Castas y Tal

Style of food: Spanish/Mediterranean
Cost: Moderate
Type of place: Paladar (private)
Best for: Good quality healthy food. Great view out over Vedado.
Worst for: Not suite set up as a restaurant. Balcony is a little cramped and shuttered (glass) windows restrict your view.
Calle E No 158 B, entre 9na y Calzada, Vedado
(+53)7833 - 1425
Open 7pm-midnight
  • Castas y Tal is located on the 11th floor of a large apartment building in Vedado, just around the corner from Hotel Presidente. The restaurant really has three discreet areas, a main dining room that can sit eight, an indoor terrace with glass windows and a side area where you can have an excellent Caipirinha prepared with eau–de–vie, and Caipiroska, with vodka. This is not a slick mega-paladar but a home lounge. A large, slightly kitsch, mural (think sunflowers) dominates the main room, which is well suited for a large group to take the place over for the evening. Jonathan Reyes and chef Ransys Valdés jointly manage the place. Jonathan is a good example of the new young Cuban entrepreneur. Ransys knows and loves her food. A German grandmother, black-Chinese uncle and various Spanish relatives set her firmly in the Cuban melting pot and she seems to have taken a little bit of everything into her calm style. The food is light, fresh and healthy, in tune with the seasons, the climate, the Caribbean. This is Ransys’s style; light on salt, short on fat, fewer ingredients, not more. The effect is croquettes, tapas, Spanish omelettes and so on, that are not only delicious, but which do not sit like a lead balloon at the bottom of your stomach for the rest of the evening. Everything possible is made in-house. Several dishes (anything ending in “casto” or “tal”) are special recipes of Ransys. The Cordero casto is deboned lamb cooked with masala; Pollo y tal, deboned chicken, no grease, vegetables, cooked in pineapple juice and ginger; shrimps in rosemary sauce; roast beef in mushroom sauce are all cooked with imagination and love. The desserts are extensive: cheesecake, chocolate temptation, lemon pie, custard, fruit reward and you have to try the Piso 11 dessert–French bread with eggs, red wine, vanilla ice-cream, hot chocolate and ginger. There is no set wine list, although the standard Spanish/Chilean wines should be available. The name of the place is derived from Doña Casta. She worked in Zaragoza in free Spain during Franco’s regime, specializing in croquettes and tapas before she fled to Cuba. Jonathan and Ransys are Doña Casta’s followers. We think that Castas y Tal makes a real contribution to Havana cuisine and like the place very much.

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