Río Mar

Amazingly for a city by the sea Havana has precious few places to eat with a view to the deep blue ocean. Rio Mar has a whole terrace overlooking the where the Rio Almendares flows into the sea, opposite the historic 1830 Club (watch out for nights where regaeton blasts across the bay!). This little bay is sheltered but gives you a sense and smell of the ocean without the waves.

Since the opening in February 2012, Rio Mar has gone straight to the top of most expatriate pop charts for dining options. This is on account of not just the fabulous location but also, attentive service, fabulous food and an attention to minimalist elegant décor. You can sit inside but outside of the really sweltering summer months it is the terrace that draws you in. Bear in mind for the summer months you may feel the heat inside, they could do with some more ceiling fans for the central tables.

It is not the cheapest, a main course will set you back CUC 13-18, but it is worth it. Baby Châteaux Briand, lobster cocktail, spicy pork, garlic grilled fish–the menu is short but good. Drinks are reasonably priced, cocktails nicely made and the wine selection limited but with some good options.

Chocolate tart and key lime pie at Rio Mar

It was nice to see that Rio Mar had fixed the “down” reported in this column some months ago and now includes reasonable priced wines in its menu. We also are happy to report another “up” which we found in out last visit. That is the desserts, specifically the chocolate tart and the key lime pie; both are creamy, tasty, not two sweet, beautifully presented and delicious.