Monte Barreto is located just behind the park, which is just behind the Occidental Hotel. It opened on December 16, 2011 by Aldo, who while a lawyer by trade has an interest in food, drinks and talking. Monte Barreto was the name of this area in the past and has been taken by the nearby hotel. The staff is a combination between Aldo’s kids and other young people who are mostly neighbours.
The place itself is something of a rabbit warren with a healthy dose of kitsch added for good measure with a confusing number of different rooms on different floors of this unassuming building. The place to be is the top room, which has not just some fish to keep an eye on you but a good view to the nearby church. The place is open 24 hours a day.
The menu includes a wide variety from seafood, to meats and pastas. They apparently work hard to find special ingredients to add that extra dimension. When we visited they had black caviar and quality parmesan cheese amongst other delicacies. More standard dishes include Chiprones a la Mexicana (Baby squid Mexican style) CUC 18 – 400gm, stuffed prawns, virgin olive oil, etc, as well as Calamares en salsa Americana (Squid in American sauce), Filet Chateaubriand CUC 15, Ropa vieja a la Creole (Creole shredded beef) CUC 8, and Lobster Thermidor (650gm), 14 CUC for two smallish ones. As far as possible, produce is bought locally from the local fishermen or organopónicos (city organic vegetable gardens). Quality wise, it is difficult to say since we only tried a few smaller dishes, which were all OK. Pizzas retail as around CUC 5 each. Pricewise, you should probably stay away from the Johnny Walker Black Label (CUC 8) but then the wine is reasonably priced and who wants to drink whisky in Cuba anyway!
The fact that this is open 24 hrs makes it somewhat popular with the late night party crowd and the bar downstairs has a certain appeal. They will also do delivery. Time will tell in terms of the success of this place, I have my doubts since it seems to be slightly off the beaten track and the house itself is simply not so suited to be a restaurant given its overall layout. Regardless, they seem like a nice family and if you get peckish at 5am you know where to look for a snack!