Popularity isn’t always an indicator of quality, but the crowds standing in line just off the Plaza del San Francisco are there for good reason.
Like so many of Havana's best spots, Espacios is hidden from plain sight set behind what looks like a typical Cuban residence.
If you’re looking for the Havana you’ve seen in movies, this is it.
Fabulous cocktails and locally sourced dishes are served in a dramatic, refurbished factory.
Starwood’s entry to the market is a promising sign of future partnerships.
If the city of Oz from the classic movie Wizard of Oz ever had a restaurant and bar, this is what it would look like.
The story goes that Ernest Hemingway liked to sit at the corner table overlooking the bay off the northern coastline of Cuba.
We are excited to announce that the third issue of Havana Insider is now out. Inside you’ll find reviews of...
It's the view that will really call you back. A sleek landing right on the water has picture-perfect sunset views.
It’s easy to imagine large groups sitting in this open-air pizzeria, downing Cristals, and never wanting to leave.
You could miss this understated restaurant that exudes exclusiveness the minute you walk through the gates.
Dinner for four at Le Cameron might run you close to 200 CUC, but few restaurants in Havana offer the same kind of getaway experience.
Tin Hao is well on its way to becoming a city-wide destination.
The Mexican owner went as far as bringing in a chef from his native country to whip the kitchen into shape. It shows.
Tucked along a quiet street in Cojimar behind wooden doors is one of Havana’s most exciting restaurants.
Even the Chinese and Italians could learn a thing or two from the grandmothers in the kitchen.
In a strikingly high-ceilinged 120-year-old Vedado mansion, this stylish second-floor paladar offers competently done international meat, poultry, pasta and seafood dishes that satisfy even if they don't always totally dazzle.
We just revisited this newish and slightly more spacious annex of Havana's coolest but enduring "in" bar, O'Reilly 304, just across the street. Their drinks are still some of the very best in a city.
Even if other Korean restaurants were around, we doubt they could capture the same magic that we found at Club Su Miramar.
Cubans are obsessed with eating pizza, and few obsess over making it quite like Ivano at La Siciliana.
Today, private restaurants or paladars in Cuba seem to be opening up everywhere in Havana. But you would hardly expect, in the crowded and bustling streets of Centro Habana, to find a Swedish restaurant.
If you like O’Reilly 304, one of the coolest bars/restaurants in town, you'll love their newest venture, just across the street.
La California, a few blocks away from the Malecón in Centro Habana, occupies a 19th century house that was a “cultural center” back in the 1930s.
I have never had such a refined tequila as this. It was first made for the Rolling Stones tour in 1972 and Jose Cuervo sponsored the event.
Our second print edition of Havana Insider is now available on the streets of Havana, and via free download on HavanaInsider.com.
This cool new tapas restaurant, opened in early January, is owned by Partagas Cigars' former manager for quality control, Támara Diaz and her husband Alexis Ortas.
Located on the second floor of a 19th century house in Old Havana, Los Mercaderes is one of the most popular Cuban restaurants in Havana.
Rightly named after its Spanish owner Pilar, this private restaurant or known as paladar here opened its doors three years ago, and is – without a doubt - one of the best Spanish restaurants in Havana.
Nero di Seppia is an Italian restaurant that opened in June 2015, a new venture from the previous owner (and chef) of La Carboncita - Walter Ginevri.
El Litoral, which literally translates to “The Coast”, rightly sits facing the ocean on the Malecón, sandwiched between the American Embassy and the Hotel Nacional.
You wouldn't expect President Obama to have dinner in a private restaurant on the evening of the first day of his official visit to Cuba - the first in nearly 90 years. But we think he made a good choice. President Obama chose Centro Habana's San Cristóbal - one of our favorite places to eat in the city.
The name of this private restaurant in Old Havana may evoke the delicious distillates produced on the island. Or maybe the sound of an old American car engine starting.
This small jazz venue located in the middle of Vedado area is owned by one of Cuban jazz giants, Lázaro Valdés.
This sensational bar, situated on the 34th floor of the tallest building of Cuba - FOCSA, has probably the best views in the city.
Named after Richard Egues, a flute player and soloist in Cuba’s legendary Orquesta Aragón band, who went by the nickname “the magic flute”, this bar is located on the rooftop of a 10-floor building that is right in front of the United States Embassy in Havana.
This gem Havana bar located in the iconic FOCSA building, the tallest building in Cuba in Vedado, fits all the criteria Luis Buñuel, the Spanish film director, described except one - music.
Located in Old Havana on a small street facing Havana’s Capitolio, this privately owned bar resembles more like a cantina
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.
A pleasant restaurant serving international cuisine with crisp modern and contemporary decor.
Located on the lower floor of an restored traditional limestone building with a few tables scattered in the pedestrian street, the food here is mainly Cuban, with pork and fish dominating the menu, which actually changes daily depending on the fresh ingredients available.
This seaside restaurant is located off a small bay right where Miramar meets the Malecon and where the Almendares river ends.
The mesmerizing campus of Havana's Instituto Superior de Arte was once the city's premier country club.
Located on the second floor of one of the newly restored buildings that surround the Plaza Vieja in Old Havana, this loud, funky and eclectically decorated lounge-like restaurant commands one of the most envious views of the ancient Plaza Vieja from its terrace.
The hip Café Laurent is located on the top floor of an eclectic building in the heart of Vedado, just a few blocks away from the historic Hotel Nacional. This paladar is refurbished from an old apartment, but one can still have the cozy feeling of dining in a living room.
Al Carbón, a new restaurant that opened only a few months ago in Havana, is a new addition to Havana's fine dining scene. Created by the same owners of the immensely popular Iván y Justo, the restaurant strikes out in a different but equally successful direction, specializing in traditional Cuban dishes cooked over charcoal.
This is hands down the best fish restaurant in Havana. Far from the salinas and commotion of Old Havana, it is tucked away near the mouth of the Jaimanitas river in a fishermen’s village of the same name in western Havana.
Café Bohemia offers a light menu that ranges from salads to Italian style panini named after both movie and novel titles.
This spectacular venue, which is located upstairs at the legendary Teatro Nacional in Vedado, offers some spectacular performances anything from trovadores or Cuba’s singer-songwriters to some of the most sought-after salsa ensembles.
This restaurant, whose name translates as "The Printer," is owned by Habaguanex, an enterprise of the Havnana City Historian's office. It is located on Calle Mercaderes in Old Havana, one door away from the famous Conde de Villanueva hotel, where you can also find one of Havana’s best cigar shops.
The Yellow Submarine, a bar located in Havana's Vedado, owes its name, as some of you might have guessed, to the Beatles’ seminal record - Havana's homage to the British pop band.
La Domínica, a lovely Italian restaurant facing Hemingway’s Ambos Mundos hotel in Old Havana, is one of the best Italian restaurants in Havana. The food is reasonably priced, and the live music performance really upped the experience.
Café Cantante Mi Habana is located in the basement of the Teatro Nacional, one of the corners of the iconic Plaza de la Revolución. It is very lively and well-kept, with lots of space for dancing, and some of the hottest, up-and-coming bands on the local scene are often jamming there.
Corte del Príncipe is an understated and unassuming little restaurant in Playa, one of the best Italian restaurants we've had so far in Havana.
One of the quirky bars in Havana, Bar Bohemio has more of a touch of elegance than what the name suggests.
A top Italian restaurant in Havana, Il Piccolo serves some delicious pizzas and pastas, a nice switch from rice and beans.
La Carboncita brings Italian flare with all the trimmings to an opulent area in Miramar. It's the most modernly styled Italian restaurant in Havana.
This really describes the vibe in Havana at the moment: everyone seems incredibly excited with the prospects ahead of more Americans visiting Cuba.
For Americans, traveling to Cuba can still be complicated. U.S. credit cards still don't work. These are the essentials to know for your Cuban trip.
Havana's dining scene is hot, with greater variety and quality than ever. Here are the top ten restaurants in Havana that you should try out.
Havana’s bar scene is really varied. There are venerable places, steeped in history or associated with major literary figures, such as Hemingway’s favourite, El Floridita. Most of these are state-owned and major draws for foreign visitors.
La Guarida, one of the first private restaurants in Havana, has become synonymous with fine dining in Cuba.
Clenching the second spot on our Havana's top ten restaurant list, El Cocinero in the residential Vedado is the coolest restaurant in Havana.
Havana's best hotel, Hotel Saratoga in the heart of Havana, opposite the landmark Capitolio, is the place of choice for visiting stars and other VIPs.
O'Reilly 304 in Old Havana probably is the trendiest and hippest restaurant in Cuba at the moment. Its tacos, ceviche and daiquiri are must orders.
The Barrio Chino or Chinatown in Central Havana has become a unique sight in Havana, an essential fabric of the Chinese immigrants' history in Cuba.
This 22-floor, 462-room Hotel Melia Cohiba in Havana’s Vedado area is Havana’s most luxurious and modern business hotel.
Located on Plaza de San Francisco in Old Havana, San Felipe y Santiago de Bejucal Hotel skilfully combines tradition and modernity.
Café de los Artistas, opened less than a year in Old Havana, is a purveyor of great food and feeling. It serves some great ropa vieja and the best tostones.
Microbreweries are catching on in Havana, and Cervecería Antiguo Almacen de la Madera y el Tabaco is at the forefront. It serves the best beer in Havana.
The University of Havana is the oldest university in Cuba and one of the oldest educational institutions in Latin America....
Tien Tan, hidden at the end of Barrio Chino (Chinatown) in Central Havana, is the best Chinese restaurant Havana has to offer.
El Templete, a nautical themed restaurant close to Plaza de Armas in Old Havana serves the best fish and seafood dishes in Havana.
Located in Central Havana just behind The Capitolio, Sia-Kara bar is a gem that has not yet made it onto many tourists’ radar.
Otramanera, a Spanish-Cuban fusion paladar run by a husband-and-wife team offers the best quality Spanish food in town.
People talk about Starbien as being one of the best restaurants in Havana. And, yes, the food is excellent quality.
Some people have been berating state-owned Cuban restaurants for shoddy service and bland food. They clearly haven’t been to El Aljibe yet.
Conveniently located on the eastern end of Plaza de Armas in Old Havana, Hotel Santa Isabel is one of the boutique hotels owned by the city's Habaguanex.
When owner Hubert Corrales told us La Esperanza is the “last vanguard of home-styled cooking in Havana,” we were very skeptical at...
The Colón Cemetery has become known nowadays more than a burial ground, but a place that showcases Cuban history and architecture.
La Rampa, which means “the slope” in Spanish, is the last stretch of the famous Calle 23, leading up to the center of Vedado, Havana.
King Bar in Vedado, Havana is definitely ruling the night scene like a king. This is one of the top bars the city has to offer.
Overlooking 17 Street in Miramar, Havana, where old American cars roam by, the atmosphere in Madrigal is unfettered by the bustling on the street.
Sloppy Joe's bar was perhaps one of the most luminous and lustrous places along side with Tropicana and Salón Rojo del Capri during the 1950s in Havana.
Once the cabaret salon of the luxurious Capri casino, Salon Rojo del Capri remains one of the classic spots in Havana’s nightlife.
La Casa de la Música de Miramar has been continuously delivering some of the hottest salsa performances in Havana since...
La Zorra y el Cuervo, a subterranean, cramped, smoky jazz club is the epitome of the genuine jazz joint –think of the Village Vanguard.
Many people are surprised to find there is a museum in Cuba dedicated to the French emperor Napoleon, and that wouldn’t...
The Museo de Artes Decorativas (Museum of Decorative Arts) is a work of art in its own right. The site is the original residence of María Luisa Gómez Mena, a wealthy patron of Cuban artists. Built in 1927, the sumptuous, French Renaissance-inspired mansion was designed by French architects P. Virad and M. Destugué. The residence was claimed by the Cuban government in 1964 and became what is known as today - the Museum of Decorative Arts.
This is a stop that visitors to Cuba have to make. Otherwise, what’s the point of visiting a country that is famous for its national drink - rum? Opened in 2000 by the country’s most famous rum brand Havana Club, the museum uses visuals and models to guide visitors through the whole rum-making process, from harvesting at sugarcane plantations to the final bottling process.
Cuban’s devotion to ice cream is almost religious, and there’s good reason why Coppelia is popularly known as the “ice-cream Cathedral”.
Hotel Nacional’s striking architecture, commanding seaside location on the Malecón in Vedado, Havana and retro feel make it a natural draw. The hotel has soul.
Tropicana, a legendary cabaret that first opened its doors in 1939, remains to this day one of the classic spots in Havana’s night life.
El Floridita is an institution in Havana for its daiquiri and its association with the towering literary figure Ernest Hemingway.
La Terraza is inarguably the best barbecue restaurant in Havana. The smoked pork chops in pineapple sauce, barbecued ribs and...
Ivan & Justo is a place where you can’t get in without a reservation. We chanced it twice, each time we were politely turned down by the doorman downstairs.
Under the influential Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC), Galería Villa Manuela in Vedado, has been pushing the boundaries...
Bella Ciao, a lush Italian restaurant deep in the Miramar area delivers stellar classics that stay faithful to their Italian roots. With outdoor seating under a roof of green ivies and trees, there’s a casual atmosphere that plays nicely off the classic austerity of many of the dishes on the impressively packed menu.
Opened in December 2009 by a Spanish art aficionado Concha Fontenla, this spacious art gallery on O’Reilly Street in Old...
The magnificent Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (Museum of Fine Arts) is a showcase of world and Cuban art, setting Havana's tone as a major art city.
At a quaint paladar like Doña Eutimia, offering hearty Cuban food at extremely reasonable prices, foodies beat a path to this top Cuban eatery.
La Bodeguita del Medio in Old Havana, popularized by Hemingway has never seen a shortage of patrons. If you want mojitos, this is the place.
Located in the upscale Embassy neighborhood of Miramar, the Meliá Habana Hotel is unquestionably one of Havana’s better hotels.
Corner café comes alive during the night when hip young Cubans converge in this pub for live music performances, DJ jam sessions and sultry jazz dancing.
An urban jungle just under the bridge of Calle 23, the Parque Almendares is located in the heart of the lively Vedado area.
Fábrica de Arte Cubano, an avant-garde artistic bar in Vedado area in Havana, is born out of the initiative of renowned Cuban musician X-Alfonso.
Café Miramar, a sleek jazz Club, located right next to the old Miramar cinema, has recently become one of the hot spots of Havana's jazz scene.
Founded in 1983 as a tribute to Wifredo Lam (1902-1982), Cuban’s most celebrated surrealist painter, it has grown into an important cultural institution.
This art institution was inaugurated on November 15th, 1986, and is best known for its photographic exhibitions. La Fototeca de...
Founded in 1962, Galería Habana is the first art gallery opened after the revolution. It is the country’s benchmark fine art gallery.
José Martí Memorial located on Plaza de la Revolución is dedicated to Cuba’s national hero José Martí.
Though Plaza de la Revolución is not particularly distinguished for its architecture or design, the square carries important historical weight for the Cuban Revolution.
Museo de la Revolución has a large exhibition of photographs, documents and memorabilia detailing Cubans’ struggle for independence and Fidel’s guerrilla revolution.
The resplendent El Capitolio standing solemnly in Centro Habana is one of most iconic buildings in the country. Inspired by...
Located in Havana’s Vedado, El Gato Tuerto is a dimly lit bar with gleaming furniture, crowned with a small stage and a few tables distributed around it.
Until the Saratoga was operational this was the best hotel in Havana. This attractive, large (427-room) hotel in Parque Central, opened in the '90s, is one of the newer additions to the city’s roster of top hotels.
The Parque Central is huddled by some of Havana’s most famous landmarks such as El Capitolio, Gran Teatro de La Habana, Manzana de Gomez and Payret Cinema.
There’s no better place to enjoy the pinnacle of Cuban performance arts than in the Gran Teatro de La Habana (The Great Theatre of Cuba).
Iglesia del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús is one of a few Gothic buildings in Havana. It remains the country’s tallest and most beautiful Catholic church.
The former residence of Count Villanueva was turned into a courtyard-style boutique hotel in Old Havana in 1998. One of the 20-odd hotels run by the city’s hotel brand Habaguanex, the nine-room hotel has a red façade that opens up to a lush courtyard. A café is hidden in the back of the courtyard, where free-roaming birds and peacocks amble lazily. The lobby and reception are well furbished and the front desk staff are more than willing to provide suggestions for visiting Old Havana.
El Palenque, a large Havana food court, a local institution, stands out as an unpretentious and authentic eating spot that that attracts a large number of Cuban families and foreigners.
Established in 1995, around the same time as La Guarida, La Fontana in Miramar endured through the years and worked...
This is one of the most upscale restaurants in Havana, located in Plaza de San Francisco in Habana Vieja (the very professional and jacketed waiters traded off-street salsa with classic live piano performance). The decor is striking and grandiose; you'll regret it if you dress down.
In a short span of two years since its opening in 2013, Mediterráneo has already amassed a loyal following among Havana foodies and visitors. The restaurant’s overall environment is agreeable: Mediterranean blue and white decor, spacious, airy, attractive and modern.
If you are pressed for time and have to pick one place to go for great food and drinks, make it O’Reilly 304, a hip and trendy bar in Old Havana.
This is the oldest square among Old Havana’s five squares built in the early 16th century. Plaza de Armas, was originally known as Plaza de la Iglesia.
El Cocinero, an airy bar in Vedado, has one of the most extensive drink menus in Havana. There are over 30 different cocktails.
Plaza de la Catedral, the best preserved of the old squares in Habana Vieja, owes its name to Catedral de San Cristobal...
Originally known as Plaza Nueva, meaning “new square” in English, Plaza Vieja was constructed in 1559, and was considered Havana’s...
French-style bakery is still a new concept in Havana, and you’d be surprised by how some local bakeries can turn out jaw-dropping, hard-as-a-rock chocolate muffins. Bianchini is in a class of its own, a bakery-cum-café that first opened near Plaza de Sanfrancisco over ten years ago.
Café El Escorial is the closest thing Havana has to Starbucks, minus the takeout services. If you insist, bring along your own mug or even a Ziploc bag (like Cubans do) for a café con leche, the holy grail at this quaint café shop on Plaza Vieja, for only $1.2 CUC!
Castillo del Morro (Morro Castle), short for Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro, standing at the mouth of Havana Bay, is an iconic landmark in Havana.
Very different from La Zorra y el Cuervo, Jazz Café is located on the second floor of a glass covered...
From the usher, dressed in a Russian sailor suit, greeting guests at the front entrance, to its vintage Soviet propaganda...
In recent years, Don Cangrejo has become one of the most sought-after venues on a Friday night in Havana. Also...