Robaina's plantation

Monday 28 November 2011

Doctor Cafe, La Habana (Restaurant Review)

               Before going on my last trip to Cuba a friend of mine, Amir, recommended I try the paladar 'Doctor Cafe'. A frequent traveller to Cuba himself, he told me it was his favourite restaurant there. How could I not try it.
               It's a little difficult to find if you don't have the address and not all the taxi drivers know where it is. It's your typical paladar in residential Miramar where the only way you know if there's restaurant is by some tiny sign that's hard to see. I would also suggest you make a reservation because the place has only 6 tables, 3 on the patio & 3 indoors. The indoor tables have air-conditioning.
               The restaurant was originally opened by a doctor, hence the name. It's been around for a while, is well established and is known for it's outdoor grill and quality of food. This particular evening, two of the items they were offering were Turtle and Deer. The waiter recited the numerous offerings by memory. There is no menu because they shop for the day and don't know what's available to them from one day to the next. That's Cuba. I don't mind the menu changing daily but going for the first time it's a bit uncomfortable not knowing the prices ahead of time and I find it embarrassing to ask for them. In the end, the prices were reasonable but not cheap. We had a Chilean Cabernet that was marked up almost 3 times. The service was prompt and professional and the presentation of the dishes we had was excellent. The quality of the food was as my friend had said, very good, especially for Cuba.
               I started with the Ceviche which was a little tough but tasty & finished with the Grilled Turtle which was the best I've ever had. My date started with an Avocado Shrimp salad that was amazing and finished with the Filet Mignon which was just ok, I've had better. Both our meats and the vegetables were done on the grill and perfectly cooked. I wanted to try the Octopus appetizer but it would have been too much food so I opted for a Shrimp Cocktail for the middle of the table. Both of the Shrimp Appetizers were made with decent sized shrimps compared to the usual sizes I get around the city. One of our guests ordered a salad which was the best I've seen on the island .
                It's a comfortable place to eat & I guess, all in all, for the 110 cuc I paid, it was fair. I suppose 2 people with appetizers and main courses, with a bottle of wine, might be 60 - 80 cuc, depending on what you order. If you're counting your money, this may not be for you but if you want to eat well for a fair price, it's a must visit.

Doctor Cafe
Calle 28 #111 e/1ra y 3ra
tel. 05 268-0607 or 05 281-8263

The Grill Master

                                                           Shrimp Avocado Salad


Shrimp Cocktail

                                                                      Mixed Salad

                                                                        Filet Mignon


                                                                  Grilled Vegetables

Our Waiter

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