When it comes to rooftop dining, Havana has a lot to offer. The views are always captivating at any given afternoon, and at night, the weather is usually great.
Nowadays there are many famous hotel rooftops in Havana, but the three ones we end up coming time after times are in private restaurants, or as people call them in Cuba, "paladares." Please make reservations before going to any of them, as the wait sometimes can be of over 45 minutes to an hour.
EL DEL FRENTE
Calle O'Reilly No. 303 e/ Habana y Aguiar, Habana Vieja.
We start in Havana Vieja (Old Havana) with El Del Frente, a restaurant that is very special to us. El Del Frente its featured with its founder, our good friend Jose Carlos, in one of the stories of our film Cuban Food Stories. Since the first time we came, the food, the drinks, and the ambiance made us feel right in the middle of the new Cuban culinary boom. A Cuba that young and creative entrepreneurs are rebuilding and reimagining.
Although the entire menu is very creative and an excellent example of the new Cuban cuisine, here are our must-try dishes and drinks:
Pesca Frita del Dia - Fried Catch of the Day
Crema de Boniato - Sweet Potato Puree
Croquetas de Arroz Con Pollo - Rice and chicken croquette
Red Point Gin and Tonic
Mojito de Maracuyá - Passion Fruit Mojito
Concordia # 418 e/ Gervasio y Escobar, Centro Habana.
La Guarida is one of the oldest private restaurants in Cuba. We like to call it's founder Enrique, the godfather of Cuban restauranteurs. Year after year they have managed to remain relevant by cooking creative Cuban cuisine and offering top-notch service. Since you enter La Guarida, a unique Havana experience. As Enrique says, "the same location houses three different Cuba's: the Cuba of the past as this is a colonial building, the Cuba of the present, with its "solares" and charming decay, and the Cuba of the future with the restaurant, a Cuba full of thriving businesses."
It's located in Centro Havana (Central Havana) making its rooftop extra-special. Come just before the sunset so you can see the magic unfold. Our to-go dishes here are:
Taro Fritters - Off the menu, house courtesy only
Marlin Tacos in Sweet Potato Shells
The Suckling Pig
Fish Fillet Caimanera Style
Calle 26 S/N e/ 11 y 13, Vedado, Plaza de la Revolución.
We end our rooftop crawl in Vedado, our hood in Havana. Here, we love to come to El Cocinero rooftop for cocktails and some appetizers before getting the night going. Founded by a Cuban DJ turned restauranteur is a very trendy spot with cool music and great ambiance/crowd. Fantastic for people watching. When making the reservation make sure you confirm a reservation for the rooftop as they have another restaurant on the first floor.
A good plan on Fridays or Saturdays is to stop around six or seven pm, have a cigar and a rum tasting (or some cocktails) plus appetizers before ending the night next door at the Fabrica de Arte Cubano (we will publish a post soon on what to eat at Fabrica de Arte). Here is what we get at El Cocinero:
Make your rum tasting. They have a great selection.
Spicy Crab Sweet Potato Drum
Mixed Grilled Seafood
Grilled Octopus (It's seasonal)