view of the bar at Eclectico at Paseo 206 in Havana Cuba

Restaurants in Havana We Think Are Better Than La Guarida

Please don’t take the title of this post the wrong way—we love La Guarida. It’s Havana’s most celebrated paladar. Great food, great space, stunning views of the city from the rooftop bar—it’s all great. And if you’re wondering if you should go there on your trip, we want to make sure it’s crystal clear: La Guarida should not be missed.  

But as legendary and amazing as La Guarida is, the food scene in Havana has come a long way in the past decade or two. There is now stiff competition out there among the best restaurants, so we wanted to share some of our favorite picks, and you can decide for yourself. Here goes:

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Grados

If you really like food, there is one paladar that you must try during your visit to Cuba: Grados. Owned and operated by head cook and culinary force of nature Raulito Bazuk, the menu is a constantly changing experimentation of traditional Cuban flavors reimagined in new and interesting ways.

Located in the house where Bazuk grew up in a residential area of Vedado, a meal at Grados is a special experience—an indulgence of flavors and a multi-sensorial education in the Cuban culinary palate. Put another way, when New York Times food critic Mark Bittman went to Cuba, he went to Grados.

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Otramanera

Located out of the way in a quiet corner of Miramar, Otramanera is another paladar that strives—and succeeds—at creating truly delicious food in a chaotic culinary environment. In addition to high level versions of traditional dishes (like Ropa Vieja), the menu features creative soups, salads and other small dishes that demonstrate an attention to detail and dedication to complex flavors that is rare at many of Cuba’s paladares. It’s location is also a great excuse to explore the Miramar of Havana, which is full of quiet streets, embassy buildings, and well maintained architectural gems. A stop at Fábrica de Arte, which is close by, after dinner is not a bad idea.

Yarini 

tables and plants at Yarini Habana Rooftop

Yarini is owned by one of Cuba’s most beloved and successful living film actors, the talented Jorge Perugorría. (Side note: Netflix’ Four Seasons in Havana, which he stars in, is a terrific watch.) The food and the ambiance at Yarini are outstanding and the backstory is fascinating. Located on a multilevel rooftop with amazing views of San Isidro, a historically marginalized Afro-Cuban neighborhood in Old Havana, Yarini gets its namesake from a Robin Hood-esque historical figure who was gunned down in the streets not far from the restaurant. They frequently host music and DJs as well, which lands them on our list of culture nightlife faves as well.

Eclectico

Paseo 206 exterior view in Havana Cuba

Eclectico is the in-house Italian restaurant at Paseo 206 Boutique Hotel, which BTW is among Havana’s nicest private lodging options. It’s owned by an Italian-Cuban family, so they know what they are doing—their menu is almost certainly the best Italian-Cuban food on the entire island.

Cinco Sentidos

street view of Cinco Sentidos restaurant in Havana Cuba

Nestled in the heart of Old Havana, the charming Cinco Sentidos is one of the few in the city that feels like it could hold its own against the competition in any city in the Americas. In an area of lots of touristy, mediocre options, this place is doing the Cuban-meets-international-cuisine thing really well.

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Manteca

view of bar and cityscape in Manteca restaurant in Havana Cuba

As you’d imagine, the rooftop bar and restaurant at a hotel like Tribe Caribe Cayo Hueso is going to be top-tier. The menu at Manteca includes savory delights like slow-roasted pork with tangy citrus glaze and the carefully crafted drinks blend seamlessly with panoramic views. The entire endeavor—the hotel, the restaurant, and the café and music venue on the first floor—are the work of Venezuelan music producer Andres Levin, who it seems, is not one to half-ass anything.

Fangio

Located at the Claxon Hotel Boutique in Vedado, Fangio offers a limited, but delicious menu of fish, pasta, salad and vegetarian dishes. With seating indoors, outdoors in the gardens, front portico or rooftop, this is a great option for breakfast, lunch or dinner. They often have live music at night, landing them on our culture nightlife picks as well!

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