Ivan Chef Justo

CA5
Top Pick
Style of food: Spanish/Mediterranean
Cost: Expensive
Type of place: Paladar (private)
Food
Ambience
Service
Value
Best for: Spectacular innovative food. Light and airy place where it always seems to feel like Springtime.
Worst for: Tricky to find the first time. Getting a reservation can be tough in busy periods.
Aguacate #9, esq. Chacón, Habana Vieja (frente al Museo de la Revolucion)
(+53)7863 - 9697 / (+53) 5-343-8540
  • There is only one problem with Ivan Chef Justo and that is describing to people how to get there. Actually it is not that complicated, opposite the Museum of the Revolution on the Old Havana side. Consistency of what to call it would help, currently it runs by the name of its chef, Ivan Chef Justo but their are rumours afoot that it will change to Aguacate 9 (its address) which would at least help you find it the first time.

    The style of the place is thoroughly Mediterranean, located on the second and third floors of a building that must be 200 years old and seems to be made of wood and stone there is a comfortable airy feel to the restaurant. It is elegantly decorated with a tasteful simplicity from old pictures of Marilyn Monroe to old pictures of the city. The view out across Prado is relaxing and there is a space small upstairs you can also eat with a little more privacy.

    The food is nothing short of spectacular. Ivan, the chef used to run the kitchen at Havana Chef and he has taken many of the best dishes from their.  Offerings include an excellent salmon salad, gazpacho and lamb soup as appetizers and a mouth watering rack of baby lamb ribs as a main as well as cheese risotto and excellent fish.

    The service is excellent, professional, attentive and quick.

    Baby eels salad at Ivan Justo (aka Aguacate 9)

    I have to acknowledge that I might not order baby eels for my last dinner, actually I might not order baby eels for any dinner; but that is just me, and I have to say that my Spanish dining accomplices went head over heals for this menu item at Ivan Justo. Apparently this is one of the very few restaurants in Havana serving this gourmet tiny creatures. The paladar is located at Aguacate 9 and often called more by its address than by its name, it has an interesting menu that includes beef, lamb, rabbit, suckling pig, paella, and appetizers such as the eel’s salad and home made pastas. The prices are a little bit in the high side, but the place is very pretty and service is good. No way to lose with this one.

    
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