El Café isn’t so much the Havana coffee shop newcomer on the block anymore (that block being Amargura entre Aquacate y Villegas en La Habana Vieja). They’ve been around for a few years now and have even had to expand due to popularity. Nonetheless, El Café is still my favorite coffee shop pretty much anywhere in the world — and I’ve been some places.
The brainchild of Nelson Rodríguez Tamayo (an awesome human), El Cafe is a Havana coffee shop opened in April 2016 after he had lived in London for a while. I first met Nelson when we were filming for Startup Cuba. He’s featured in Episode Three and conveniently, El Café is across the street from our go-to casa particular.
“El Café is still my favorite café, pretty much anywhere in the world…”
When Nelson returned to Havana from London, he realized there really weren’t any spots for breakfast (true) and so, El Café was born. The place is exactly what it’s name implies: a café. In fact, while Nelson was building out El Cafe , he used to tell his wife as he walked out the door, “Voy a ir al café.” When it came time to open and he didn’t yet have a name, “El Café” just stuck.
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With bread made from scratch, fresh-ground coffee beans, smoothies and vegetarian options, the food alone is worth the visit. The warm and welcoming staff, bohemian vibe and gorgeous open air Havana space make you want to stay.
“When it came time to open and he didn’t yet have a name, ‘El Café’ just stuck.“
Grab some pancakes, don’t miss the pork sandwich, and give Nelson a beso for us.
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