Dona Eutimia Paladar

Close to Plaza de la Catedral (Cathedral Square) and just a short walk away from the Cathedral, Dona Eutimia is a traditional, family-run Cuban restaurant with true soul. Hidden away on a quiet side street, this intimate little dining room is full of homely furnishings and run by surely Havana's most friendly and welcoming host.

A true gem among Havana's paladars' that epitomises home-cooked Cuban cuisine

You have to know where you're going to get to Dona Eutimia. It occupies an unassuming location that takes a little dedication to find. But once here, you'll be unquestionably glad you made the effort. This family-run restaurant next to Cathedral Square in Havana is a must. It has been called one of the best 101 restaurants in Latin America by The New York Times and the Daily Beast.

The restaurant is actually named after a local lady named Eutimia who once cooked for artists working in the area, including the likes of Roberto Fabelo, Nelson Dominguez and Eduardo Roca (better known as Choco). This passion for bringing pleasure through cooking continues today in the form of the restaurant's cook and proud owner – Leticia.

Although not a self-proclaimed chef, Leticia has come to master the art of producing simple but delicious Cuban classics. This love for cooking is evident throughout every dish on the menu and it has been ackowledged by many reviewers.

The choice of dishes Leticia produces in her kitchen are extensive, with wonderful versions of Enchilado de la Casa (shrimp stew), Ropa Vieja (shredded beef), Arroz a la Cubana (grilled fish), Bistec de Cerdo (succulent pork steak), rice and beans.

A small and simple selection of desserts are also available including fruit cocktails, fresh ice-cream and the local classic - "Flan de la Casa", a sweet flan made with condensed milk and vanilla.

Dona Eutimia typifies all that is great about simple, rustic Cuban dishes and the informal setting heightens this feeling of true, local dining. The main restaurant is furnished with dark wooden cabinets, quirky ornaments and novelty framed artwork while the neatly set tables are appointed with vases full of decorative flowers. It's all unmistakably old-world Cuba in style and feels as homely and inviting as a restaurant can hope to be.

In contrast, Dona Eutimia has a trendy cafe situated in the rear of the restaurant while outside there's a relaxing patio area – an idyllic spot to enjoy your meal or settle back with a nightcap as the evening rolls on.

With its local atmosphere, wonderful home-cooked food and charming host, Dona Eutimia is a perennial favourite and regularly gets packed out, so getting a table can sometimes be tricky. But persevere - this fabulous little eatery is one you definitely don't want to miss.

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