TOP 10 RESTAURANT GUIDE TO EATING OUT IN HAVANA CUBA
When eating out in Havana Cuba there are two types of restaurants you need to know about. There is the kind that are going to serve you rice, meat and beans and the other ones. Traditional Cuban food can be very simple and very cheap, but as a tourist I like to sit around and enjoy my meal in conjunction with a nice cocktail.
When my husband first went to Cuba 10 years ago, restaurants were far and few between and were contained often illegally in someone’s house or paladar. For some time, the Cuban Government had placed restrictions around what paladars could serve, which made it difficult for privately owned businesses to operate. In 2010 the Government relaxed these regulations, which has allowed more people to more freely open restaurants across Cuba. These privately-run restaurants are still often set in private residence buildings, but I found that only adds to the charm.
Here are some of my recommendations for eating out in Havana, Cuba:
- La Guarida. This is a must for dinner and drinks. As we pulled up to the building, I said to my husband “are you sure we are at the right place?”, because it looks like a derelict building on the ground level. As you make your way up the grand staircase you come to the first floor, which is a yellow grand ballroom with chandeliers and an alfresco balcony.
Go up once more and you get up to the restaurant. The restaurant was made famous for its part in a Cuban movie called “Fresa y Chocolate.” The restaurant is stunning and overlooks other rooftop houses and restaurants nearby. Ask to sit outside to make the most of the view and don’t forget to book in advance! The restaurant is very popular and for good reason, the view and the menu are very good. We paid 75 CUC for dinner, which included 2 entrees, 2 mains, a dessert and a cocktail each.
- 304 O’Rielly street. I’m always a little wary of things that come top rated on TripAdvisor because I sometimes find them mostly full of tourists, but in Cuba TripAdvisor didn’t let me down. Yes, there were a few tourists in this joint, but for very good reasons. My husband and I sat at the bar and watched the bartender make mojito after mojito. But not the standard kind. He was making a selection of traditional, mango and watermelon. In addition to the sensational mango mojitos, we found the fish to be very good. In addition, 304 provided the most incredible crackers with homemade salsa. Needless to say, I ate the entire jar. We spent 58 CUC in total for fish, vegetarian tacos and 10 mango mojitos!
- 303 O’Rielly El Da Fret is across the road from 304 and equally as good. I’m not sure if they are the same owners, but the style of food and drinks was very similar. The thing that I loved about 303 O’Rielly was the inside and outside seating. On a hot day, you can choose to sit inside in the air-conditioned comfort and in the evening or on a cooler day sit upstairs at the terrazzo level.
- La Fontana. Another recommendation from a Cuba insider and a great one. Located just past the xxxx, La Fontana had amazing food, in fact I’d say one of my favourites. We were both really hungry that day, so we ordered a few dishes and we devoured them all within a few minutes. The fish, the vegetables and the eggplant were all sensational.
- La Terrazza is a much more casual option and the food was really nice. We went on our first night and it came recommended from both the hotel staff and an insider’s guide. The food was very nice and the drinks very strong. I recommend the seafood ceviche, as that was a standout. After being serenaded by a wonderful older couple, we walked back to our hotel slightly tipsy!
- My driver one day explained that Cubans love Italian food, but unfortunately are starved for choice. There is one good Italian restaurant located in the city and that’s Roma.
- Cha Cha Cha is across the street from the Museum De La Revolutión, so it’s a great option if you’re looking for a nearby eat. Like most other restraints in Havana, they make a mean daiquiri, so this place is also a good option for a night time drink.
- La Concordia is down the street from La Guardia. It has a million stairs (or so it felt) to get to the beautiful rooftop seating. While the food was great and the piña colada some of the best I’d tasted, I still preferred La Guardia. It is a great option however if you’re unable to get a reservation there.
- While we found the hotel breakfast lovely, it was a little on the pricey side, so by day two we went looking for other options. Breakfast at La Cafe on Anargura was around 14 CUC for two and El Dandy Bar Y Galaria about the same. La Cafe was very simple food, but it was delicious. They also made great coffee and I can’t go without my morning coffee! El Dandy Bar was only a little place, but they had a really nice Mexican style eggs, again very simple.
Hope you enjoyed our guide to eating out in Havana Cuba. For other blog’s on our time in Havana Cuba check out our “Learning to Dance Salsa in Cuba”.
EATING OUT IN HAVANA CUBA WRITTEN BY MELANIE DUCA