Robaina's plantation

Wednesday 8 July 2015

Paladar Doña Carmela (Restaurant Review) Havana

                       We came upon this place by mistake one day while visiting the La Cabaña fortress located on eastern side of the harbor entrance in Havana, in other words, across the bay. We were looking for La Divina Pastora restaurant when we asked for directions and were pointed towards this restaurant instead. We arrived at the front door tired & hungry while it had begun to rain. This is when we realized it wasn't the right place. At this point I thought, it's as good as any other eatery and I'm not going anywhere else. Tables were set up on various patios in the back of the house and that's where we sat, I don't even know if they have tables indoors. Most tables are covered by some kind of roof so that even though it rained, we didn't get wet. While we were checking things out I noticed some pictures on a wall, lo and behold Beyonce and Jay-Z had been here on their trip in April of 2013. I thought that if they had been here, it can't be too bad a place. At first glance I thought the prices were a little expensive for Cuba until I realized it was all-in. That is to say that whatever main course you ordered, it came with: rice, black beans, baked eggplant, yucca, bread and salad. Now the $15cuc ribs didn't seem all that expensive...that's what each of us had. The menu offered a seafood platter which included lobster, surf and turf which included lobster and a whole oven-roasted Pargo (which didn't include lobster) as well as a whole page of single items which consisted of all the typical Cuban dishes. All menu items included the side dishes I mentioned earlier and there's no way a normal person can eat more than that, besides, there are no appetizers available. The space is simple, typical Cuban Ranchon, nothing fancy. The service is very pleasant and the place was busy for 3 in the afternoon. The ribs arrived sans bbq sauce, the first time I've had them this way in Cuba and they were quite good...I would have them again. The side dishes were acceptable as well. It wasn't cheap but it wasn't expensive either, tip included (the restaurant adds 10% gratuity) it came out to $54cuc for the two of us. This also included a hefty shot of 12yr old Santiago de Cuba rum, a couple of coffees, a couple of beers and soft drinks and a dessert. I know that might be expensive for some of my readers when it comes to eating in Cuba but I've spent more but not in a ranchon style restaurant. However, it's all relative, it was a good a meal and worth the money regardless of where it was. If I'm ever on this side of the Havana Bay during a mealtime, I would return to this restaurant. I have a feeling this place is packed during peak hours. PS.....I want to try their lamb or rabbit next time.

El Morro La Cabana
Calle B no.10
tel. (7) 793-7402
cell (5) 291-9269

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