Vuelta Abajo

Address: Calle Mercaderes 202, Havana, Cuba
Website: view Vuelta Abajo’s website
Door: Open door/walk-ins
Style: Restaurant bar
Food: Set menu


We came upon the Conde de Villanueva hotel close to Plaza Vieja entirely by chance and were immediately taken by its charming courtyard that includes the lush palm trees with chickens and even a peacock strutting around. The name of this Spanish colonial-style building means 'the Count of Villaneuva' and recognises a city treasury official who used to occupy it in the 19th century and was associated with a flourishing civic economy. Since then it has housed various mercantile societies, was transformed into housing and after the revolution became a warehouse for the Ministry of Culture.

In the far corner is a small bar and restaurant, so park yourself in one of the old leather seats in the shade or cast iron chairs and tables, admire the modern art that adorns the walls and order a Mojito - even if your hosts don't speak English and you don't speak Spanish, this is one word that's instantly recognizable in either language.