Leave the spices at home, Cuba has great food!

When reading personal reviews and blogs, It often stated that Cuban food in Cuba was not good. It was disappointing to read. Although I wouldn’t call myself a foodie I do like to eat good food when I travel. It was suggested by several people to bring your own seasonings because the food was bland and had little to no flavor. I thought to myself, I’ll add spices to my list of things to bring to Cuba. Unfortunately, I forgot my spices but I am happy to report that I did not need them and the food was great despite the reviews I had read. That is why it is important to experience things for yourself. Read further along as a discuss and grade some great restaurants that I  would highly recommend to eat in Cuba.

Day 1

I made a reservation in advance by email for Paladar Vistamar. While we waited for a table, we took pictures of the beautiful sunset. The views consisted of an infinity pool with the waves crashing in the background from the ocean. Although the view from the outside is nice I preferred to sit inside where it was much cooler due to the fans circulating throughout the restaurant. We ordered the seafood platter: fish, lobster, octopus which came with rice and beans. The food was delicious, its a must stop when visiting Cuba.

Grade: A++

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Day 2

Lunch at the Callejon de Hamel (I can’t recall the name of the restaurant), the price included our meal (fish, rice, beans, mashed potatoes), a soft drink, ice cream, and coffee. The price was worth the amount of food you are saved by the food was just ok.

Grade B-

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For dinner, we ate at Habana 61. I attempted to make reservations at Habana 61 before arriving in Cuba but was told they were only accepting reservations once you were in Cuba. We called and thankfully they were available. As an appetizer we ordered croquettes, it had a nice crunch on the outside but the inside was too mushy. Our dinner arrived and collectively we ordered 3 sauce beef, tropical lobster, enchilada lobster, ropa vieja, and fish. All meals came with rice and beans. We all agreed the entrees were excellent. This was my favorite restaurant out of all the eateries we frequented.

Grade A+++

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Croquettes
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Enchilada Lobster

Day 3

For lunch, we ate restaurant Hostal El Canonazo that our tour guide recommended. but it was not the best it was just ok, we again tried a platter came with chicken, fish, shrimp and pork, rice and beans. Would not recommend the shrimp.

Grade C

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For dinner, we made reservations at one of the most popular Paladars to dine, La Guarida. It is a setting for an old movie called Fresca y chocolate and became popular in 1996. I ordered honey, lime chicken, and the flavors were decent. Make sure you go up to the rooftop for scenic view and pictures and don’t forget to take pictures on the winding staircase. This paladar is extremely popular, remember to make a reservation by email or telephone well in advance.

Grade A-

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Ropa Vieja (Shredded Beef)

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Day 4

In Varadero, we ate a small restaurant and I had beef ribs, rice, beans, and plantain, which were good. Enjoyed the background music that accompanied it.

Grade B +

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Ribs & Plantain
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Chicken Fajitas (They don’t serve tortillas)
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Rice and Beans
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Serenaded with music

 

Day 5 & 6

In Trinidad, we enjoyed a restaurant called San Jose Martin. It was so good and inexpensive that we ate here two days in a row. This was the cheapest meal ($8-12 CUC) we found on the island. The first night I enjoyed the fish of the day with fries, rice, and beans. On the second day, I enjoyed Seafood Paella a rice dish with lobster, fish, shrimp and red bell peppers. I tried the brownie for dessert but it was on the dry side, but the French toast was great.

Grade A+++

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Appetizer- Plantain with shrimp & melted cheese

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Seafood Paella with Shrimp, Lobster, & Fish
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Brownie & Ice Cream

Day 7:

I ate at a small Paladar in old Havana call El Felix. I ordered Cordon Bleu. It was so good. It was a piece of fried chicken with ham and cheese inside. The chicken was fried perfectly and had the right amount of seasoning. I’m still thinking about the chicken now.

Grade A+++

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Day 8: 

Buena Vista Social Club – I ate an appetizer consisting of a tamale and rib and it was pretty tasty.
Grade B- I only had an appetizer and the waiters were not very attentive to our table.

As you can see most meals come with white rice and black beans. I love rice and beans, so I enjoyed my meals. If you are a seafood lover, you will love eating in Cuba due to how cheap lobster, fish and shrimp are. Daily average meals were between $15-20 CUC. Please have the Cubans take you to where they eat as the meals maybe cheaper ans tastier. I have heard of some restaurant having a menu for the tourist which is more expensive but I’m not sure if its true as I didn’t actually see evidence of this occurring.  I encourage everyone to leave tips for the waitress as Cubans earn a small monthly income.

From the meals mentioned above which restaurants would you most likely try? If you have been to Cuba and can recommend other great restaurants please let me know.

39 Comments

    • Per meal, I’m pretty sure you could find cheaper alternatives in Havana. I didn’t find cheaper meals until visiting Trinidad. It is to be noted we only ate about twice a day.

  1. So glad you were able to get to Cuba, with the ne political climate, many people’s plans to go to Cuba may have to be put on the back burner. ;-( Of the foods that you described and pictured I would have to say that the food in Trinidad looked the most appealing. Thanks for sharing.

    • Yes, Im glad i was able to go as well! I really believe 45 is trying to undue everything that Obama has done, its crazy… Even though there are restrictions, people will still be able to go. In addition if people had already booked there ticket prior to the announcement they are OK to still travel. We were so happy to find the cheap food in Trinidad we didn’t know what to do with ourselves..lol

    • Yes people love to eat. I thought I had better read the reviews due to so many negative comments about the food. That is why it is always good to experience it for yourself.

  2. Reviews are honest with pictures to support. I have never been to Cuba, but my daughter is planning her second trip later this year. She loved so much, however, I am not sure if she tried any of the above places.

    • You must accompany her on this second trip its a great place to visit. Show her the article, ask her if she has some recommended places and I can possibly add to the list of recommendations. Thanks in advance.

    • LOL, that is what they say never go to the store hungry because you will have a large grocery bill. Yes I’m still thinking about some of the food I ate there. Thank you so much for reading.

  3. It all looks so delicious!! I would imagine the food would be delicious there! Cuba is definitely on my list of places I want to visit

    • It was very tasty which I was very surprised that many people had the opposite experience. Yes you should def visit, I’m pretty sure you will enjoy.

  4. You ladies ate well. My cousin and I just went to little hole in the wall spots. Nothing fancy and our meals were beterr 3-20 CUC at most. We spent the weekend at a resort, but the cafes we went to were really good.

    • Yes we ate very good! I needed to be where you were at, finding food starting at $3 CUC. How was your resort experience? Was it super expensive ?

      • The resort was nice. I wasn’t expecting 5 star, but it sufficed for the time period we were there. The beach and pool were amazing.

    • Yes I traveled right before the changes were made to enter Cuba. What has stopped you from leaving the US??

    • Thank you. That was one of my favorite pictures, when I seen the view on other pics, I knew I had to visit the restaurant.

  5. I went to Cuba last year to Varadero. It was so magical and cuban food is super flavorful thanks for sharing your foodie post.

    • I loved the beach in Varadero. Our casa was only a 5 minute walk and the water was so warm, soft sand and hanging with the locals were great. Yes the food is delish.

    • Yes we ate breakfast and dinner at our Casa in Varedero. I just recently finished my post on Airbnb and the opportunity for host to cook. I agree the food in the casas were great and much appreciated.

  6. I was so looking forward to a trip to Cuba, but not sure if I’ll still get that opportunity with Trump changing the rules. All of this food looks AH-MAZING

    • Please continue look forward to your trip. Don’t be deterred, you can still go.. Just travel with a group and stay in approved lodging such as an Airbnb. The rules only changed slightly. Let me know if you have further questions.

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