Cuba is now home to a vibrant culinary scene after years in the wilderness, and we have picked out ten of the best spots for you to visit on your next trip to the island.
Pizzeria, Italian, $$$
Nestled in Old Havana is this pizza joint housed in an 18th century mansion. It’s oozing with character and widely acclaimed as the best pizzeria in Cuba. Word has got out on the quality of the food, so book ahead to make sure you get a table.
Hang out with the hip Havana set at this trendy spot in the Vedado neighborhood. Experienced bar staff whip up a range of delightful cocktails, and grilled lobster features heavily on the menu. It’s also an ideal spot for people-watching.
Old Havana may be renowned as the most touristy area of the Cuban capital, but that’s not to say that there aren’t some hidden gems. The crumbling mansion which houses La Guarida might not look like much from the outside, but inside it’s magical. With a huge chandelier and amazing views from the terrace, it’s a must-see.
After years of struggling to source ingredients, Cuban chefs are reveling in the new possibilities that have opened up in recent years. This Havana spot prides itself on using fresh produce in all its food, and the juices and cocktails are also well worth a try.
Restaurant, Restaurant with Rooms, Contemporary, Cuban
Atelier Restaurante, La Habana
Vedado is becoming a major player on the Havana restaurant scene, and Atelier is a major reason why. The spacious mansion is perfect for large parties, and you can sample a long list of delicious dishes while marveling at the stunning interior design. Check out the extensive cocktail list before, or indeed after, you eat.
Visitors to Santiago de Cuba should make a point of stopping at St Pauli, a breath of fresh air in the city’s otherwise uneventful culinary scene. Try the octopus with garlic as you soak up the atmosphere and watch the chefs go about their business in the glass-walled kitchen.
It hasn’t been open long, but La Redaccion Cuba has quickly become popular in Trinidad thanks to its international comfort food. There are burgers, pasta and other classics, served up on a big shared table – perfect for solo travelers looking to meet people.
If you’re in Santa Clara to visit the Che Guevara memorial, be sure to have a meal at this atmospheric joint. Tables are arranged in a colonial courtyard stuffed with antiques, and attentive staff add to a truly memorable dining experience.
Slightly outside town on the winding road to Hotel los Jazmines, Balcon del Valle offers a spectacular setting on wooden decks overlooking the valley. There is no menu, just a choice between chicken, pork and fish with traditional trimmings. It’s well worth the trip.
While many visitors to Varadero will be on all-inclusive package deals, Cuba’s most popular beach town is also home to a growing number of privately-run restaurants. Salsa Suarez has something for every palate thanks to a wide-ranging international menu, and the plant-filled patio adds to its relaxed atmosphere. The service is excellent, and you’ll even be able to get a decent cup of coffee after you’ve finished your food.