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Milano Club exterior

Milan Lounge Club – Havana’s hot new cuisine destination

By Carl Wallace / Posted June 13, 2013

Calle 3ra No 2404 E/24 y 26, Miramar

Telf: (537) 203 4641

La Habana

Exec Chef Manuel Díaz Bahar and Chef Yasser Pando Cortiña

If your experience with food in Cuba only includes rice and beans or the daily offerings of the all-inclusive, it’s time to wake up to the new breed of Havana restaurant, the fabulous paladar.

The Milano Lounge Club has everything a wonderful restaurant can provide its diners and equals the kind of modern dining establishment you’ll find anywhere from décor to cuisine. That cuisine uses Cuban ingredients and includes some traditional items, but is otherwise totally modern and entirely delicious.

The impetus for the Milano Lounge Club comes from executive chef Manuel Díaz Bahar who has a fascinating history serving in his country’s embassy in Paris where he studied grande cuisine with French masters. More recently he was chef in Canada’s  embassy in Havana and reportedly invented some new offerings, based on his experience there.

The Milano opened recently in the heart of the embassy area of Miramar on 3rd Ave in a striking white house that has been converted into a minimalist, comfortable space. The menu is based on Cuban ingredients and flavours including pastas, langosta, fish and meats combined with fresh ingredients from the expanding farm sector. There’s, as the name would imply, an Italian tone to many of the dishes. A signature entrée is indicative “il mio vitello tonnato Manuel Elias Díaz Bahar” is our chef’s take on veal with tuna and capers and is wonderfully original. Fresh langosta – Cuban lobster without claws – comes many ways including simply broiled on a bed of garden salad.

As enjoyable as the tastes are the presentations. The chef, Yasser Pando Cortiña, designs each dish for visual impact incorporating imaginative presentations on white plates, adding to the modern atmosphere. When we dined there, each plate that arrived created smiles based on presentation alone.

Our meal took a brief intermission for a fun and impressive display by Ernesto, the Milano’s bartender, who has developed some entertaining juggling moves that elicited applause from the diners.

Milano Loung Club food presentation

brasato con polenta - stunning!

The food, the great service and caring attention to every detail added up to a wonderful experience. Combining some of the Cuban tradition with a dollop of Italian flair in a thoroughly modern environment adds up to a resto experience that is part of the process of redefining today’s Havana dining experience.

Carl Wallace

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