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. An attendant at the entrance will ring a bell to announce your arrival, then usher you upstairs via a staircase romantically strewn with flower petals. The restaurant is divided into two spacious, high-ceilings rooms, each with two tall windows facing the animated Calle Mercaderes. The menu is Cuban, but with an international twist too. Here the famed Cuban staple ropa vieja, or the shredded beef, is made with local lamb sautéed with vegetables. The result is delicious and highly recommended. But star of our meal was the sesame crusted pork tenderloin. The pork was perfectly cooked, crispy on the surface and tender on the inside, with the sesame adding a layer of crunchiness to the flavorful and succulent meat. For starters, try the fried chickpeas with sun-dried tomatoes. The service at Los Mercaderes is swift and don’t be scared by the trio of musicians you see as soon as you walk in; they play discreet and soothing boleros. The restaurant also has a smoking section, which seems pay since you’re right across the street from the Conde de Villanueva boutique hotel that also houses one of Havana’s finest cigar shops.
Address: Calle Mercaderes #207 | e/ Lamparilla y Amargura, Habana Vieja
Phone: +53 7 8612437
Opening hours: Noon until midnight