La Moraleja Paladar
This Vedado paladar housed in one of this neighbourhood's iconic mansions is popular both for its friendly service and its consistent menu.
Apart from Havana itself, Vedado is probably the one area in Cuba that has most benefited from the paladar boom in recent years. La Moraleja is one of the many relatively new paladares in the Vedado neighbourhood, and it's carved out a name for itself not by breaking any new grounds foodwise but for serving up consistently tasty food in a pleasant setting and with friendly service.
La Moraleja is housed in a classic Vedado mansion in what is today a mostly middle-class neighbourhood. The house is like many other old ones you'll stumble upon in Vedado, but inside it has been lovingly refurbished and fully converted into a modern restaurant, a renovation task carried out by part-owner Jorge Luis.
There are essentially two separate dining areas to choose from at La Moraleja. The first is indoors, and it's air-conditioned for those hot summer days when you just want to get out of the heat. The decor inside is pleasant but minimalist-a fish tank is one of the main decorative centrepieces. There's occasionally conservative jazz or Cuban live music to enjoy, and similar selections will be playing over the stereo system when there's not.
The outdoor patio at La Moraleja is an even more popular spot, especially in the evenings when the sun has started to cool down a bit. A gigantic mango tree is the centrepiece of the terrace, and almost anywhere you sit, its branches will extend to cover you with a bit of shade cast down by its leaves up above. This outdoor area is a bit more relaxed than the inside of the restaurant, perfect if you're looking for a more casual dining experience.
Food and Drinks
Beddy Blanco is the head chef at La Moraleja, and he brings plenty of experience to the job from working in some of Cuba's top government-run restaurants. The paladar business is a decidedly different scene, but the food here still passes with flying colours.
Though it doesn't feature the most adventurous menu, the kitchen at La Moraleja does what it knows best and it does it well. Virtually everything here is either classic Cuban Creole cuisine or standard international fare. The grilled meats come highly recommended-and if you're sitting on the outdoor terrace, you can watch the chef prepare your meal before your very eyes!
Finally, La Moraleja features a standard Cuban bar menu-that means that local and international beers as well as quality-made cocktails abound.
For a bit of Cuban comfort food served up reliably and with a smile, La Moraleja simply can't be beat. The food, the ambiance, and the service come together to make this one of the top restaurants in Vedado, Cuba.
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