Cuba Absolutely Review: December 2012
Doctor Café has been an expatriate favourite for some years. The formula is pretty straightforward but it seems to work. Décor wise the main space is outside on a first floor terrace. Inside there is some more air-conditioned space and inside the main house a wine cellar, which doubles as a private room for parties. The terrace is pleasant with some greenery but basic, inside there is minimal décor, again pretty basic.
What sets this place apart quite simply is the exceptional food. Especially from the large BBQ but also from the well-maintained kitchen, this is a place that consistently delivers excellent (uncomplicated) cuisine. We would recommend anything from the BBQ, especially fresh fish of the day as well as ribs, and beef and lamb steaks.
The service is excellent, the place is small enough that the waiters know their stuff; this has not been outsourced to teenagers! Despite the new competition, Doctor Café seems to have maintained its steady buzz of clients and is well worth a visit.
Elena Vega comment
The lack of menus at Partenón and Doctor Café:
Anyone who knows me or who has read this column knows these two are among my favorite restaurants in Havana. The quality of the food and the service is really some of the best on the island, but one thing that has always annoyed me is that neither has a menu. Anyone who goes to these two could expect a waiter’s monologue that goes pretty much like this: “Today we have chicken, beef, snapper, shrimp, lobster, crawfish…” and if one wants details on how any choice would be cooked there is another monologue: “grilled, in sauce, with garlic, breaded…” and of course there is no information about the prices until the check comes, which may carry some surprises, by the way. It would be a great improvement for them to have detailed menus, with prices included.
The flies at Dr. Café
This is a real down and a real pity. The restaurant is far from spectacular in terms of its décor, but it is really great when it comes to its grilled entrees, such as the barbecue ribs, the beef filet, the chorizos (or sausages), plus other options such as the lobster, shrimp kebab and garlic shrimp just to name a few. The prices are good, the wine options are plenty but so are the flies… yes, the flies! If you choose the outdoor sitting option prepare yourself to be fighting against an army of flies through your meal. My suggestion for Doctor Café: more fans and more fumigating.