Photo by Jared Sych

For years, Havana’s paladares (privately owned restaurants) were very modest operations, consisting of just a few tables in a proprietor’s home and staffed by family members. But when reforms made in 2011 permitted owners to increase their seating and hire professional waiters and chefs, the paladar scene in Cuba’s capital truly took off—and it just keeps getting better.

Here are three to try in Old Havana.

La Guarida

One of Havana’s most famous restaurants, situated in a gorgeous (yet dilapidated) building and offering elevated Cuban dishes like tuna with sugar cane, coconut and seafood sauce.

O’Reilly 304

A hip, tiny spot that offers seafood-focused small plates and an extensive menu of creative gin cocktails.

Doña Eutimia

Very popular, and a great option if you’re on a budget. Try the Ropa Vieja de Chorra—a Cuban stew consisting of shredded lamb, tomatoes and dried spices.

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