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Travel Info / Cuba Restaurants


The food in restaurants has improved greatly in the last years, due partly to an improving economy and to the government's emphasis on tourism. There's no need to pack extra food and water. Remember, only the US enforces the trade embargo, to every one else Cuba is simply a wonderful vacation destination, and the Cubans are well aware of the need to please finicky tourists.
There are several types of restaurants:

 
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1) Restaurants in Hotels (which are generally good, but pricey [although reasonable compared to the US or Europe])

2) Restaurants for Cubans (authentic, tasty, and cheap)

3) Paladares (privately operated "restaurants," officially allowed up to 12 seats [some have more, however]. the food is sometimes excellent, and you know that your money goes directly to the people when you eat there, but the prices are only fair--still, less expensive than the hotels)

 

Again, we could list a hundred choices, but that's just a list. Here we'll list some of the better hotel restaurants, some of the nicer non-hotel restaurants, some cheap Cuban restaurants, and a few choice paladares.

Paladares:

Paladares are restaurants run out of Cuban homes. Many are in Vedado. Officially, paladares can only seat 12. Some are just some families kitchen/dining room, and some are virtually full restaurants.

in Habana Vieja...

La Rejita Mayela
Calle Habana #405, e/Obispos y Obrapia

Tel:62-6704

Open 12-11pm

Basic meals at around $9.

in Vedado...

Paladar Marpoly
Calle K 154 (a block north of Linea)

Open 12-midnite

Tasty meals for about $12.

Paladar El Amor
3rd floor of an old mansion, Calle 23 e/B y C

Tel: 3-8150

Full of antiques, you'll eat of fine china. Meals from $5.

Restarante Ls Cactus
Calle 21 e/Calle K y L

Tel: 32-4965

Open 10am-2am

Simple crillo food, from about $7

in Miramar...

La Fuente
Calle 10#303, e/Avenida 3ra y 5ta

Tel: 29-2836

Inside an old mansion will lots of atmosphere, pasta from $3, fish meals from $7. Large portions, tasty food.

 

Tourist Restaurants:

El Floridita
La Habana Vieja, Monserrate 557, at Obispo

Open daily 11:30-midnight.

Tel: 63 10 60/63

Cuba's most famous restaurant since the 1930s. Ernest Hemingway, and various Cuban presidents have been regulars here because of the excellent food well presented and well served. The prices, however, are high. Don't leave the island without trying one of the daiquiris popularized by Hemingway.

Tocororo
Miramar, Calle 18, No. 302, btw. 3rd and 5th

Open 12:30-midnight, until 2 or 3 AM if there are customers waiting. Closed Sun.

Tel: 33 22 09

Perhaps the best restaurant in Havana. Beautiful gardens, great service, wonderful food. The quality of the raw materials is excellent and the preparation is simple but delicious. The place is famous for its pechitos de camarones, the house hors d'oeuvre, and for its Creole dishes. All of the seafood is good, especially the grilled lobster. Expensive by Cuban standards, about $30 per meal.

La Bodeguita del Medio
La Habana Vieja, Empedrado 256, btw. Cuba and San Ignacio

Open daily 11:30 AM-1 AM.

Phone: 62 44 98

One of Havana's great hang outs, the Bodeguita is a superb Creole tavern. Its mojitos are famous around the world, as is its authentic Cuban fare. The restaurant is situated in one of the prettiest spots in the city. Especially recommended is the picadillo (finely chopped meat sautéed with onions, garlic, olives, and tomatoes), the tasajo, and the arroz congri (rice with spicy meat sauce). Try the chicharrones with a light beer. Also, try the upstairs, top floor, out door (well, sort of) kitchen. The prices are lower and the food is just as good. Better to get there earlier in the day, as the food is fresher.

La Casa de Quinta y 16
Miramar, Av. 5 and 16th

Open noon-10. Closed Sun.

Phone: 29 40 47

This is a small, rustic ranch house located to the side of the Casa del Habano. It offers beautifully presented portions of well prepared food, seafood as well as fish and meat. The prices are reasonable.

El Patio
La Habana Vieja, Pl. de la Catedral

Open 24 hrs.

Phone: 33 81 46

This restaurant is in the courtyard of one of the finest palaces on the Plaza de la Catedral. Although the food is average and the prices are too, a visit is recommended due to its pretty location in Habana Vieja, and its nighttime popularity, try it if only for a beer or a coffee.

La Torre del Mangia
Miramar, Playa, Av. 5, btw. 40th and 42nd

Open daily noon-11.

Phone: 33 24 50

This is the restaurant for Italian cuisine. Its chefs are schooled at the best restaurants of Italy. The decor is understated, but appealing and relaxing. The pasta dishes are always good. The parguitos entomatados del golfo (Gulf porgy with tomato) is quite popular.

Al Medina
La Habana Vieja, Casa de los árabes, Oficios 12

Open Thurs.-Tues. 3-10. Al Medina

Phone: 63 08 62

Located on a restored street in Old Havana, in a beautiful Colonial era mansion. The food is Middle Eastern with a Cuban flair. It's fun and different, but the food is rather exotic, and may not please everyone.

"Non-Tourist" Restaurants:

Snack House
Vedado, 510 H Street between 23 and 21st

Open Mon-Friday 11:00-5:00

It really doesn't have a name, but the food is dirt cheap (you pay in Cuban pesos), and tasty. You order at a little stand. Come at noon and order a lunch box, it's the equivalent of US seventy five cents: sandwich, rice, salad, bread, papaya milk shake.

There are a number of additions to be added here. Basically, this is the area for inexpensive Cuban food, places to go when you don't want to spend $15 for lunch.