In Havana, Family-Run Dining Goes Upscale Private Restaurants Try to Expand Cuba’s Menu
Madrigal is in a filmmaker’s home in Havana.
ON a mild January night, the unlighted street in the artsy Havana neighborhood of Vedado was quiet and filled with shadows. But as my companions and I climbed the steps of Le Chansonnier, the glow of chandeliers gleamed invitingly through the wrought-iron windows, and a low burble of music drifted onto the street.
Inside, we sipped tangy mojitos in the bar before settling down to a dinner of spicy crab and tender pork loin with eggplant, in a dining room whose simple banquettes and white tablecloths struck a chic balance with the soaring archways and molded ceiling.
This may not sound like a typical Cuban dining scene, and in many ways, it’s not. Decades of Communist rule have produced a host of state-run restaurants where, all too often, tourists struggle with leathery pork chops and try in vain to catch the attention of a surly waiter.
But a new crop of privately owned restaurants, known here as paladares, is bringing a dash of style — not to mention enticing food — to Havana’s normally lackluster dining scene. READ MORE….