Robaina's plantation

Monday 19 December 2016

El Paseo Steakhouse (Hotel Parque Central) Havana

                        One of our favourite restaurants in Old Havana is La Terraza on Prado. Why am I telling you this when this review is about another place? We had planned to have a mid-afternoon dinner prior to going to a kids birthday party in this part of the city. Once there we were told the restaurant was closed for renovations. I have been wanting to go to the steakhouse in the Hotel Parque Central for several years and since it was one block closer to our final destination, this was the perfect time. I had enough cash in my pocket (knowing it would be pricey) and I was hungry. Once you enter the hotel the restaurant is in the far corner of the main lobby, to the right of the bar. You have to walk towards it to know it's there, it's a little obscure.
                         Unknowingly we arrived 5 minutes before closing time, 4pm (they re-open 7pm-12). We were about to go but the waitress assured us, without any hint of attitude despite our casual attire, that it would be ok if we came in. To the right of the entrance is a good size walk-in wine room (cellar), the decor and furnishing are typical fancy restaurant style, there were no other customers...I guess not, at 4pm, who has lunch or dinner at that time.
                         The wine list leans heavily towards Spanish wines with 44 reds compared to 22 from 5 other countries ranging from $25cuc up to $1400cuc. They didn't have my first choice, the Peppoli Chianti, so I went with the second (they had), Antinori Santa Cristina Toscana ($40cuc).
                          As far as the food went I already knew what I wanted before coming in, the Rib Steak. My partner ordered the Filet Mignon for her main course. For sides we ordered the broiled onion and bacon stuffed potato (neither of which were what we expected). As starters I ordered the Beef Carpaccio and she ordered the Caesar Salad. The Carpaccio was ok, not properly garnished however and with grated cheese as opposed to shaved parmigiano. Her salad was a Chicken Caesar, why is that listed as an appetizer, she didn't like it (the chicken was good). I ordered my steak medium rare and she ordered her mignon medium. My meat was cooked medium, while my girlfriend's was medium rare, even after she sent it back to be cooked longer....we traded plates.
                        All in all, I got what I came for, the rib steak, or at least a taste of one. The service was very pleasant and at no time did we feel like we were imposing...of course I took care of our server. The bill was what I expected, before gratuity $134cuc. Was it worth it? I didn't find the value there but that's my opinion. If you absolutely have to have a good steak, I can assure you the meat was of good quality. If any of my readers know of a good place for steak in Havana please share it with me.

Wine Room

Caesar Salad

Beef Carpaccio

Beef Tenderloin

Rib Steak

Stuffed Potatoes

Baked Onions

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