El Rum Rum de la Habana is a typical Cuban restaurant and paladar located in the heart of La Habana Vieja, Havana’s old town. Managed by owner Osiris Oramas Oliver, El Rum Rum has become popular for its large menu featuring meat dishes, seafood, pastas, cocktails, and more.
You might be wondering what a paladar is. A paladar in Cuba refers to a family-operated eatery that offers traditional local dishes. While prohibited until the 1990s, these privately-owned establishments have since become a popular dining choice. And, they stand as an alternative to state-run restaurants.
To be honest, I didn’t know much about El Rum Rum before my visit. As I enjoy rum cocktails and Cuban food, and with their central location near many of Havana’s best sights, I thought I would give the restaurant a try.
Interior of El Rum Rum de la Habana
Being a paladar, I found the interior of El Rum Rum de la Habana to be quintessential Havana. The space was bright and airy with white walls, tall ceilings, and large windows.
When I stepped inside, I felt as though I was dining in someone’s own home. While the restaurant’s décor was quite busy, it all seemed to come together well.
With rum in its name, the restaurant featured a nautical theme, complete with blue walls and tablecloths, as well as pirate ships, rum bottles, and barrels on the walls.
The dining room was cozy and intimate, featuring a small open area at the front. From this space, a narrow passage, with more tables, led to the back of the restaurant.
El Rum Rum de la Habana Menu
I usually post photos of the menu here, but the menu at El Rum Rum de la Habana was just too large to do that. So, I will do my best to describe the menu in words.
The menu was similar to other menus in Havana. You had appetizers, salads, soups, chef specials, pasta dishes, seafood, meat dishes, and desserts.
As for drinks, you had local beers, cocktails, and an assortment of liquors including rum and whiskey.
Sautéed Chicken with Pineapple in Turmeric and Ginger
First up was the Sautéed Chicken with Pineapple in Turmeric and Ginger (2000 CUP or about $12.91). On the menu, it was listed as Pollo Salteado con Piña en Aroma de Cúrcuma y Jengibre.
Though relatively expensive compared to other restaurants in Havana, I found the portion size to be quite large. And, while simple, the dish looked beautifully plated.
The star of the dish was the large chunks of chicken. The use of dark meat ensured the chicken was juicy, moist, and tender throughout. Additionally, being grilled gave the meat an added layer of texture and smoky flavor.
Mixed in with the chicken was an assortment of ingredients. This included onions and bell peppers which added a hint of sweetness and a crunchy yet tender bite. The pineapple, common in dishes in Cuba, was sautéed, resulting in a softer texture and less sweet and acidic flavor. Carrots and yams both added a hint of sweetness and additional texture. Bringing the dish together was turmeric and ginger which added an aromatic curry-like flavor to each bite.
While simple, this dish was hearty and delicious.
Fish in Soy Sauce, Ginger, and Peppers
Since they were well known for their seafood, I couldn’t leave without trying a seafood dish. Therefore, I ordered the Fish in Soy Sauce, Ginger, and Peppers (2400 CUP or about $15.49). On the menu, this was listed as Pescado en Salsa de Soja Pimiento y Jengibre.
This dish was very similar to the chicken dish in appearance and taste. While the plate seemed small, the portion was deceivingly large. As with the first plate, you had a protein and a mixture of vegetables. I found the fish to be simple but cooked well. I am unsure what type of fish was used, but it was moist with a distinct soy sauce flavor that added a salty, umami flavor.
Mixed in with the fish was a variety of vegetables and sesame seeds which added a crunchy texture. The ginger was aromatic while the green peppers added a fresh component and a crunchy yet tender texture. Adding even more texture and flavor were sautéed onions, tender carrots, and cabbage.
In the end, I found this dish to also be hearty, delicious, and beautifully plated.
I found the service at El Rum Rum de la Habana to be attentive, though the restaurant wasn’t too busy on a Sunday afternoon.
When I arrived at the restaurant, I sat down at a table and was greeted by a server who gave me her recommendations. While these items may have been her personal favorites, the high prices of these items caused me to chuckle. I felt she was only suggesting the most expensive items, which were already more expensive than other restaurants in the area. But, this was no big deal as I ordered something else.
Other than that, food arrived quickly and correctly. My server was around when needed and left me alone to eat when I did not need anything. She always seemed to be nearby if I needed anything. And, like most places in Havana, included on the bill was a 10% service charge.
In terms of its food quality, service, and ambiance, I enjoyed my visit to El Rum Rum de la Habana. It was a beautiful restaurant in a great location, the staff were friendly, and the food, while not my favorite in Havana, was fresh and flavorful.
However, when considering the prices in comparison to nearby restaurants, I would not return. While the prices were inexpensive relatively speaking, there are many other restaurants in Havana with better food for half the price.
- Fresh and flavorful dishes
- Friendly service
- Beautiful interior
Calle Empedrado #256, Havana, Cuba
GPS Coordinates: 23.14059,-82.35328