In a beautiful city, amongst the sounds of sultry Latino tunes and Cuban rum, a short drive from Old Habana, lies an Italian treat for your taste buds by the name of Eclectico. Eclectico is a contemporary Italian restaurant combining classic Cuban zests, housed in a classic Cuban mansion, in the Vedado district of Havana. It’s no surprise then that this culinary gem and residence is actually an eight room boutique hotel named Paseo 206 and is part of the very favourable Small Luxury Hotels group. In case you’re wondering how I located this little beauty, I am a member of the elite Small Luxury Hotels and often use their site to book some of my abodes on my travels.
A ten minute taxi ride from the hustle and bustle of the old rainbow coloured Havana and a short walk away from the promenade known as the Malecón, Paseo 206 is located on a street lined with 1930s affluent mansion houses and wide streets. Vedado is the hip and trendy end of town, home to much of the city’s art scene and swanky late night clubs. You’ve heard me say it before and I’ll say it again, it’s where the beautiful people of Havana hang out and as we pulled up outside Paseo 206, it was easy to say why this is such a sought-after neighbourhood.
It was apparent to see as you entered Eclectico that this 1930’s mansion house has been restored to its former colonial glory days pristinely with no expense spared. The restaurant has a glass entrance frontage and aqua hued seating with contrasting white tables. There is also an abundance of palm fringed greenery well placed around the surroundings.
There are not many tables at Eclectico hence I would recommend booking but if you fancy a meal out as a group there is a private dining room to cater for small parties. I was at Eclectico for my special birthday meal as I wanted a quiet intimate night with Dr C – I‘m not one for a big fuss or parties! However, if I did take my friends then the beautifully decorated dining room would have been right up my street. I believe it can seat 10 people quite comfortably!
Now before I start you all off salivating, I just want to say that I’ll be giving you a sneaky peek around this boutique hotel and how it just oozes modern elegance, a little bit later so keep reading!
Once seated, Dr C and I kicked off the evening with cocktails containing the great Cuban Havana Club Rum! I obviously went for a refreshing Mojito where as much to my surprise, Dr C sneaked in a cheeky Daiquiri.
If you’ve read all my Tuscany and Florence blog posts, you’ll know we share quite the penchants for Italian cuisine. However, what made the items on this menu pretty special is the way dishes are bought together with the use of classic Italian style and traditional Cuban Ingredients. For example serving gelato with spiced rum and who can resist freshly made pasta accompanied by home reared meats and vegetables.
The menu at Eclectico is designed by renowned Italian chef Vincenzo Frassanito, who has been the former head chef at the Michelin starred Pierluigi and Convivio restaurants. His ethos is most definitely using fresh local ingredients cooked and served in a non-fussy and modern manner, which will soon become evident when you see the presentation.
In anticipation of our food, we thought we’d order wine by the glass, a Sauvignon rose for the lady and a Shiraz for the gentleman.
To start I wanted something light so quickly selected on recommendation the Paseo salad, consisting of a medley of fresh grilled vegetables with a generous sprinkling of Parmigiana cheese. Dr C was keen on trying the baby pork carpaccio with homemade mayonnaise, tuna and caper sauce. Both dishes were an absolutely cracking start to the evening of food.
Mains were an absolute no-brainer for me! I had the super fresh pumpkin ravioli with a dusting of parmigiana cheese, drizzled with a generous amount of truffle oil. Please all jokes of Truffle oil being an aphrodisiac aside, it was deliciously luxuriously melt in the mouth! Dr C had the catch of the day, swordfish fillet on a crispy potato crust.
Hands up everyone who thinks you can’t go to an Italian without having a Tiramisu? Me, me, me!! We had to end on a modern take on a Tiramisu, deconstructed in a glass with a shot of coffee accompanying in a Turkish coffee pot to pour over the creamy indulgent delight!
Finally we finished off with a quick espresso before being led out of the Eclectico restaurant portion of the mansion house through to the Paseo 206 boutique hotel.
Next to the small check-in reception desk is the wood-panelled Biblioteca where you can enjoy a drink and kick back with a book.
A beautiful wooden staircase positioned just outside the Bibioteca leads to 8 beautifully styled rooms of which we were shown the Junior Suite or Room No 1.
Come take a look through the photo tour where crisp clean lines meet contemporary décor in this beautifully renovated project. A fuss free 4 poster bed with a linen drapes and dusky blues and rustic lemony yellows. The style of the Havana from the 1950s is bought alive with the contemporary twists. The dark wood furniture has been hand-crafted in Italy to provide that authentic charm blending seamlessly with the other interiors.
Bathrooms are luxuriously equipped with amenities from the Hermès brand and contain double vanity units with separate shower rooms and a freestanding bath.
Following the tour, we were both in awe of this fabulously designed art-deco hotel and we both know that this will be our home from home in Havana. Paseo 206 and Eclectico was the perfect ending to a lovely relaxed birthday in a bucket-list destination, fine dining on simple contemporary cuisine and equivalent surroundings.
A point to note about Eclectico is that compared to the more central eateries in La Habana, the prices were extremely reasonable for the quality of food and our 3 course meal including drinks totted up in the region of £40 per person.
I would absolutely love to know if you have heard of Paseo 206 and Eclectico. If you are planning a trip to Havana would this be somewhere you would consider dining?
Paseo 206 Boutique Hotel La Habana
Avenida Paseo 206
Tel +53 7 8313423
Until the next time…
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