Cuba has a rich cuisine that has evolved out of the island’s layered, émigré history, and yet a lot of people who travel to Cuba complain of having eaten badly. There are various reasons for this, but none that cannot be dealt with when you’ve got a grassroots-operating experienced travel company on your side.
Here are some highlights from Havana!
This seaside restaurant is located off a small bay where Miramar meets the Malecon and where the Almendares river ends. The restaurant has a lovely terrace facing the sea where guests can enjoy a drink while looking out over a tranquil inlet.
Don't miss: The swordfish ceviche, which is served with a thin layer of guacamole or the grilled fish with octopus for the main course
Porto-Habana pairs authentic Cuban cuisine with stunning sunset views. Aside from panoramic views of the Havana coastline, the carefully crafted dishes also offer many photo opportunities of their own.
Don't miss: The picadillo a la habanera and the traditional ropa vieja
New on the scene-Not to Miss!!
The seaside ambiance is embellished by a beautiful swimming pool that spills its water into the ocean. If enjoying delicious seafood dishes overlooking the crashing ocean sounds enticing, read no more, and book a table!
Best for: Seafood, sunset, dining Don't miss: Eggplant boat, tomato, and blue cheese soup, rabbit and eggplant in wine sauce
This small, cozy restaurant in up-and-coming San Isidro, a colorful neighborhood in Old Havana, has the most delicious mocktails and a fresh, modern uptake on traditional Cuban food. Not to miss: every Friday chef Diana hosts theme night, with delicious international and local cuisine.
Best for: Drinks with friends, Tapas, Friday theme nights. Don't miss: Seviche, low-temperature ribs, “la completa”, handcrafted pasta
Fine dining in a hip atmosphere created by chef Raulito Bazuka and artist friends. Authentic Cuban cuisine with a modern twist, in an unusual combination of informality and stylish cuisine… but it works!
Best for: Fine dining, cocktails, a night out with friends Don't miss: Smoked fish, mojitos, tasting menu experience
A chic distressed interior with a huge artwork by Damian Aquiles. The chef worked for years on the diplomatic scene as one of the most sought-after chefs and the food here is simple but very elegant with excellent service
Best for: Live music, Don't miss: Ginger mojitos, octopus salad
Costa Vino combines creative dishes from Mediterranean, Cuban and international cuisines with a wide selection of wines.
Best for: Wine, great views, elegant dining, wine pairing. Don't miss: Pork loin with chicharrones in tamarind sauce, Thai shrimps
Old friends are always the best!
Elegant, sophisticated and contemporary. Otramanera provides a great dining experience, combined with its excellent wine list — definitely one of the best in town.
Best for: Formal dining, wine lovers, romantic couples Don't miss: The beef cooked at low temperature over roasted potatoes and caramelized onions
Two decades on, this place has become synonymous with fine dining in Cuba. In terms of overall quality and atmosphere, La Guarida is pure value.
Best for: Something more than a Cuban gastronomic experience Don't miss: The Smoked Marlin tacos with rum perfume, mayonnaise, and capers appetizer, the suckling pig in a savory honey and orange sauce (try it with Champagne)
El del Frente
Definitely one of the coolest bars/restaurants in town. The drinks here are exceptional. Light a cigar on the rooftop and try one of the best gin tonics, daiquiris, and mojitos in Havana.
Best for: Exceptional drinks, light meals, get together with friends Don't miss: Bloody Mary “Cesar Premium”, any Daiquiri available
The eccentric mix of Cuban and Asian cuisine served here is an interesting addition to Havana. Cool and authentic, Jama is one of the go-to places right now.
Best for: Casual dining, quality Asian food with amazing drinks Don't miss: The steamed dumplings and signature fried rice with seafood and spices, Bloody Mary “Samuray”
La Esperanza is one of those places which gives out its own microclimate so far removed it is from your typical Havana dining experience. The décor is a riot of a quaint English drawing-room somehow mixed up with an art deco-gone-baroque style.
Best for: Great drinks, no menu; the daily special is recited! Don't miss: Gin and Tonic, mojitos, Oshun banana
With the chef’s exquisite interpretation of traditional recipes, this new paladar measures up to our expectations and goes beyond. It is now the talk of Havana.
Best for: Fun meals in the heart of Old Havana. Don't miss: The salmorejo, ceviche and the exquisite lamb
La Cocina de Liliam
A legend long before Cuban food became legendary, with classy service, secluded ambiance, and freshly cooked food to die for.
Best for: Fine dining, early evening, family dinners. Don't miss: Fried chickpeas, lamb stew, paella
Sandwiches and snacks
For a healthy light lunch of natural juices and great salads... followed by sinful desserts!
Best for: Breakfast, brunch, lunch Don't miss: Patty’s bittersweet sauce; pastries
El Cuarto de Tula
Set breakfasts at 5 CUC with great variety. Great tapas and appetizers, and amazing cocktails.
Best for: Breakfast, brunch, lunch Don't miss: Philadelphia sushi, seafood pasta, fresh juices, Old Fashioned
Brunch is a relatively new concept in Cuba, but this gem has it beat. Lovely artisanal bread, great hummus, fruit salads. Vegan and vegetarian-friendly.
Best for: Breakfast, brunch, lunch Don't miss: Sourdough bread, fresh juices
Café Fortuna Joe’s
Funky decoration, and even funkier furnishings mixing the antique with the unusual. Delicious sandwiches and salads! Great array of coffees and teas.
Best for: Breakfast, brunch, lunch Don't miss: VodkaSol, Elena Ruth, Café Fortuna
5 Esquinas Trattoria
This busy restaurant in Old Havana has a full trattoria vibe. Great spot when wandering the old city to sit back, enjoy a cold beer, and share a pizza. Vegetarian-friendly with vegan options.
Best for: Italian food, brunch, lunch Don't miss: Pizza Margarita, seafood pasta