Robaina's plantation

Friday, 24 January 2014

Dona Eutimia (Havana) Restaurant Review

             Many of my followers have been asking me if I've checked out any new restaurants lately and which ones I would recommend. Sadly, I hadn't and couldn't, it was time to check out some new places. I've heard a lot of nice things about 'Dona Eutimia', everyone seems to like it, I was curious to see what all the fuss was about. It certainly had been getting a fair bit of hype. I was at the Plaza Catedral one afternoon on a previous trip and decided to pop in and make a reservation for that evening. It's located at the end of a dead-end street that runs off the Plaza, it was about 3pm. Someone was ahead of me trying to make a reservation as well but it didn't look like he was having any luck. I on the other hand got lucky and as I glanced over at the reservation book I noticed a lot of ink on the pages. I knew we made our reservation for an early sitting and that they would flip our table to accommodate a later seating. It wasn't a very big restaurant, being in the business, I understand about maximizing your sales.
             When we arrived for our reservation we were 5 instead of 4 but were taken care of immediately and accommodated with no hassle or attitude. The decor is very rustic with lots of artwork hanging on the walls. I recognized some of the pieces from the 'Taller Experimental de Grafica', an art shop located next door. I wondered if they were trying to sell the pictures for a commission.
             There was no wine list but they did have a few wines (no Rosé) sitting on a cabinet in a corner. Upon inspection I selected a reasonably priced Chilean Cabernet. The menu wasn't very big and mostly made up of authentic Cuban Criollo dishes but I knew that before making my reservation. I like typical Cuban food, especially if it's done well, they have a lot of dishes that I enjoy. We've been having bad luck with restaurants this week, maybe because it was the first week of January. Many of the places we went to were missing a lot of menu items and blamed on the week. This night however we were told the only thing they didn't have were the big deal.
             To start with we ordered something the waiter suggested that wasn't on the menu, a mixed platter for 4 people @ $12cuc total. It consisted of 4 Tostones Rellenos, one each stuffed with; ham & cheese, fish stew, bolognese and tuna salad...the best I've had anywhere. A lot of stuffing and very tasty. The ham and cheese wasn't awe-inspiring but 3 out of 4 great to one good wasn't a bad average. The platter also consisted of fish strips (very fresh), fish croquettes and fried malanga (a little oily but still tasty). This platter was a perfect start (and certainly enough) to our dinner but I decided to order one of my favourite dishes as well, the garbanzo fritto. I had the garbanzo fritto for the first time a couple of years ago and fell in love with it, I've been ordering it wherever I see it ever since. Basically it's chick peas stewed in tomato with chorizo sausage and onion. There's a little more to it than that but that's the basic. Here at Dona Eutimia they added diced Green Peppers, which I don't like, and they used a type of ham and not chorizo, big difference. If I didn't know any better I would have said it was really good, however, I did and I didn't enjoy it as much as I have in the didn't stop me from eating it though. For my main course I ordered the Ropa Vieja with a twist, it was made with lamb as opposed to the usual beef. Tasty and tender but the sauce was a little runny, it could have used a little more thickening for my taste. It doesn't mean it was bad, it was still very good. My date ordered the Pargo Filet and enjoyed it as well. The child that was with us had a grilled chicken breast that was very tender and could have fed an adult. All main courses came with fried plantains and a little garnish so we ordered some rice with black beans and a salad. There was way too much food and we couldn't finish it but it didn't stop us from ordering their homemade ice cream...yes, made in-house and wonderful, I loved the strawberry.
                It was a nice dinner and at $94cuc for 5 people, very reasonable. I will definitely come back to try some of the other dishes when I'm in the area, I would love to sit on their small patio on a nice day. What impressed me the most was the service, the best I've had in the 10 years coming to Cuba. Jose, our waiter, was amazing, very professional, attentive and personable. He didn't move from his station unless picking up food from the kitchen. I would say he can rival any professional waiter in North America. Give this restaurant a try, for the money you can't go wrong but don't just show up, make a reservation or be prepared to wait.

Dona Eutimia
Callejon del Chorro # 60-C
Plaza de la Catedral, Habana Vieja
Phone: (7) 861 1332 

Mixed Appetizer Platter for 4

Bolognese Stuffed Tostone

Garbanzo Fritto

Ropa Vieja (with Lamb)

Chicken Breast

Pargo Filet

Black Beans and Rice


Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream 

The box the bill came in

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