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Weekly report on Cuba's tourism industry
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Cuba: Gastronomy and Tourism in Havana

One of the pillars of Cuba's tourist infrastructure, designed to meet the growing demand from domestic and foreign vacationers, is gastronomy, as a result of culinary traditions that have developed for centuries.

That way, hotels are complemented by a broad network of tourist, cultural and sport facilities, commercial establishments and restaurants.

In that context stands out the Cuban capital, Havana, where there are emblematic sites such as El Templete, which was named after a nearby monument built in 1828 to evoke the foundation of the Village of San Cristóbal de La Habana.

A singular gallery since 2006, El Templete exhibits, as part of its decoration, artworks by prominent Cuban artists who have joined a project masterminded by Basque chef Arkaitz Echarte Guerecaechevarria and Cuban artist Alexis Leyva (Kcho).

The establishment enjoys a privileged location, very close to the Castillo de la Real Fuerza Museum and Arms Square, where the city was founded.

Havana's historic heart also holds El Patio, an emblematic restaurant on Cathedral Square.

Lobster.
Chocolate mousse.
El Templete (Small Temple)

Housed in an 18th-century building, the restaurant surprises costumers with its monumental façade, large portal, balconies on the upper floor and multicolor stained-glass windows.

With personalized and excellent services, El Patio offers the snack bar El Portal, which faces Cathedral Square, and the hall La Fuente, in the interior patio, as well as the Villanueva Bar.

It also has the air-conditioned and reserved hall Aguas Claras, which is an excellent place for business lunches and private dinners, and the so-called Salón del Marqués, which specializes in grilled dishes and is appropriate for receptions and special celebrations.

Another restaurant in Old Havana is La Mina, which is housed in a building that used to be the residence of the bishops who officiated in the nearby Paroquial Mayor Church in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Artists of cuisine and canvas complement each other in the building, whose second floor is reserved to galleries and studios by prominent Cuban artists like Roberto Fabelo, Zaida del Río, Pedro Pablo Oliva, Ernesto Rancaño and Angel Ramírez.

The 1830 Restaurant, in the extreme west of Havana's Malecón drive, has the necessary conditions to become a flag establishment of Cuban gastronomy in a short term.

According to history, the establishment was founded in the 19th century, when there was a restaurant called Arana, whose fame spread throughout the city due to the house's specialties: Arroz con Pollo a la Chorrera and Bacalao a la Vizcaína (cold and vegetable dish).

Beautiful iron-wrought railings, stained-glass windows and wooden balconies that are reminiscent of the neoclassical style welcome customers who want to taste the most exquisite dishes from Cuban and international cuisine.

The 200-seat 1830 Restaurant offers special options in several halls that can be turned into private rooms on special occasions.

The second floor holds the Green, Blue and Imperial halls (the latter, which is the smallest, can accommodate eight diners and is dedicated to protocol events, special lunches and business dinners).

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