Cuba Absolutely Review: December 2012
Habitania is a global software company, a Spanish magazine and now one of Cuba’s newest paladares, which opened in mid-2011. As the name may imply, the theme of this place is to create something real out of nature. Practically, this means hardwood tables, ashtrays made out of real wood, solidity, lighting by candlelight. There are no fine tablecloths here, not because it is down-at-heel, but because it would not fit.
Located in the slightly sleepy Nuevo Vedado, this restaurant spreads across the bottom floor of a pleasant Vedado mansion. Although there are several rooms, they are not so disconnected from each other as to lose that restaurant feeling and each is sufficiently large as to be a good place to eat. I actually prefer the terrace, which has the table set for eight on a permanent basis. Inside there is a feeling that someone is trying to impress a group of VIPs who are about to walk in. A certain type would be impressed.
The owner is animated, enthusiastic as he talks about the place. Everyone gets a welcome cocktail, everyone gets free tapas, and every woman gets a rose. If you chat to him, he will probably give you a 10% discount card. The service is attentive, quick.
And the food is decent. The chef is José Javier Sánchez who used to be head chef in the Belgium Embassy. We have eaten here a couple of times and have no complaints, quality international food with emphasis on the brasserie.
My only real query about this place is whom it is appealing to. It is not as slick as the more established paladares (including the neighbouring La Casa), it is more ambitious than to be solely a homely cute little paladar, and the food is not quite as good as the best food places. So, no real complaints but neither were we blown away.