Located in Vedado, not far from the Melia Habana hotel, L’Atelier is a sweet spot of great food, atmosphere, and service that make it a stand-out among Havana’s best restaurants. The menu features international and Cuban classics – including a beautiful confit of local duck and, of course, ropa vieja (an amazingly good version, in a pleasantly modest serving). The hand-written menu includes a number of beautifully presented fresh seafood offerings. We started with a smoked salmon and cream cheese terrine, perfect in every way and served in a small format that was true to the term “appetizer.” Then a beautiful tomato carpaccio – a large plate of razor-thin slices of ripe tomato covered with thin shavings of authentic parmesan cheese, with high-quality olive oil at the ready. Even the supreme de volaille (chicken supreme), an easy stumble, was a perfectly prepared tender and golden delight, served with family-style dishes of rice, black beans, and grilled vegetables. The main dining room is in the oblong, second-floor social room of one of the oldest houses standing in the neighborhood, over 100 years old and the former residence of a an early 20th century senator. It is pure laid-back style. When the weather is right, dinner is also served on an outside terrace, or in one of several intimate but airy side rooms. This is unquestionably one of those special restaurants that is defined by spirit–in this case the unpretentious passion of owner (and sometimes stand-in chef) Niurys, one of Havana’s amazing female entrepreneurs. You will always find her there, talking to guests and overseeing the warm and friendly service.
Address: Calle 5ta, No. 511 altos, entre Paseo y 2; Vedado
Tel: +53 78362025
Opening hours: Noon till midnight