Nazdarovie Paladar

Nazdarovie is a retro-Soviet restaurant in Havana and makes a strong case for why there should be more of them in the Cuban capital. Located along the Malecon sea road on the 3rd floor of a historic building, the soviet-era decor and exceptional take on Russian and Ukrainian dishes is a culinary experience unlike anywhere else in the city.

The lack of street signs in the area mean Nazdarovie is not the easiest place to find, but it’s most certainly worth the effort to reach. Situated along the Malecón sea road, the Russian flag flying from the building lets you know you’ve arrived.

To reach the dining room, climb to the third storey of the historic building the restaurant occupies and then settle in for a meal celebrating the best of classic cuisine from all 15 nations that were part of the former Soviet Union.

Nazdarovie is one of the two retro-Soviet restaurants of Havana and the decor pays a tribute to the history between the two nations. Soviet-era posters are plastered across the walls, traditional Russian dolls sit behind the bar and even the children's menu is designed to look like a Russian babushka. It all instantly transports you away from modern-day Cuba.

A unique experience

The unique décor and cuisine is obviously a major attraction of Nazdarovie. But it does far more than simply add an interesting diversion to Havana’s mainstream dining scene. The calibre of the dishes on offer is also outstanding.

The restaurant’s head chef is a graduate of the Cordon Bleu Academy and he applies the high standards of his culinary pedigree to the wide range of dishes on offer.

For those wanting to experience the full spectrum of Soviet cuisine, start your meal with a dish from the range of hot and cold appetizers. Favourites include buzhenina (roasted pork loin in garlic and mustard) and the canapés with caviar.

The main menu features familiar classics including a rich and creamy pork stroganoff and a succulent cotleta to kiev (chicken kiev) full of garlicky butter and herbs. Then there’s the choice of dishes recommend by the chef including sardelki (Russian-style smoked sausages) and lamb pielmeni (ravioli stuffed with carved lamb).

The drinks menu is also extensive and as you might expect, vodka features heavily – with no less than eleven varieties to take your pick from. There are also lagers, an impressive cocktail menu and plenty of soft drinks.

If you can, make an evening reservation at Nazdarovie and dine out on the balcony to experience the wonderful ocean views. Just be sure to book in advance to guarantee a table.


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