La Elisabelica is a coffee shop in Plaza Dolores opposite the Restaurant Matamoros on the corner of Calvario and Aguilera . The prices here are in moneda nacional , not in convertibiles but if you are a tourist they will try to charge you in convertibiles , in otherwords 24 times the proper rate . Insist in paying in pesos Cubano , dont take no for an answer and bring small denominations with you or get ripped off , they pocket the money themselves if you pay in convertibiles . In the Taberna de Dolores , they will often tell you that you cannot go upstairs , it's full or some other excuse , again , don't take no for an answer , check it out . The reason for this is that two different organisations run the upper and lower floors so the people on the lower floor want to keep you there . The prices in this restaurant are in Cuban pesos so it is very good value and the food can be quite good . Another place which charges in Cuban pesos is the restaurant 1900 on San Jeronimo whose standards are similar to the Taberna de Dolores . This place has recently been refurbished in is quite elegant and comfortable . Happy hunting .
Service is better than in most Cuban restaurants and the food is reasonable priced. There is live music provided in the afternnon and evening as well.
Favorite Dish: The combination plate of prawns, chicken, rice and vegetables is one of the better bargains in the city. In August of 2005 the price was $5 CUC and there was sufficient food on our plates that everyone felt full.
If your dead tired of the tourist traps and haunts and want to share a table with the locals then this is the place to go. This was the case in early 1998, but things change!
At the Cafe La Isabelica there is only one thing on the menu and that is coffee. But the best thing about this place is the people who frequent it. Here you'll find the local intellectual scene. On the wall hangs the watchful sweet Isabelica, whom this establishment was named after. She was the daughter of a French emigre from Haiti who was the first person to cultivate coffee in Cuba at the beginning of the 19th century. The estate still exists high up in the Cordillera de la Gran Piedra and is now a coffee museum.
Favorite Dish: Cultured coffee chats.
Santiago 1900 is a so called peso-restaurant,
with cuban (= no tourist) prices. It's a beautiful
restored building full of antique decorations.
The courtyard has cafetaria-food only, but there are several rooms to have lunch or dinner. Do check for yourself, there are downstairs and upstairs rooms. Last time I was there (march 2004) I paid $9.- for the three of us (ex drinks) Picture taken from the roof-terras
1900 is a restaurant run by the local cookery school I believe. It has good, very reasonably priced food.
For a drink, the Matamoros bar on the corner of Plaza Dolores is pretty reasonable.
The Cafe Isabelíca, also on the corner of Plaza Dolores is great for strong black coffee and beer.
Favorite Dish: Bucanero!