El Patio Restaurant
This Restaurant is located on one of Havana Vieja's most beautiful squares, Plaza de la Catedral (Cathedral Square). The restaurant is housed in a colonnaded 18th century colonial building with a beautiful open air interior patio, not unlike the Moorish riad-style buildings of Spain and Morocco. The original stained glass windows, balconies, beamed ceilings, floor tiles and furniture have been preserved or restored to recreate that colonial feeling! You can sit on the terrace overlooking the square, in the interior courtyard, or upstairs in the Salón del Marqués (Marques' Room), depending on how much sunshine or privacy you seek.
Authentic Havana street life
For the best people-watching and views of street life, musicians and buskers, take a seat on the front terrace, where El Portal (the Porch) Snack Bar overlooks the square. You might catch a local band, such as Sexteto Imagen, a sextet who play a selection of son, salsa, trova and other typical Cuban musical styles. As part of the life of the plaza, you could also spot itinerant fortune tellers, women in colourful traditional dress selling souvenirs and touting for photos, kids playing, tour groups passing through and probably a bit of live dancing from locals or tourists for good measure. Sit down, kick back, sip your mojito or strong Cuban coffee and enjoy the scene!
La Fuente (the Fountain) is the name given to the space in the courtyard, which combines the perfect levels of sunshine and shade for a more formal lunch and a great ambiance on a balmy Havana evening for dinner.
The air-conditioned private room, Aguas Claras (Clear Waters), is great for a business lunch or a private dinner and the Marques’ room, upstairs specialises in grilled meat and is large enough for receptions and special celebrations. Theme nights are also held at El Patio.
Menu and access
The menu in the ground floor areas is inexpensive by Western standards, and although some of the dishes are lacking in great originality, the setting more than makes up for it. Recommended specialities include a BBQ steak, pork sirloin cooked in Santiago rum, or a seafood sauté with lobster and prawns. A wine list is available. Children's options are limited.
El Patio is a very popular spot, so larger groups should try to reserve in their preferred area in advance. The restaurant can be reached on (+53 7) 867-1034 or 867-1035.
The address is: Restaurante El Patio, 54 San Ignacio Street, Plaza de la Catedral, Havana.
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