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Few restaurants in Barcelona that opened in 1897 are still around. In 1945, a family took over one such restaurant, L’Havana, keeping its name and its commitment to home-made Catalan cuisine. Now two sisters and their families boast a faithful following of regular customers. There’s a familiar warmth that makes you fall in love at first sight: warm light, an old phone booth, a kitchen just barely in sight, and a bar where the two knowledgeable sisters bustle about.
'We cook everything here,' says one of the daughters, who leaves her brother to confidently tend to the desserts. Their home-made flan and 'crema catalana' (custard dessert similar to crème brûlée) are the perfect end to a meal. The restaurant offers a variety of traditional Catalan starters that are prepared and presented well, and ideal for sharing.
The battered artichokes and aubergines are superb, as are the battered squid rings, which are sometimes hard to find done just right. The tripe, the meatballs with cuttlefish and the stuffed calamari are specialities that attract the local clientele and are always in high demand. You have to try the Catalan cannelloni with béchamel and excellent filling. And above all else, you need a healthy dose of the cheese platter, with three mild cheeses that boast a good balance between them.
There's a nice selection of wines, though there could be a greater emphasis on the newer Catalan varieties. They might stumble a bit at times, but in this case it probably happens due to cooking techniques being passed down from generation to generation. What you will enjoy is the warm, relaxing atmosphere that pervades throughout the restaurant. I'm ashamed to be just discovering this restaurant now despite my many years of existence, but I'm glad I finally have.
|Transport:||Universitat (M: L1,L2)|
|Opening hours:||Mon-Fri 1pm-4pm, 8.30pm-11pm|