Viva La Habana


It's been around since 1954, and Café La Habana, at the corner of Bucareli and Morelos in Colonia Juárez, has become the stuff of legend. Once, the offices of all the Mexican newspapers were around the corner, and Café La Habana was their reporters' favorite haunt. It was also popular among writers -- Salvador Novo, Juan Rulfo, Augusto Monterroso and Juan Jose Arreola are all said to have gotten into heated discussions or worked at the tables here. It is more or less a character in the work of Roberto Bolaño, appearing in Los detectives salvajes and at least one of his short stories. Fidel Castro and Che Guevara are said to have planned the Cuban revolution here. If truth be told, the food is at best adequate, and the service is, to put it mildly, unhurried. Still, the coffee is excellent, and it is a wonderful place to watch people -- both the clientele and those who pass by outside the picture windows.