Los Nardos

CA4
Style of food: International
Cost: Moderate
Type of place: Association
Food
Ambience
Service
Value
Best for: Big portions of good quality food at reasonable price in a bustling & efficient place.
Worst for: Waiting outside on the pavement for a table can be a bit grim.
Prado no 563 (Paseo de Martí) entre Teniente Rey y Dragones, Old Havana
(+53)7863 - 2985
Open 12m – 12am every day
  • 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 that the staff and management of each location have more independence and incentives to develop a number of wonderful buildings in Havana. Over the past few years a number of restaurants have opened in each of these buildings, which have become some of the best places in Havana to eat.

    Los Nardos is one of three restaurants within the premises of the Sociedad Juventud Asturiana. The other two restaurants are El Trofeo (basically a low quality pizza place) and El Asturianito, which is neither (inferior) room in the premises. We would suggest that neither of the alternatives are really worth a mention and therefore have focused our review solely on Los Nardos.

    Located directly opposite the Capitolio, the entrance to Los Nardos (which is on the first floor) is easy to miss. This area is also not especially glamorous on a good day and downright run-down and depressed on a bad one. Being Cuba, looks can exaggerate and don’t be put off by a doorman who has clearly picked up attitude from watching too many episodes of Miami Vice. Try and come at a quiet moment (early evening, weeknights, when it rains) and you will avoid a long wait outside.

    Inside, the atmosphere is warm, busy, but unusually for Cuba, well managed. Every table may be busy but they cope, your waiter is prompt, the table made up and ready, drinks on time. This is a variety for Cuba and should be appreciated. The decoration is heavy with mahogany and leather dominating. There is football memorabilia and a wonderful enormous wine rack, which covers one length of the restaurant. The kitchen is at one end behind glass, which lets you see a well-run (but perhaps not too slick) culinary operation.

    The food is quite simply the best value in the city. Where else can you get Lobster Thermidor for under CUC 10? Garlic prawns with sautéed vegetables and authentic Spanish paella come well recommended. In general, portions are huge and the prices, which start at around CUC 4 for chicken, pork and fish dishes, are unbelievably cheap. These qualities mean that the clientele is very mixed with a split of maybe half local Cubans and half foreigners. This makes a pleasant change for the more elaborate paladares, which cater almost exclusively to tourists or expatriates living in Havana.

    Los Nardos gets an absolute thumbs up from us although the wait outside is a real pain.

    
  • Casa Miglis

    Casa Miglis  LH 5

    Little is given away by the regular entrance, but as soon as you walk into the restaurant you get an idea why this took Mr Miglis over a year to renovate this building to fit his dream of opening Cuba …

    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 …

    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 …

    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 …

    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 …

    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 …

    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 …

    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 …

    Calle 10

    Calle 10  LH 5

    Calle 10 has had a makeover. Back in the day this was somewhere you would come to for a huge portion of pork ribs cooked barbecue-style in the owner’s back garden under a thatched roof (ranchon).  Now …

    « 3 of 15 pages »