ABOVE THE ROOFTOPS
Restaurant La Guarida (Central Havana), Concordia No. 418, between Gervasio & Escobar
The restaurant La Guarida is a legend. It’s one of the first paladares [small, privately run restaurants] in Havana and also where, already years ago, one was able to dine well. La Guarida became famous through the movie Strawberries and Chocolate. For some time now, the restaurant has had a rooftop terrace, with white and pink furniture and matching lighting. Totally stylish.
SMALL BUT EXCELLENT
Paladar Otramanera (Miramar), Avenida 35 No. 1810, between 20 & 41
The Otramanera is a small paladar with excellent food and outstanding cocktails. The wait staff already brings a cigar ashtray as soon as you start unpacking your cigar. Especially outside, on a small terrace with a front yard, is the best place to sit.
THE MOST BEAUTIFUL VIEW OF THE WATER
Restaurant Rio Mar (La Puntilla, Miramar), 3ra & Final No. 11r
In Rio Mar, above all, the way they prepare the fish is superb. And the terrace located directly over the water and the view of the other side of the Malecón esplanade are heavenly.
PEACE AND FRESH AIR IN THE CITY CENTER
Like every big city, Havana is noisy, dirty and often very hot. But there are small parks in the city – islands, if you like – mostly with marble benches. As a tourist one hardly notices these parks, or the peace and freshness that prevail inside them. Just take a seat, light your cigar and relax.
THE NICEST SQUARE
Hotel Nacional (Vedado), Calle 21, corner of Calle O
If you haven’t at least smoked a cigar on the terrace of Hotel Nacional, you haven’t really been to Havana. There’s hardly a more beautiful place in the world for it than this one.
THE MOST BEAUTIFUL SUNSET
Restaurant Café Laurent (Vedado),Calle M No. 257
Café Laurent is on the rooftop terrace of a six-story building. Long, white curtains gently blow in the breeze. There’s a partial view of Havana’s rooftops, but you can also see the Malecón and the sea. When the sun sets, the best moment has arrived.
IN THE THICK OF IT
Café Paris (Old Havana), Calle Obispo, corner of Calle San Ignacio
If you prefer a bit more action and enjoy the hustle and bustle of a city, stop by at Café Paris on the Calle Obispo, the main shopping street in Old Havana. It’s teeming with people, with buskers completing the picture, like at the theater.
THE BEST ATMOSPHERE
Bar El Floridita (Old Havana), Obispo No. 557, corner of Calle Monserrate
The famous bar El Floridita is the tourist joint. But if you’re lucky, there’ll be a good band playing, and the audience is carried along by the spirit. That’s when the fun starts. Don’t think about the price of the drinks, just drink! Recommended is the Daiquiri Natural; the bar isn’t called La Cuna del Daiquiri (“the cradle of the daiquiri”) for nothing.
Restaurant Casa del Musico (Miramar), Calle 12, between Avenida Primera y Tercerao
In Miramar in the Casa del Musico, there’s a typically Cuban atmosphere. Even the clientele actually tends to be made up of locals. You can get a solid lunch here – tasty and uncomplicated, and after, or during the meal, you can have a relaxed smoke.
IN THE COUNTRY
Restaurant El Rancho Palco (Cubanacán, Playa), Calle 140, corner of Calle 19
It’s just like being in the country at El Rancho Palco, near the El Laguito manufacture. You can completely forget that the city is so close by. One disadvantage is the abundance of mosquitoes, which hang around due to the restaurant’s proximity to the water and which also aren’t bothered by the cigar smoke.