vieja (shredded beef; there's also an interesting lamb version), epic picadillo a la habanera (spicy beef), glorious lechón asado (roast pork) and beautifully rustic roast chicken, all served with ample rice, beans and fried plantains. This is trip-defining food of the highest order, and proof that Cuba's traditional cuisine, when prepared properly, can be pretty spectacular. The restaurant is located in a cul-de-sac near the cathedral. Reserve a day ahead.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Habana Vieja

    El Rum Rum de la Habana

    Not every restaurant has a wine sommelier and a cigar sommelier, but this is Havana, and El Rum Rum (the name references both the drink and Cuban slang for ‘gossip’) can put you straight on every area of consumption. Everything is outstanding here, from the delicate seafood to the concert-worthy musical entertainment. The menu’s a feast of Cuban specialties full of subtle scents and sauces. There’s caldereta de mariscos (a rich seafood stew), steak with three toppings, a paella worthy of Valencia, and about 10 ways of imbibing your mojito. Service, led by sommelier and owner Osiris Oramas, is exemplary, directing you toward the best rum and food flavors, and there are several spaces – including an air-conditioned VIP room – in which to eat.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Habana del Este

    Ajiaco Café

    There are, arguably, two reasons to come to suburban Cojímar: 1) to pursue the ghost of Ernest Hemingway and 2) to visit this farm-to-table restaurant named for a quintessential Cuban stew that headlines a menu of Cuban classics, all executed with rustic creativity. Here you can order fried chickpeas, pork ribs in a barbecue-and-honey sauce, or a unique shredded-beef and plantain pizza. Service in the open-sided country-style restaurant is exceptional, and the smooth coffee might just be the finest in Cuba. Best of all, Ajiaco offers cooking classes (CUC$50; 10am-1pm) that involve a visit to a nearby finca (farm) to choose ingredients, followed by time to prep, cook and eat your selected concoction back at the restaurant. Classes run daily if there are enough people.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Habana Vieja

    El del Frente

    When the owners of O'Reilly 304 wanted to expand their increasingly popular restaurant a few years back, they opened another one directly across the street and amusingly called it El del Frente ('The One in Front'). It's more of the same culinary genius, with a few bonuses – a roof terrace, retro 1950s design features and heady gin cocktails. Partake in the lobster tacos, octopus salad or drinks from what are possibly Havana's best mixologists and enjoy it all under the stars. The entrance is through a modest door in Calle O'Reilly. Book ahead; it's insanely popular.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Vedado

    Café Laurent

    Talk about a hidden gem. The unsigned Café Laurent is a sophisticated fine-dining restaurant encased, incongruously, in a glaringly ugly 1950s apartment block next to the Focsa building. Starched white tablecloths, polished glasses and lacy drapes furnish the bright modernist interior, while seafood risotto and artistically presented pork sautéed with dry fruit and red wine headline the Cuban-Spanish menu. Take the creaky lift up five floors for a culinary surprise.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Habana Vieja

    Lo de Monik

    Eschewing colonial splendor for a French bistro feel, the Monk blends seamlessly into the increasingly chic Loma del Ángel quarter, with a bright-white interior and arguably the city’s friendliest and chattiest staff. Search the ever-changing blackboard menu for brunch or tapas ideas (fish tacos, well-stuffed Cuban baguettes, creamy cheesecake) and come back later for spectacular cocktails.

  • Restaurants in Habana Vieja

    Paladar Los Mercaderes

    This private restaurant in a historic building has to be one of Cuba's most refined paladares (privately run restaurants) for ambience, service and food, both Cuban and international. Follow a marble staircase to a luxurious 1st-floor dining room where violinists play and the menu lists the provenance of the farm-to-table food: Cojímar sardines, Pinar del Río pork and Camagüeyan ropa vieja (shredded beef). While the ingredients are steadfastly local, the cooking techniques show international creativity, with such renderings as fish in Sri Lankan red-curry sauce and lobster in pineapple glaze.

  • Restaurants in Habana Vieja

    D'Next

    On the cusp of trendy Plaza del Cristo, the much-loved D’Next is ridiculously cheap, ridiculously busy and ridiculously good. Decorated sports-bar style with plastic seats and paper menus, it’s particularly popular with young Cubans for its cheap burgers, icy air-conditioning and late-night cake indulgences. Try a large dollop of tres leches cake with a fruit batido (shake) at around 11:30pm and come back in the morning for the CUC$3.95 American breakfast. Table service is as sharp as the fluorescent spotlights.

  • Restaurants in Habana Vieja

    Trattoria 5esquinas

    Best Italian restaurant in Havana? There are a few contenders, but 5esquinas makes a strong claim. It has the full trattoria vibe, right down to the glow of the pizza oven and the aroma of roasted garlic. Visiting Italians won't be disappointed with the seafood pasta (generous on the lobster) or the crab-and-spinach cannelloni. Round off your meal with tiramisu. As the name suggests, the restaurant lies on a junction of five streets, in the Loma del Ángel quarter.

  • Restaurants in Habana Vieja

    Donde Lis

    The Lis' interior is like a modern love letter to Havana: iconography from the Rat Pack era of the 1950s, reproduced 20th-century tropical art, and bright colors splashed onto old colonial walls. The menu is a carefully cultivated mélange of flavors, presenting Cuban staples with modern twists – octopus with guacamole, lobster enchilados – along with some Italian and Spanish cameos.

  • Restaurants in Habana Vieja

    El Café

    There are many cafes in Havana these days, but only one El Café, a delicious mix of tight service, exceptional coffee and homemade sourdough sandwiches supplemented by all-day brunchy breakfasts. It’s popular with indie travelers courtesy of its ample vegan and vegetarian options, including avocado and hummus varietals. Arrive early to get a seat.

  • Restaurants in Habana Vieja

    5 Sentidos

    The romantically named five feelings (5 sentidos) ought to excite at least three of yours. The open kitchen allows for the free circulation of inviting aromas, the French-bistro decor (all painted wood and elegant chandeliers) is pleasing to the eye, and your taste buds won’t leave unstimulated after you’ve savored the ceviche, octopus or melt-in-the-mouth lamb stew. Cuba’s reputation as a place to skip dessert comes a cropper here, too. The multi-textured ‘chocolat’ or the cream cheese coated in guava glaze could compete with anything in Michelin-starred, celebrity-chef-obsessed Europe or North America. The discreet but sharp service is similarly world class.

  • Restaurants in Habana Vieja

    Más Habana

    There are multiple reasons you may request más (more) of Havana once you’ve visited this new culinary institution. There’s the effortlessly cool interior ( nuevo industrial with artistic splashes), the happy-hour cocktails (daiquiris stand out), the modern renderings of classic Cuban food, and the thoroughly reasonable prices that draw both tourists and locals. The small two-level interior has an attractive but refined ambience: it's Fábrica de Arte Cubano meets modern French bistro. It would be remiss not to mention the stuffed plantains, cinnamon-laced lamb and exceptionally tender octopus.

  • Restaurants in Vedado

    Opera

    Hitting the high notes of Cuban-Italian cuisine, Opera is housed in a colonnaded villa with a billiard table in the front room and the strains of Carmen or Aida fluttering over the sound system. The food is equally dramatic and embraces the Italian 'Slow Food' philosophy, encompassing homemade gnocchi stuffed with yucca and rabbit cooked in Bucanero beer. Vegetarians are well catered for here. The eggplant-ratatouille appetizer provides a good overture and the fruit tartlet is a perfect coda. The wine list is extensive, but sitting outside on a hot night it's hard to go past the sangria or a classic spritz.

  • Restaurants in Vedado

    El Cimarrón

    Family-run farm-to-table restaurant and social project that hosts evening peñas (music and dance performances), organizes cooking classes, and oversees an on-site casa particular. El Cimarrón (the name means ‘runaway slave’) wears many hats and succeeds on every level. There’s a strong Afro-Cuban vibe in the art, bamboo furniture and percussive instruments, but the food’s steadfastly criolla, with good vegetarian options. Overall, it’s a wonderfully interactive place where you can not only dine but dance, learn to make a mojito and chat to the cooks about their organic farm in Matanzas.

  • Restaurants in Vedado

    Casa Mia Paladar

    Rather than blinding you with fancy decor, clean-lined Casa Mia, abutting the Malecón, saves its surprises for the food, a simple menu that rests proudly on the classic foundations of Cuban cooking. The highlight in a medley of standouts is the cerdo cooked Pinar del Río style, which, as locals will tell you, is the melt-in-your-mouth pinnacle of Cuban pork. Back it up with sides of moros y cristianos (rice and beans) and fried plantains to enjoy the full fruits of the Cuban countryside in the heart of the city. The discreet but efficient table service is up there with the best in Havana.

  • Restaurants in Vedado

    El Biky

    Arriving like a breath of fresh air half a decade ago, Biky helped reinvent Havana’s evolving brunch-lunch scene with its affordable quick-fire food, served in a modern cafe-restaurant hung with retro pre-revolution photos. It was so successful that it has since morphed into a ‘gastronomic complex,’ adding a cool bar and Havana’s best bakery next door. Breakfast at one of the smart cafe booths is always a pleasure, especially if you ask for one of the fresh-baked croissants to be brought through (it'll pair perfectly with a café cortado or a frapuccino).

  • Restaurants in Habana Vieja

    O'Reilly 304

    Fill a small bar-restaurant nightly with a buoyant crowd all happy to be enjoying potent cocktails, delectable food and Havana's tastiest plantain chips, and you've got a guaranteed recipe for success. As well as producing the best fruity alcoholic beverages in Havana, O'Reilly delivers its finest ceviche, tacos and fish, accompanied by a crispy mélange of vegetables. The small interior is cleverly laid out to make the most of a mezzanine floor and the atmosphere is rarely anything less than electric. If it's busy, don't fret: turnover is high and tables can quickly vacate.

  • Restaurants in Habana Vieja

    Restaurante Antojos

    A place to satisfy your whims (antojos), particularly if you’re feeling whimsical about daiquiris, generously stuffed pulled-pork baguettes or chunky tostones (fried plantain). Wander into the dessert realm (they serve ‘em any time) and you’ll be equally stirred, particularly if you choose a warm bowl of cinnamon-laced arroz con leche (rice pudding). Occupying a handsome spot in cafe-lined Callejón de Espada, Antojos is new to the game (it opened in February 2019) but already vying for promotion to Havana’s gastronomic premier league.