This is a place where you can’t get in without a reservation. We chanced it twice just to test the urban lore, and each time we were politely turned down by the doorman downstairs, who showed us the reservations log. He’d shrug his shoulders and tell us in heavily Spanish-accented English, “Sorry, no name.” When all else fails, play by the rules. We finally and dutifully reserved for lunch, and the third time was a charm. The food lives up to the accolades that foodies and visitors have been pouring on this inn-like eatery, located just opposite of Museum of Revolution in Havana Vieja. The décor is very retro with posters of Marilyn Monroe, old wooden clocks and even a chalked-up menu on the wall detailing starters and main courses of the day. The lechon or roasted pig is chef Ivan’s signature dish and voted by us the best in the city. It’s served over a bed of lettuce, grilled peppers and onions. The skin is crisp and the meat is juicy and tender. There’s a private dining room across from the kitchen where guests can get a peek of how chef Ivan and his kitchen staff prepare each dish. A few stairs open up to a more spacious dining room that can hold around 30 people. Starters are varied with seafood papaya, sautéed mushroom, mango chicken salad and duck breast salad. The spinach omelette stuffed with crab meat and black beans has a distinct flare of Mexican food. The arroz negro with calamari and prawn is a nice spin on Spanish-Cuban cuisine. The food is a bit pricey. A lunch for two with starters and drinks cost more than $50 CUC.
Address: Aguacate #9, Esq. Chacon, Havana Vieja
Tel: +53 7 863-9697
Opening hours: noon till midnight