For many travelers food epitomizes the feeling of adventure. Enjoying foreign culinary delicacies whilst on your travels certainly has the capacity to tantalise your taste buds and conjure up nostalgic thoughts of previous travels. Many countries boast unique cuisine, and Cuba is no different. Sharing cooking techniques, blends of spices and cultural influences with its neighboring countries, Cuban cuisine combines aspects of Native American Taino, Spanish, African, and Caribbean food.
Not only does Cuban food reflect its cultural and political history, but also its tropical climate and embargo restrictions. These predicaments however, rather than supressing the level of culinary offerings, has bought in a wave of passionate Paladares (private restaurants) owners eager to show off their food.
Where to eat in Cuba
Unlike China, India or the countries of Europe, when thinking of Cuban food not one particular dish springs to mind. However, the obligatory after dinner Cuban cigar is not the only local treat to be enjoyed. Tucked away in secret enclaves and hidden within Havana’s tower blocks, an array of restaurants serving authentic Cuban dishes are waiting to be found. Below we have listed the ones in Havana you can’t miss as well as a couple of wildcards a little further out for those feeling adventurous.
La Habana is one of Cuba’s most famous restaurants. Located in La Mansión Camagüey, its impressive exterior provides a perfect example of Cuba’s chequered history. Once a Colonial mansion, its marble stair case and wooden pillared entrance creates a charming ambience, which is only matched by the care and attention of those running the restaurant, a truly unique dining experience.
Situated within parts of an old industrial building, El Concinero. complete with roof top bar, epic views of Havana’s city scape and modern art gallery next door, is defiantly a place not to be missed. Serving traditional food with a creative twist helps El Concinero stand out from the crowd and leave its customers hungry for more.
With its familiar yet mystical feel, San Cristoba’s cuisine and décor pays tribute to its Cuban cultural heritage and roots. Boasting an extensive menu of both Spanish and Cuban fare, San Cristoba compliments their excellent food with a personal and attentive service. Whilst enjoying the food customers are able to take in the classical Cuban aesthetic and revere in the historical influences the restaurant provides.
Another one for those who wish to leave the hustle of Havana, Restaurant 421 can be found in the picturesque beach town of Guanabo. Their offerings include a cosy terrace perfect for evening al fresco dinning and an authentic coal oven, bringing Italian influences to the Cuban countryside. Both the traditional Italian style pizzas and tranquil atmosphere are top notch.
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