Where to Eat in Cuba
Everywhere you look there is a place to grab a bite. But we weren;t on the lookout for just any eater but rather paladares.
And, there are many uniques paladares in Cuba to choose from.
Paladares are in Cuban homes.
Its just like the Sharing Economy that is making its way across North America.
By definition, this is what it is:
Paladar (plural: paladares) is a term used in Cuba to refer to restaurants run by self-employers. Mostly family-run businesses, paladares are fundamentally directed to serve as a counterpart to state-run restaurants for tourists seeking a more vivid interaction with Cuban reality, and looking for homemade Cuban food.
1. Salsa Suarez
We happened upon this swanky cafe when I was feeling really sick and needed to sit down for a glass of water and if possible, air conditioning. I was sooooo sick and needed relief. This paladar was exactly what the doctor ordered. OMG. It was very South Beach, very Ocean Drive in Varadero.
The food is interesting, service is pretty decent but very European (read: slow). But they had a bar to sit at, a patio and a room in the back with AC. And, to top it off, a super clean restroom with toilet paper. In Cuba, this place was 5 stars all around. (they even have a FB page here)
2. Cafe Malmane (Havana)
3. Don Alex (Varadero)
4. Pequena Suarez (Varadero)
5. Donde Lis (Havana)
Impeccable service at this diamond in the rough.
We found this by accident when we were wandering through Havana. Again, you can tell when the family has influence from Miami and connections . . . they have to have those in decorating with this amount of style. It was so pretty AND they had a clean bathroom with toilet paper. Yay!!!
Prices were much more reasonable than some of the restaurants we were seeing.
Here’s where to go:
Tejadillo No. 163 entre
Habana y Compostela
La Habana Vieja, Cuba
(53) 7 860-0922
6. Havana Particular
(best breakfast offered at our Casa Particular)
Its also the home we stayed at, here is the contact info:
Casa Virtudes 216
(53) 7 861 0656
This is on Calle Virtudes between Aguila y Amistad (about a 2 minute walk to Parque Central) towards Centro Habana
7. El Galleon (Varadero)
8. Casa Belisa (Varadero)
This was an amazing family who went out of their way to make us comfortable and well fed.
We stayed at this Home in Caradero and ate breakfast (beyond American sized) every morning and one night they cooked us a special dinner. We had an entire Casita with dining roon, air conditioning, private bathroom, private patio and even a kitchenette with fridge all to ourselves. Its one block from the best beach in the world.
Here is their contact info:
2da Ave No. 2003 e/ 20 y 21
Varadero, Cuba (across the street from Hotel Tropicoco)
On one night, they offered to make us a lobster dinner. OMG. We started with a salad with the most enormous avocado that I have ever seen! Homemade tostones, minestrone soup, rice, quince pie, beet and a huge lobster tail. It was 15 CUC total. Honestly, the best meal and the best price in town. Best kept secret!!! No other lobster was the size we had at Casa Belisa.
My husband and I are still talking about this amazing meal!!! This Casa is between 35 – 40 CUC per night and we are so glad we found it. They took great care of us, always cleaning our room, we never ever had to worry about anything missing (which traveling internationally always makes one nervous) and when we left we gave the owner a generous tip . . . and she wept!! Their appreciation was amazing! Win- win!
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