There are many great restaurant options around Havana, Cuba… but these are a few of my favorite. They are all “Paladares,” which means a privately owned restaurant. The food in Cuba is usually pretty heavy with different meats like pork, beef, and chicken. All the food is typically accompanied with some rice and a savory sauce. Each of the below restaurants are very diverse from each other and I think if you try them all you will get a nice variety of food options during your Cuba trip.

 

5. El Cocinero

El Cocinero, (which means the “The Cook” in Spanish) is a very lovely and ambient restaurant located near and attached to the famous Fabrica de Arte Cubano. It is in the Vedado neighborhood of La Habana, Cuba. They have two levels of terraces with two different menus. The terrace on the 3rd floor is slightly cheaper while the 2nd floor is a little more expensive. El Cocinero has a nice mix of international cuisine including different meats such as pork, chicken, seafood and they also have some vegetarian options. A very cool place to eat and grab some drinks before visiting FAC (Fabrica de Arte Cubano)

Delicious duck at el cocinero in havana cubaPlate with pork loin at el cocinero in Havana, Cubagroup picture eating at el cocinero in havana cuba

4. Plan B

Plan B is a restaurant where mostly Cubans eat. It is relatively inexpensive at about 3-6 CUC per meal. I love this place because they are usually open 24 hours and they serve traditional Cuban food that is really good. If you want to try tamales, Ropa Vieja, Pan Con Lechon, Malanga, Boniato, Pork plates (Masas, Lomo, etc) this is a great place at the right price!

ropa vieja at plan B, a 24 hour restaurant in Havana, Cuba

3. La Guarida

This place was made famous by the movie Fresa y Chocolate. It is located in the exact same building as where the movie was filmed. It is a wonderful place with a very romantic environment. The food is excellent. They even have one of the top rated rooftops in Havana. I highly recommend having a cocktail on the rooftop at sunset!

Fresh beef at La Guarida the Paladar in Central Havana, Cuba Upclose picture of food at la guarida in central Havana the stairs going up to la Guarida in central havana, cuba

2. El Del Frente

El Del Frente is located in Old Havana on O’reilly street. They are definitely one of the most crafty restaurants in Havana. They serve fresh prepared vegetables from a unique organic farm right outside of Havana. You won’t find many of these vegetable selections around Cuba. They make a mixture of international cuisine and some interesting Cuban food styles. El Del Frente has some of the most unique and strongest craft cocktails in Havana. Try a mango daiquiri!

close up picture of grilled vegetables at el del frente in old havana, cuba Fresh fish plate at el del frente in old havana cuba craft made cocktails at el del frente in old havana, cuba

1. Atelier

Atelier is the place to go for one of the best Ropa Vieja plates in Havana. In my opinion, of course. I also think they have the best black beans and rice. I think it is best to order the beans and rice separately and then pour the black beans and their juices over the rice. IT IS AMAZING! Otherwise most Cuban restaurants serve what is called Morro y Cristianos which is black beans and rice cooked together. I don’t mind this from time to time, but it is more dry than the first recommendation. Atelier is also the perfect place if you want to eat some lobster or other great seafood options mixed with other meats, vegetarian, and gluten free options.

A close up shot of a steak entree at atelier in Vedado, havana, cuba

You’ve probably heard about the vintage cars and delicious cuisine, but as cool as those things are, my favorite part of Cuba was the culture. Don’t get me wrong, eating fresh mango and riding in a car from the 50s is amazing, but there’s something truly unique about their culture.

Cuba’s Culture

The city squares teemed with life every morning and evening. The people were very kind and incredibly excited to hear I was from the US. I sat with locals and watched a Cuba vs USA baseball game, and though my spanish is terrible, we still laughed, cheered and hazed each other when our teams did well. I’m a nerd, so of course I hung out and watched the locals play chess in the square. One evening, I even had a local english-speaking professor come up and tell me about the history of their revolution. There’s a sense of community there that I hadn’t really experienced back in the states.

I consider myself something of an astute musicians, art appreciator and lover of random historical knowledge and Cuba appealed to each of these aspects of my character. From beautiful cathedrals to statues of Don Quixote, from vibrant pastel buildings to streetside musicians improving rumba music, my mind was enamored! I will definitely be taking another trip back to this timeless paradise!

If you’ve always wanted to visit Cuba, but you’re worried about the travel bans and regulations; there’s some great articles in the blog that cover these topics. The new regulations were announced 2-3 weeks before I flew down so I had the same concerns: Can Americans still travel to Cuba? What do I have to do to go to Cuba? Etc. There very well may come a time where we will have limited access to that beautiful country, but that time isn’t now! Enjoy it while you can!

The famous El Malecón stretches five miles along the coast in Havana, Cuba. It is where the sea meets the city and all the priceless fun occurs with the Cuban people and the distant tourists. Here, you can really experience the excitement and free spirit of the Cuban culture. People are walking around playing traditional Cuban music (Afro-Cuban rumba, bolero, guaguancó and more.) You will find diverse groups of people dancing, singing, drinking some Havana Club or maybe even enjoying a Bucanero cerveza (Cuban beer).

Malecón was originally designed as a protection of the city from the water. (Who would have guessed that it would become one of the coolest nighttime hangout spots in the whole city.) Construction of the wall that lines the sea began around 1901 and some parts were even developed up until the early 1920s. The final parts were constructed in the late 1940s and early 50s, before the famous Cuban Revolution.

Your tour leader will make sure that each itinerary has a nighttime visit to El Malecón around sunset. There are a series of small restaurants and bars to grab food and drinks. Sometimes there are even pop up tents selling street food, water, sodas, and beer. You will see plenty of vintage cars driving by as you observe the classic architecture, unlike any other city. It is not only blissful, but it will bring you back to an era that emulates the 1950s. Each area you walk along has something fun and inspiring happening.

Havana Music Tours has a selection of tour dates that are very flexible for anyone’s schedule. We also have some of the most unique itineraries in comparison to any other tour operators. We are simply a music loving company that has a passion for international travel. The music in Cuba has famously influenced jazz musicians in America, Latin America, and the rest of the world for decades. Find out why everyone loves Cuba and their culture so much, book your tour now.