El Partenón

Style of food: International
Cost: Moderate
Type of place: Paladar (private)
Best for: Excellent service, good quality food. Flexible with tailoring orders.
Worst for: The house is not really designed to be a restaurant. Too many rooms.
Calle 50 No 1109 (altos) entre 11 y 13, Playa
(+53)7209 - 0405
Open noon-midnight daily
  • El Partenón opened in mid-2011 as one of the first wave of new places by Javier Acosta (the owner). The staff are experienced and it has developed a loyal following for the good quality international food, a great mojito and attentive service. This is somewhere that they will always find a space for you once they know you no matter how full the place might be and you will be greeted as an old friend.

    My only problem with the place is that to my mind it is fundamentally limited by the nature of the two-storey house in which it is located which simply has too many separate rooms. However good the service and the food it is still trying to fit a round peg in a square hole. What really drove me crazy was the fact that the bar was right next to the table and every time the blender was used it was impossible to hear anything for 10 minutes.

    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 mojito at Partenon

    This has been an “up” since Javier Acosta (the owner) opened this paladar in Miramar almost two years ago. The mojito is a multi-sensory experience: it is not only beautiful to look at, it is refreshing, tasty and, given its size, challenging. Each mojito is made at the moment you order, so instead of pre-made mixes, you get fresh squeezed lime and mint “du jour.” I would not be afraid to say it is the best mojito in Havana and it is worth the trip to Partenon where one can also find some of the best food and service in town.

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