La Bodega de Alonso, en el siglo XIX y primera mitad del XX; el elegante café Las Columnas y el restaurante Miami, más tarde nombrado Caracas y por último Budapest.
Cuba Absolutely Review: January 2013
This is a place with a history from the C19 to early C20 Bodega de Alonso to the elegant Café Las Columnas through to the Restaurant Miami renamed as Caracas in the 1950s and renamed once more as Budapest in the 1980s. This latest incarnation, A Prado y Neptuno, was designed by the renowned Italian architect Roberto Gottardi of National Art School fame and it’s a cut above most modern Havana eateries, a relief to both eye and taste buds if you’re all frijoled-out.
This is not a state restaurant, nor a paladar, nor an association. Essentially, it is an exception, given to an Italian 3/4 friend of Cuba who has made it into a good quality Italian restaurant in the heart of the city. Whilst almost always busy, it is generally not a long wait for a table and the vibe inside is busy, pseudo chic, perhaps, but definitely unpretentious. This is a place to bring a new girlfriend and feel quite comfortable. No one is going to judge you here, worth bearing in mind if you are going to be outraged by others’ choice of dining companion!
The restaurant itself is quite big with ample space. It takes a little time to get used to the low hanging lights on the table but you do after a while and failing that, the bar is a great place to have a casual dinner (and smoke!).
Food is good, not great. Pizzas are always good, more reliable perhaps than other places. They go well with eight beers or so. The lasagne is not bad, spaghetti carbonari OK and the desserts edible. When we lived close by, we would go here once or twice a week. It has not really changed in years and is still good for a no-fuss reliable meal. This is not an exotic new paladar where the Havana cool crowd hang out. In many ways, this may be to its advantage.