Style of food: Italian
Cost: Expensive
Type of place: Paladar (private)
Best for: Fabulous pizza in a fountain of kitsch out by the beach
Worst for: Can be slow on a busy summer day to get served
Ave. 5ta A #50206 e/ 502 y 504, Guanabo, Habana del Este
(+53)7796 - 4300
Open noon-midnight
  • El Piccolo is the post beach place of choice for expatriates in Havana as well as versed tourists. Situated in the seaside town of Guanabo, which retains a sort of lackadaisical old school charm, seemingly immune to the march of time in the 21st Century, El Piccolo is a haven of light Italian kitsch. This can be a little tricky to find the first time, so do try and print off a map before you head off the main Havana-Varadero road. It should only be 2 minutes from the turn off so if you are going further you have got lost!

    Heavy round tiled mosaic tables provide a solid foundation amongst plentiful space. Inside is more intimate but can be a little gloomy on a summer day. The space out the back of this main building is our choice. You can spend an afternoon simply checking out the different artefacts, everything from postcards from the Mediterranean to Cuban colloquialisms, to a miniature bar and vampire on a motion sensor which will jump out at you. Kitsch to the last degree.

    When El Piccolo runs out of fresh vegetables, you know that it will be time to get the hell out, since even when there is not a tomato to be found in the supermarkets you will see the largest, freshest tomatoes piled up inside, all fresh produce from the large vegetable garden outside. Fresh basil, lettuce, cucumber, you name it. It is there in well-maintained organic lines. And not one but two stone pizza ovens combine to give not just authenticity but the ability to really deliver.

    The pizza is excellent–on a good day the best in Havana, on a bad day eatable. I am never really sure on why the variability, maybe the chef simply has bad days, maybe they pre-prepare on slow days. That is about it for criticism of the food. The Diablo is spiced to perfection, extra garlic, and extra cheese–enough to keep away any unwanted intruders and the pasta and spaghetti pretty good.

    Service is good, although a little unaccommodating. They consistently deliver to what they consider a good level, so extra requests (freshly ground pepper, extra basil, sauce on the side, kids’ chairs) will be complied with but never really anticipated even if you have been there a hundred times before. All in all, this is a great place to spend a lazy afternoon after roasting on the beach. While you can go swimming on the nearest beach (100 meters from the restaurant) this is not the best bit of beach and you are better off following a dual location approach.

    The latest renovation has now been finished although we have never seen this new seating area being used. This last area is next to the animals and vegetable garden and has been fashioned in accordance with the rest of the place.

    The zoo at Piccolo: This is where the best pizzas in Cuba are made (in my opinion). It is a cute restaurant in the beach town in Guanabo and the favorite of many families that like to stop for lunch on weekends after a morning in Playas del Este. The pizzas are baked in a wood oven and dressed with fresh ingredients from the vegetable garden on the premises. But as much as the food and prices are great, the little zoo that the restaurant keeps as entertainment for the children that visit is pretty depressing. There you will find a huge snake inside a tiny cage, a jutia (which is kind of an opossum mixed with a beaver) also in a small enclosure, and many caged birds. I mean, even in the case of snakes, there are few things more depressing than a big animal trapped in a small space.

  • Nazdarovie

    Nazdarovie  LH 5+

    I never really knew the Cuba from the days of Soviet support. My first memories of the island belong to a time that is very close to the Great Change, when we were already starting to see that what ha …

    La California

    La California  LH 5+

    La California Restaurant For quality food, impeccable service & intimate ambience Superb Cuban-Creole/International menu Dine in a beautifully restored 19th-century colonial building just one bloc …


    Opera  LH 5+

    – Best for Homely & Intimate enviroment Quality food in a beautiful setting. – Fresh pasta, vegetarian dishes  and quail.

    La Fontana

    La Fontana  LH 5

    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, th …

    La Casa

    La Casa  LH 5

    La Casa is more than just a restaurant; it is the crucible of the Robaina family, from the 91-year-old great grandmother to the latest great grandson and everyone in between. Located on the ground flo …

    Ivan Chef Justo

    Ivan Chef Justo  LH 5

    There is only one problem with Ivan Chef Justo and that is describing to people how to get there. Actually it is not that complicated, opposite the Museum of the Revolution on the Old Havana side. Con …

    El Atelier

    El Atelier  LH 5

    Atelier keeps getting better, recent renovations have improved the place while the food remains excellent. Atelier is run by Niuris Higueras who has a passion for creating food. She is the driving for …

    Habana Mia 7

    Habana Mia 7  LH 5

    HM7 is not the nickname of a famous athlete or some secret code name. It is, though, a symbol of tranquility and relaxation—a newly discovered, little known formula for a perfect evening. HM7 is one o …

    La Guarida

    La Guarida  LH 5+

    Enrique and Odeisys Nuñez first opened what has become Cuba’s most celebrated paladar on July 14, 1996. During 2009, it closed its doors out of what may be determined as an abundance of caution before …

    Otra Manera

    Otra Manera  LH 5

    Best for Beautiful modern décor and good food. Don’t miss Pork rack of ribs in honey. Sweet & sour sauce and grilled pineapple

    1 of 15 pages »