A Gastronomic Delight!
That is how I would describe the food at Doña Eutimia in Havana, Cuba! When I was researching my trip I found many mentions of Doña Eutimia on the Cuba forum of TripAdvisor. All the reviews were excellent and the price point seemed right in line with my budget, so I added it to my list of restaurant possibilities.
Thousands of People on TripAdvisor and a Cuban Casa Host Can’t Be Wrong!
When I arrived at my Casa Particular in Havana the host provided me with some business cards of local restaurants, Doña Eutimia being one of them, that he recommended based on the following criteria:
- Quality of the food
- Authenticity of the food
- Value for the price
- Proximity to the apartment
A No Brainer!
So, when Doña Eutimia was also recommended by my host I knew it was meant to be and escalated it to the top of my “must try” list. It should be noted that it is possible the casa host receives a commission for sending travelers to particular restaurants however no one asked me if anyone had recommended the paladar to me, so there was no way for anyone at the restaurant to know who suggested it to me.
I’m a budget traveler who doesn’t mind spending good money to enjoy a fantastic meal and amazing cocktails, but they had better be worth the money! When I travel, I think of eating a delicious meal and sipping fine cocktails to be an event. An excursion. Part of the cultural immersion I aim to achieve in each new location. It’s not only nutrition for me; I want an entire experience.
Doña Eutimia did not disappoint!
Reservations for Doña Eutimia
Or, you can do like I did – a hybrid of an in-person reservation and a willingness to be flexible.
Flexibility For the Win!
Getting To The Real Doña Eutimia
When the reviews say “beware the hawkers at the entrance to the area” they aren’t kidding!
Young men and women stand at the entryway of the courtyard holding menus and signs from the various restaurants which exist there. While harmless, they will diligently try to persuade you to follow them to the restaurant – whatever restaurant they are working for – regardless of which one you say you’re interested in trying.
The hawkers will even tell you they are taking you to Doña Eutimia when in fact they will take you to another of the restaurants located in the alleyway. Sort of a bait & switch. Save your energy for your meal and don’t even bother to engage with these folks.
A simple “no, gracias” while waving a dismissive hand and proceeding on past them will do the trick. Just imagine that frozen mojito waiting for you and march right past them! The hawkers will not bother you as you’re moving past. By then they are working on the next visitor.
Doña Eutimia is located at the very back on the right hand side.
The Food and Beverages
I’m Just Here for the Shrimp! And the Mojito Frappé!
The portions were so plentiful and the meal was so filling that I was glad to have skipped any pre-dinner fillers but still could not finish all of the delicious shrimp.
I was so stuffed after the entree that I didn’t have room for a second frozen mojito! 😞
The entire staff was personable and friendly. The server who waited on me spoke perfect English, which made communication easier for me. But the service was typical of most restaurants in Cuba. Slow. After waiting nearly 20 minutes I had to flag down the server to take my order. Long past being finished with my meal I had to flag her down again to bring the check.
The slow pace of the meal did not put me off but it is something to consider if you have a schedule to keep.
The bathroom (link to picture can be found below) was adequately appointed, even a toilet seat. Plenty of toilet paper and paper towels in the dispenser. The bathroom was very clean.
It is not wheelchair accessible, however.
Naturally I realize not everyone appreciates photos of toilet areas as much as I do. I mean, guys can go anywhere and will tolerate a lot. This gal appreciates a clean toilet area, especially when it has plenty of TP, which is a rare occurrence in Cuba.
Side note: In Cuba it is not uncommon to find the toilet has no toilet seat. If you’re not comfortable with or able to do the hover/squat thing this may be an issue for you.
Therefore, if you would like to have a visual idea of the restroom, you can see a picture of the restroom here. It’s clean, I promise. You’ll thank me later when you need to go 😉
As with a lot of things in Cuba, wheelchair accessibility has a long way to go. Most sidewalks do not have a ramp. Many of the restaurants have the tables so close together it would be extremely difficult to navigate a wheelchair through the maze of tables. Doorways are, for the most part, not up to ADA standards. The exception might be the larger, chain resorts like Iberostar or Melia.
Doña Eutimia is much the same. You must first make your way through throngs of people along the somewhat unstable ground of an alleyway. The entrance to the paladar is at the dead end of the road, squeezed in behind a concrete ramp and patio seating. The interior is quite narrow and filled with many tables.
However, Cubans are some of the nicest, most resourceful people I have ever encountered. I have absolutely no doubt any one of them would rush to help you make your way to the entrance. The staff would likely assist with seating you at a table suitable for a wheelchair to pull up to.
If in doubt be sure to inquire when you call or e-mail to request a reservation, or ask your casa host to do it for you.
For additional photos of the interior check out this article by Cuba Holidays. The set up changes from time to time but you will get a general sense of the space and accessibility.
Hands down I would visit Doña Eutimia again, and possibly more than once during a visit. The menu is varied and so many of the selections were appealing.
Things I Would Do Differently Next Time
- Order an appetizer or two for a sampling (eat some, take the rest)
- Eat only half of the entree and take the rest with me
- Order dessert (eat some, take the rest)
- Definitely save room for a second mojito!
- Use the leftovers for lunch the next day! Your casa owner likely provides a mini-fridge in the room. Eating leftovers for lunch is a great way to cut your daily expenses.
If you find yourself planning a trip to Havana take my advice and make Doña Eutimia a “must visit” place for lunch or dinner.
Doña Eutimia in Havana – Address: Callejon del Chorro #60, Plaza de Catedral +53 7 8013332 firstname.lastname@example.org
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