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“Worth the trip out of town”

Paladar Dona Carmela
Ranked #331 of 805 Restaurants in Havana
Cuisines: Cuban
Dining options: Breakfast, Late Night, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Late Night, Reservations
Dublin, Ireland
Level 6 Contributor
187 reviews
156 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 192 helpful votes
“Worth the trip out of town”
Reviewed January 15, 2013

Dona Carmela has been serving good food for years, it's very well established and reservations are advisable as there's nothing else nearby if you go on spec and they're full. The food is very high quality and specialises in fresh seafood, particularly lobster - and it's good and well cooked and presented. Eat outdoors and you'll find it very atmospheric at night and a bit of a sun trap for a long, lingering lunch. Be very specific about what you want and make sure they understand that you want cocktails first, then starters, then main courses or it might all arrive together. They have wine but no wine list and as they can really overcharge ask how much before you order. Service can be a bit slow (thats the Cuban way) and prices are nearer what Europeans pay at home but it's great for an occasion like your last night in Havana. Very romantic for couples and great fun for groups. If you are travelling from central Havana make sure the taxi driver knows exactly where you are going and when you're finished order a taxi back before you ask for the bill/check as it'll take 15/20minutes for one to arrive. You will remember your trip here for all the RIGHT reasons.

  • Visited September 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank bsfood
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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242 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    78
    67
    51
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Turkish first
  • Any
English first
Toronto
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Good food, nice settings and friendly services”
Reviewed July 18, 2012

We found this restaurant by chance, it is a couple of houses down from where we wanted to go but was closed.
It is a small restaurant and tables are set in the back garden amidst cages of birds and avocado trees. We ordered a garlic shrimp appetizer and a barbecue pork ribs to share with two soft drinks. For the main course, it comes with many side dishes and that includes bean and rice, mixed salad, egg plant salad, a cooked green vegetable and a soup! Good that we didn't order a main course each, certainly generous. They all tastes fresh and the meat was moist and tasty. The lunch bill was 27CUC, worth every penny.

  • Visited July 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank greencap
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sault Ste Marie
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“A hidden gem”
Reviewed March 29, 2012

Tucked in the back garden of a local home, Dona Carmela was almost the highlight of our day trip to Havana. The private table, set in the cool, lush garden, offered fresh salad (family style) garlic aubergine, bread with olive oil. The starters and soups had enough variety that our party of 6 were all satisfied (The seafood soup was delicious). There was a small choice of seasonal entrees (chicken/pork, lobster, red snapper, shrimp). The snapper was perfect - moist and flavorful. The fried plantain was an added bonus. With beer and tip the cost was close to 30 CUC per person. But it was well worth it!

  • Visited March 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Cowgirljunkie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
North Vancouver, Canada
Level 5 Contributor
83 reviews
39 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
“Beautiful Garden Restaurant”
Reviewed March 20, 2012

We were on a guided tour from Varadero to Havana and our tour guide chose this restaurant for us. It is across the water from Old Havana in a residential neighbourhood. Apparently these type of restaurants have only been legal for the past 3 or so months....before then people made do with state run establishments or when to illegal spots. This spot had apparently been open 15 years underground.

The setting for this restaurant was absolutely beautiful. We were there on a hot day and just entering the back garden made you gasp with delight. There were fruit trees, fountain, and lots of foliage.

When we were there it was very busy. The only real downside to this was that it was super slow. It probably took them 20 minutes to take our order...we were there for 2 hours at least.

We all started with bread....served without butter, but still tasty. The main dishes were served with the meat you ordered and the side dishes all family stylle. The black beans, rice, and artichoke salad were all delicious. There was an outdoor oven and grill, so the main courses were wonderful.

We only ate out one other time and this place was much more money than the previous. However, the meal was very good and probably worth the extra money. In town meals seemed to hover around the 5 or 6 peso mark....this was between 15 and 18 CUC.

  • Visited March 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank n0rthvangirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary, Canada
Level 5 Contributor
73 reviews
39 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“Great location”
Reviewed March 13, 2012

Dona Carmela is located in a home on a residential street close to La Cabana fort. They serve local Cuban food including the most tender pork steak which are really ham steaks. The Cubans eat a lot of pork so they know how to cook it well. We ate outside under the trees surrounded by flowers and birds. The chef cooks some of the food in a wood burning oven at the foot of the garden. We were on a guided tour of Habana and our guide reccommended this restaurant. The helpings are large so be careful of how much you order and lunch cost us $40 with a beer each. They also rent rooms.

  • Visited February 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank GenevieveCanada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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