The house now occupied by the Torre de Marfil (Ivory Tower) restaurant dates from the 18th century and is situated on Mercaderes Street, a part of town that in the second half of the 19th century was noted for the presence of several businesses. The Torre de Marfil recalls the wisdom and accuracy with which the earliest Cantonese immigrants prepared their food during festivities more than 150 years ago. The main room is decorated with Chinese artwork made of porcelain and wood and the private room has a pagoda.
This is the only Chinese restaurant in old Havana and is set on a very busy tourist thoroughfare through old Havana but never seems to attract the passing tourist trade. It is a shame since it is a peaceful place with reasonable food. Look out for the red Chinese lanterns hanging outside. Where have all the punters gone? Chinatown, perhaps? You feel sorry for the Marfil. Perfectly placed in Calle Mercaderes with smiling waiting staff and an inviting interior, it somehow always seems to be three-quarters empty. Brave the deserted interior and you’ll find that the chop suey and chow mein plates–when they arrive–are fresh, crisp and huge…and very reasonably priced.