Casa Vieja Restaurant: a variety of options
By: Lucía Arboláez / Photos by Albite and Vladimir Molina
Visiting this congenial restaurant that is located on the corner of Habana and Tejadillo streets is a wise choice. To reach Casa Vieja, you climb an antique marble staircase to the second floor.
Its simple décor and tranquil, pleasant atmosphere make diners feel right at home. The menu is designed to satisfy all tastes with international and Cuban cuisine, featuring food from the sea and terra firma. Masterfully, Casa Vieja's owners combine quality and variety to create their offer.
One dish that is uncomplicated and pleasing to every palate is the classic “chicken and yellow rice,” cooked the way our grandmothers used to do. Fresh, hearty flavours are cooked up in this kitchen, based on ingredients and methods inherited from the Spanish, African, and Chinese cultures, along with others that came to Cuba centuries ago. In many areas of the westernmost part of the island, this is called estilo colonial (“colonial style”), and tends to come with seasonal tubers and vegetables.
After the main dish, there is nothing better than a rich dessert, Casa Vieja-style: chocolate cream, served in a glass, with a dash of aged rum as the final touch.
The main dining room, completely air-conditioned, features nine tables, seven with four places, one with six, and another with seven, all pleasantly spaced.
As a new feature that will soon be ready, the building will boast a plaque of recognition granted to its owners by the Havana City Historian's Office for their efforts to restore this 18th century mansion, with painstaking care on every tiny detail during its remodelling.
At the bar: the Casa Vieja Cocktail
The Casa Vieja bar is the anteroom to the restaurant. When you enter, the bar and bartender are at one end, and the space is filled with tables and traditional wood-and-cowhide chairs known as taburetes, which are commonly found in homes in the Cuban countryside.
The house cocktail is not only attractive to look at and exquisite to the palate, it is easy to make. It is just one of the many offers available at this Havana restaurant, which opened its doors relatively recently and is unquestionably worth visiting.
1 teaspoon of sugar, 3 drops of lemon juice, 5 teaspoons of maraschino, 45 ml of cacao liqueur, 45 ml of “añejo especial” rum, and crushed ice.
Take a white wine glass that has been frosted first with cacao liqueur and then with dark chocolate shavings. Add the 45 ml of cacao liqueur. In a separate container, prepare a daiquiri with añejo especial rum, add to the glass, and garnish with a slice of lemon placed crosswise to separate the liqueur from the daiquirí, and… bottoms up!
Both the restaurant and the hostel are located close to important sites of the Cuban capital, such as the Avenida del Puerto, the cathedral, major museums, and shopping districts, such as the pedestrian street Obispo.
For that reason, anybody who discovers the Casa Vieja restaurant and the Hostal Casa Habana will be back to repeat their visit: both establishments feature top quality products with excellent service, earning the satisfaction of their guests, both regulars and newcomers.