Mi Jardín used to be the only Mexican place in Havana. The place shows its Mexican colours through Mexican flags and other Mexican memorabilia in the main inside dining room. Outside in the attractive garden patio it is all vine-covered trellis, which makes this the place to eat outside of the steamy summer months.
How much of a real Mexican place this really is may be open to some doubt for while there are some Mexican dishes on the menu (chicken mole, tacos and quesadillas) these are not really made true Tex-Mex style but rather hesitantly without any real oomph. Just calling the house special Fish Veracruz does not make it so.
This is a very quiet place, which seems to be suffering somewhat from the outbreak of new palladaritis, which has infected the city. The fact that it has been around for many years just adds to the sense of lethargy of the place. It is not that it is especially bad, it looks nice and the food is reasonable, it is just that there is a lack of that indefinable something for me.
I know I have said before in this column that a big “down” in Mi Jardín is that it can take a long time for your food and drinks to arrive to the table, in other words service tends to be slow. However, the food is pretty good. It may not be completely Mexican or may not be the best example of the Mexican cuisine (and believe me, I know about it), but the Mexican Platter (plato mexicano) is a good and unpretentious sampler of typical Mexican food. You will get a crispy taco, a tostada, a quesadilla and a soup. The base of all of those delicacies is corn tortilla, some beans, chicken, cheese and hot pepper. Enjoy the beautiful garden and have a margarita along with your food, it is the best in town.
The wait time at Mi Jardín: This is among the oldest paladares in the city. It is a quiet and casual place and one of the few that offer Mexican cuisine. The food is good, they have a Pescado a la Veracruzana that can be nice and spicy, the Plato Mexicano is a great way to sample a few dishes, and the Totopos appetizer is really addictive. But unfortunately not all is good: prepare to wait up to 25 minutes just for the drinks to be served, another long wait for the food, and if you care for a second drink it is not unusual that you will have to go and look for the waiter yourself. I mean, the waiters (who are part of the family that owns the paladar) are very nice, they are just very slow. So, if you arm yourself with a little patience you might enjoy this cute place.