Places - Cuba's Western Region

La Guarida-Havana

When life within the walled city that is now  Habana Vieja had become too cramped and too crowded and the growing population demanded expansion, the growth of Havana gave way to the neighborhood of Centro Habana. There is a mysterious aura to Centro Habana, battered by the sea and left to decay, but there remains a ghostly essence of its former brilliance and a vibrant inner-city life fueled by the locals. Remarkably, some of the city’s top paladares (privately owned restaurants) are located in Centro Habana and among the best of them is La Guarida.  The location for the acclaimed Cuban movie, “Fresa y Chocolate”, La Guarida serves delectably sophisticated international cuisine in a venue that is a perpetual work in progress.  The top floors of this seemingly dilapidated neoclassical structure are renovated to a degree of contemporary glamour that is impressive with a rooftop bar and an even higher mirador with spectacular views.  The bottom floors are obviously under renovation, but when you reach the top of the endless marble staircase wrapping its way up and up, you are in for a culinary delight by any standard.