Robaina's plantation

Tuesday 19 March 2019

Atelier (Restaurant) Havana

                      I've been wanting to come here for years, it seems like this place has been in existence forever. It was on my list of eateries to try on my last visit to Havana and many trips prior to this one. While with my wife one day around the lunch hour we happened to be in the area and thought this was a good time to give Atelier a shot. It's located just a couple blocks from the Malecon with the Melia Cohiba Hotel in plain sight. Even though we had the address, it was still a little difficult to find without asking someone...they have no visible signage near the street. Their only sign was on the side of the building, a good distance from the sidewalk.
                     Upon entering the building you'll find an array of local artwork on display and for sale. My first impression was positive, I loved the decor. The main dining room is decorated with memorabilia from days gone by and the table settings are antique (or at least decades old) made for a comfy cozy feeling. We opted to sit on the smaller patio since I wanted to smoke a cigar, they also had a larger patio on the roof that was closed at the time (it was past 2pm). The building itself is about a century old that has gone through extensive renovations. 
                    The menu was a different story, hand written on a time card or inventory page. I understand that they change the menu daily or weekly and that some might find it quaint but it didn't inspire my confidence in their ability to execute....maybe I was being overly critical. My first choice was unavailable, the lamb had been sold out. I wasn't crazy about the remaining options so I went with the rabbit in a cream sauce, not the usual way that I would have it. My wife had the stuffed peppers (an appetizer) for her main course and we shared the Frituras de Malanga (fried Taro Root) to start since the Falafel that are raved about in this place were not on the menu this day. Overall the food was good and well presented, not great but good. The service on the other hand was terrible, it was as if we were forgotten out there on the patio. On two occasions I had to walk into the restaurant to receive service, once to get another drink and again when it was time for the bill. Our waiter never came around to ask us how our meal was, not once. All this after reading about how great the service was at this restaurant.
                    I won't come back here, there are many other restaurants to try in the city and several of them are within walking distance of this one. However, whatever I think, this restaurant is always on the Travel Guide's lists of restaurants to try when in Havana....they don't need my business.

Calle 5ta #511 altos e/ Paseo y 2,
Vedado, Havana
 (+53)7836 - 2025
Open noon-midnight daily

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