Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
Just a block away from El Carmelo, at the corner of 23 and G, stands the very
famous Castillo de Jagua restaurant. It was recently reopened after undergoing
major renovations. This state-run restaurant is slightly less upscale than El
Carmelo, but the portions are of similar size and prices are even cheaper. All food
items are priced in Moneda Nacional, but the alcoholic drinks are priced in CUC.
The average meal at this restaurant will cost less than 60 pesos (MN) and it
would be perfectly reasonable for two people to dine for less than 100 pesos
(MN), tip included. The only real downside to this restaurant is that it tends to fill
up pretty quickly. If you don't want to wait in line, I suggest arriving before 7pm.
Note: I will issue one warning for tourists visiting this restaurant: In the past there
have been some instances of the servers handing out menus priced in CUC. Do
not be fooled by this scam. In the restaurant, all items are priced only in Moneda
Nacional. The CUC menu is exclusively reserved for the small nightclub which is
attached to the restaurant. If you have any problems, insist on seeing the Moneda
Nacional menu, or speak directly with the manager.
El Cochinito (23 between H and I)
El Cochinito is Spanish for the piglet . It's a fitting name because the menu centers
around pork dishes, although there are a few chicken items, too. Among locals,
this state-run restaurant has developed a bit of a bad reputation, not because of
the food quality, but because of the slow service. Honestly, I have dined here
many times, and sometimes the service is fast and courteous, and sometimes it
takes forever to eat. Regardless, the food is good and the prices are among the
cheapest in Havana. Oferta specials start at just 30 pesos (MN). This price does
not include a drink. Portions are a bit smaller than average, but even if you order
extra items, it will probably be very difficult to spend more than 60 pesos (MN) per
person for a meal. The restaurant tends to pack up in the evening, but even so,
there is rarely a lineup in front. I suggest arriving around 8pm, which is the busy
time. Service will actually be a bit faster, as this will be the period when all the
staff is working.
Buena Sera (23 at the corner of I)
While this is not a fancy restaurant, it is very popular with locals, and extremely
cheap. It's located just down the road from the University of Havana, so it's a pop-
ular spot for young people to meet up. The menu of this state-run restaurant is
composed of Italian dishes. The food is comparable to Italian dishes you will find
throughout Havana. Everything is priced in Moneda Nacional. Prices for a regular
cheese pizza (Napoletana) start at only 10 pesos. The price for spaghetti ranges
from 10 pesos for a cheese and tomato sauce dish, to 15 pesos for spaghetti gar-
nished with chopped ham. Juices and soft drinks are sold at state prices - soft
drink cans are 10 pesos, beers are 18 to 20 pesos depending on brand. Service
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