La Imprenta is a beautiful place restored on top of the ruins of what used to be La Habanera printing house back in the 19th century. This is a place of homage to Gutenberg’s printing. More to the point, this is our favourite state-run (Habagaunex) restaurant in Old Havana. This is where real quality restoration has been combined with thoughtful design as to what works well for a restaurant. The effect is fabulous. The space is huge but has been designed in such as way as to give more intimacy and space. There is a mix of contemporary metal murals, designed from typographical motifs by Espacio Cubano (Cuban Space) group, wooden tables and seats recreated with letters and numbers, additional furniture inspired by desks or with symbolic references to printing type cases and even courtyard well, to which visitors can access through a wooden footbridge. Indoor and outdoor areas make up the structure of this place which has a room called Salón Boloña on the upper floor, named after the first Cuban printer, José Severino Boloña. The kitchen, which is at the end of the ground floor, has a traditional chimney with an oven made of firebricks.
There is an extensive menu offering both light snacks such as tasty sandwiches, chocolate offers, stuffed potatoes and tapas as well as a charcoal grill bar serving meat and skewer options, stew dishes. Quality wise, it is pretty decent and often features high up on Trip Adviser’s restaurant list. I was certainly not blown away by the food, but liked it and felt the price was reasonable.
The location is impeccable. With Conde de Villanueva Hotel on one side and Café Habana on the other, La Imprenta is located on one of the city’s busiest streets. This is a great place for lunch in the heart of Old Havana.