El Aljibe Restaurant

If you're looking to sample great local food during a visit to Cuba, booking a table at El Aljibe is an absolute must. El Aljibe is family-run and was originally set up by brothers Sergio and Pepe Garcia. For over 20 years it's been in the family and continues to earn itself plaudits as an institution for superb local food and wonderful local character.

The humble but incredibly tasty dishes served up at El Aljibe typify all that’s great about Creole cuisine and few restaurants in Havana can match the skill and passion with which it handles the traditional classics.

You’ll find the full range of local dishes here with delicious black beans, fried plantain, sweet potatoes and white rice dominating the menu. But without question there’s one dish that El Aljibe is famous for - their spectacularly good pollo asado (roast chicken). For a fixed price, you can order your pollo asado with an all-you-can-eat selection of white rice, beans, plantain, fried potatoes and salad. This is one of the best versions you’ll find of this classic combo in all of Havana.

The chicken itself is cooked in its own juices along with bitter-orange and lemon. However, the owners claim the sauce of its signature dish is a secret recipe and adhere to a strict policy of keeping the full list of ingredients to themselves. Whether it’s merely a clever marketing ploy or a genuine attempt to protect their family recipe (probably a combination of both) the mystery definitely adds a little extra flavour to an experience here.

To add to its credentials, El Aljibe has had some pretty famous guests drop by for dinner through the years. The likes of Hollywood actors Danny Glover and Jack Nicholson have pulled up a chair here and former US president Jimmy Carter is also down as one of its formers guests.

With its distinctive thatched roof and open-air setting, El Aljibe also manages to create a relaxed, informal experience for diners. The service is also well-known for being top notch, with friendly staff that go the extra mile to make you feel right at home. In fact, the whole atmosphere of the place can make you feel like you’re eating at a friend’s place rather than a sit-down restaurant.

All in all, it’s the simple but timeless combination of fantastic local food and warm local atmosphere that keeps diners coming back to El Aljibe. And after experiencing it for yourself, you’ll no doubt see why so many people regard it as one of Havana’s best places to eat out Cuban food.

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