Best Cuban Restaurants
By Chaz Chambers(Musician, Tour Guide Leader, and Director of Havana Music Tours and Musical Getaways)
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. Cuban food 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 Cuban restaurants is very diverse, 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 Cook” in Spanish) is a 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)
4. Plan B
Plan B is a restaurant where most 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 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!
3. La Guarida
This place was made famous by the movie Fresa y Chocolate. It is located in the same building as where the movie was filmed. It is a beautiful 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!
2. El Del Frente
El Del Frente is located in Old Havana on O’Reilly street. They are one of the most crafty restaurants in Havana. They serve freshly prepared vegetables from a unique, organic farm outside Havana. You won’t find many of these vegetable selections around Cuba. They make a mixture of international cuisine and some attractive Cuban food styles. El Del Frente has some of Havana’s most unique and strongest craft cocktails. Try a mango daiquiri!
Atelier is the place to go for one of Havana’s best Ropa Vieja plates. In my opinion, of course. I also think they have the best black beans and rice. 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 Morro y Cristianos, black beans, and rice cooked together. I don’t mind this from time to time, but it is drier 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.
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