The Moorish-themed Restaurante Anacaona (Paseo de Martí #603, esq. Dragones, tel. 07/868-1000, daily noon–11 p.m.), in the Hotel Saratoga, exudes chic. The menu promises mixed sushi (CUC7), oysters Rockefeller (CUC13.50), chicken supreme Marsala (CUC13.50), and fondues (CUC23). You’d expect this deluxe hotel to perform kitchenwise, but both of my meals here were total duds! Perhaps Canadian chef Michel Cascione wasn’t in the house those nights.
Far better is Restaurante Santo Ángel (Brasil, esq. San Ignacio, tel. 07/861-1626, café daily 9 a.m.–11 p.m., restaurant noon–midnight), on the northwest corner of Plaza Vieja, and one of my favorite restaurants. The menu features gazpacho (CUC2), garlic mushrooms (CUC3.75), curried shrimp (CUC15), and pork chops in mustard (CUC10). Fresh-baked breads come with a superb comport de champiñones (mushroom paté) in olive oil; the bread is charged extra on your bill, which includes a 10 percent service charge. A large wine list includes California labels (CUC14–25). It has live music.
The ballroom Roof Garden Restaurant (Trocadero #55, e/ Prado y Zulueta, tel. 07/860-8560, daily 6:30–10 p.m.), atop the Hotel Mercure Sevilla, offers a Renaissance paneled ceiling and marble floors, and tall French doors open to balconies—a great spot to catch the breeze. One reader raves about the food, a fusion of Cuban and French (CUC5–30), but my experience was mediocre, as was the service.
The elegant Restaurante El Paseo (Neptuno, e/ Prado y Zulueta, tel. 07/866-6627, daily 6–11 p.m.), in the Hotel NH Parque Central, has a creative menu that includes salmon carpaccio (CUC12.50) as a starter and lobster casserole (CUC24) for a main course. An alternative is the hotel’s Restaurante Mediterráneo (daily 7–10 a.m., noon–4 p.m., and 6–11 p.m.), which in 2009 had turned to offering tapas fusión cuisine. The cuisine is well executed, if overpriced, but service can be indifferent.
The elegant Restaurante Floridiana (Obispo #252, esq. Cuba, tel. 07/862-4127, daily 7–10 p.m.), in the Hotel Florida, also offers well-prepared dishes, such as roast pork (CUC8) and an overpriced lobster with orange (CUC27).
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Cuba, 5th Edition