When I read Los detectives salvajes (The savage detectives) by Roberto Bolaño I tried to discover who was who in real life. It’s well known that the characters and places in the novel were references to real ones, so when I discovered that Café Quito was Café La Habana, I visited the place.
The main character of Los detectives salvajes, the poet Juan García Madero, used to visit this coffee shop where he met Rosario, a waitress that became his lover. That’s where important meetings and gossip would take place.
This coffee shop near downtown was founded in the ’50s of the 20th century. It’s a traditional and enigmatic part of Mexico City. Some people say that around 1954 Fidel Castro and Ernesto “Che” Guevara used to meet there and spent some hours talking about the revolution. Also, it was once well known as a meeting point for important journalist and writers, such as Octavio Paz or Gabriel García Marquez.
Nowadays, it’s a traditional restaurant where you can eat some Mexican food and talk about the history of the place. What makes Café La Habana so special is imagining the things that took place there. I love to ask some questions to the waitress, they like telling stories about it.
Last but not least, the menu is huge and you can try a lot of Mexican dishes. For me the enchiladas are the best.