Robaina's plantation

Sunday 26 March 2017

La Vitrola (Restaurant) Havana

                  We stopped at the 'Factoria' on one of the Plaza Vieja (Old Havana) corners to have a Cylinder of beer....this is the first of two bar-restaurants in Havana that brew their own cerveza. We were wondering where to eat, the service at this restaurant was absolutely the worst, it was never great but it's reached an all-time low even by 'Old' Cuban Standards. My girlfriend found us a table 20 meters away at 'La Vitrola' where they allow smoking indoors (I was smoking a Cigar).
                  La Vitrola translated to English is 'The phonograph'. A 'Victrola', by definition, is a brand of phonograph, one of the first ones from early 1900's. All gramophones were referred to as a Victrola and in Cuba Jukeboxes were referred to as Vitrola. Knowing this you can understand where the restaurant's name and decor come from. Right in the middle of the restaurant is where my girlfriend pointed out to me was the 'Vitrola', which meant the Jukebox.
                 In comparison the service at La Vitrola was amazing from the start as they rushed to get our table ready with a happy attitude by people who understood the value of turning over tables. You didn't know where to look with all the memorabilia and equipment of a bygone era, some of which I remembered, covering almost every square foot of the place. The bicycle hanging from the ceiling wasn't the oddest thing in the room. The pictures, old ads and knickknacks are meant to take you back to time when the Jukebox was adored....and back in the days the Cubans loved their Vitrola.
                The menu had a lot of choices (Cuban, International) and made it hard to pick something so 3 of us ordered a few things to share while the other 2 ordered their own meals. Well....everything was enormous, there was no way we could finish what we ordered and no way the other 2 could help us. Reminds me of a North American Roadhouse, a lighter menu, nothing over the top, lots of sandwiches and appetizers with a few main courses like braised lamb, lots of stuff that goes with beer (bucanero or cristal $2). Lots of shots and cocktails on their alcohol menu and reasonably priced, mojito $3, everything is reasonable, the 5 of us ate and drank for $54, with lots of take home food. There's a house band playing the typical traditional Cuban music that I love and that adds to the atmosphere. Tables indoors and outdoors, everything squished together, all with a view of the Plaza Vieja and the restaurant we ran away from. The service was very attentive, coming around every few minutes to check up on us, never staying away long enough to need something desperately....and put an ashtray on the table without asking. Everything was great, will definitely come back and bring others.

Mon. to Sun.
8:30 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.

La Vitrola
Muralla No.151 e/ San Ignacio y Cuba
(+53) 5285 7111
Cash Only Accepted
Wheelchair access
Smoking Section Indoors & Outdoors

La Vitrola or Jukebox

Stuffed Tostones $4

Chicken Burger (Sandwich) $4

Frittura de Malanga $2

Onion Rings $4

Chicken Fingers $8

Pork Ribs $4.50

Garbanzo Fritto $6

8-9 tables on the patio

Live Music

Computer Point of Sale System

They Sell Cigars

View of Plaza Vieja from our table

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