La Fontana

CA5
Top Pick
Style of food: International
Cost: Expensive
Type of place: Paladar (private)
Food
Ambience
Service
Value
Best for: Great food, attentive service, attractive décor and bust vibe.
Worst for: Periodic cover charge when musicians play. Music can be too loud.
Calle 46 #305 esq. a 3ra, Miramar
(+53)7202 - 8337
Open noon-midnight
  • La Fontana is quite simply one of the very best places to eat in Havana. Great food, a good atmosphere, efficient and unobtrusive service for a reasonable price make this a real Havana institution, the place that you go back again and again. If you can’t think of somewhere else, La Fontana becomes the default option since it can be relied upon to deliver with no fuss or pretension.

    Food wise, this is where Havana really discovers the charcoal grill. Huge portions of meat and fish make even the most ardent carnivore smile with satisfaction. A pork chop may sound unimaginative but it tastes great from this grill. Other main dishes include everything from chicken teriyaki (recommended) to lasagne and a great chateaubriand. Starters include a great mixed platter of cheeses and cold cuts as well as eggplant and chickpeas–what more could you want?

    There are a number of eating areas. A large outdoors terrace alongside a sensitively done series of fountains and rectangular ponds, an air-conditioned salon and a new outdoor lounge (see below). Invariably, the outdoor terrace has a good buzz but has enough space for them to generally find you a table. They regularly have bands playing or some live music, which adds to the ambience but does not get in your face!

    Until recently there was a basement bar, which offered a comfortable (albeit invariably smoky) place to drink the night away. Some months ago this bar was closed and a major renovation undertaken, which has recently been completed. The result is an outside Miami style, contemporary lounge bar that is about as stylish as Havana gets if you like it modern. The in crowd are all here although don’t make the mistake of coming too early and careful on the way out if you have had too many red bulls and vodka that you don’t join the fishes in one of the many fashionable fish ponds scattered through the place.

    Cover charge at La Fontana

    La Fontana is a great restaurant with consistently good food, great service and a nice ambience. Recently they have introduced jazz nights inviting top class Cuban jazz musicians to play while you eat. So far, so good. The only issue is with a cover charge of CUC 5 per person, which they add to the final bill without necessarily saying up front (or charging at the door). If you love jazz (and know about the charge), I am sure that no one will mind. For some of us, however, this can be a real annoyance, especially if you prefer rock and roll.

    While I like the Fontana for the excellent food and service, the live music is simply too loud even if it is actually quite good. I want to talk at dinner not listen to a concert. Maybe I am simply getting old or near to deal with my compulsive talking but this is definitely a down for me. Please turn the volume down or at least give longer breaks to the musicians.

    
  • 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 …

    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 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 …

    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 …

    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 …

    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 …

    Centro Asturiano – La Terraza

    Centro Asturiano – La Terraza  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 …

    Iberostar Parque Central – Rooftop Patio

    Iberostar Parque Central – Rooftop Patio  LH 4

    Parque Central Rooftop Patio (hamburger review) Havana A fellow traveler recommended the Hamburger at the Rooftop Patio at the Parque Central Hotel in Old Havana to me. I had been meaning to check the …

    El Diluvio

    El Diluvio  LH 4

    Cuba Absolutely Review: February 2013 El Deluvio was an institution in the Havana paladar scene for many years as the authentic Italian place with great quality pizzas and pastas courtesy of their Ita …

    Meliá Habana Hotel -La Scala

    Meliá Habana Hotel -La Scala  LH 4

    I never knew the name of La Scala before I had to write about it. Thus is the fate of hotel restaurants. Even the best ones like La Scala become anonymous, generic, the pizza place at the Meliá Habana …

    « 3 of 15 pages »