El Chanchullero

CA5
Top Pick
Style of food: Spanish/Mediterranean
Cost: Cheap
Type of place: Paladar (private)
Food
Ambience
Service
Value
Best for: Amazing value and quality food in an authentic hole in the wall place with a good vibe.
Worst for: Can get hot during summer.
Calle Teniente Rey #457a, Habana Vieja
(+53)7872 - 8227
  • El Chanchullero has got to win the most surprisingly good place in Havana award. This looks like a hole in the wall place in a downright run down looking part of Old Havana. It is a hassle to get to by car and a little off the beautified Havana tourist track. It takes a while going in to realise what a find it is. A small bar and four wooden tables give little away. Settling in for a drink swiftly delivered by the attentive staff, the first clue is the music, loud, happy, European; modern without being pretentious or techno it sets the tone. The walls are covered with graffiti and photos, again the lack of pretension belie how well it has been thought through.

    The first time I looked at the menu I presumed that I should order two or three dishes, at CUC 3-4 per dish I presumed that they would be small, insubstantial dishes. Actually the food is the real revelation. Shrimp enchiladas are huge, tasty and served in a large earthen bowl Spanish style atop real fresh and well cooked vegetables. It is a feast. The chicken kebab is great, the pork decent and all round about the best food you can get of this style anywhere in Havana let alone for the price.

    Bear in mind that once the word gets out it may be difficult to get a table since they are limited and that there is no air-conditioning. This is not a VIP place but a Spanish style (think San Sebastian) tapas place of the first order.

    My only criticism of this place is that there is only one, Old Havana needs a hundred (at least) of these quality individual hole in the wall places, quite simply this is what adds dynamism to an area and could radically change Old Havana if given half a chance. Big thumbs up.

    
  • La Terraza de Cojimar

    La Terraza de Cojimar  LH 4

    Ernest Hemingway lived in Cojimar for some years and this was his favorite restaurant there, as evidenced by the many pictures of the American author here, including one with Fidel Castro. In one of t …

    Los Nardos

    Los Nardos  LH 5-

    The Sociedad Juventud Asturiana is a Spanish cultural society from the province of Asturias, which has a special legal status in Havana. Essentially, the society functions as a cooperative which means …

    Habana Libre Hotel – Sierra Maestra

    Habana Libre Hotel – Sierra Maestra  LH 4

    Of all the views in the entire world, this is the place. Well perhaps that is overstating things but the view is certainly spectacular from the 25th floor of the Habana Libre Hotel. You have a 180-deg …

    Tien Tan

    Tien Tan  LH 4+

    Tien Tan (Temple of Heaven) must be a very hated restaurant from the other Chinese places in Chinatown. It is at the end of the Chinese restaurant strip and every time that we walk down here, the tout …

    La Cocina de Lilliam

    La Cocina de Lilliam  LH 4

    Cuba Absolutely Review: December 2012 La Cocina de Lilliam is set in the gardens of a beautiful villa in Miramar. This is right at the top of the list of many visitors’ dream list. It is easy to see w …

    La Pachanga

    La Pachanga  LH 4

    Havana was needing a cafe that, while keeping the celerity and simplicity of a fast food joint, gave the food a gourmet touch to such dishes as Pollo Pachanga (Pachanga chicken), the delicious smoothi …

    La Bella Habana

    La Bella Habana  LH 4

    La Bella Habana lives up to its name. It is beautiful, tastefully designed and meticulously maintained with attentive staff that is engaging without being overbearing. Above all it is a calm place whe …

    Bom Apetite

    Bom Apetite  LH 4

    Walking in on a rainy night to Bon Appetite was like walking into an oasis. We had tried a few other places nearby which were all deserted, dead. We had put it down to the weather and planned to head …

    Marina Hemingway – El Pabellón del Tesoro

    Marina Hemingway – El Pabellón del Tesoro  LH 4

    There are only two good Chinese restaurants in Havana and this is definitely one of them. In many ways, it is the Yin to Tien Tang’s Yang. Instead of being located at the end of a busy scruffy Central …

    El Buganvil

    El Buganvil  LH 4

    El Buganvil is a solid, reliable place owned by the indomitable Margarita with the help from her family. This has been open since 1996 (apart from a brief two-year period from 2008-2010). What are val …

    « 3 of 14 pages »