6 Places to Eat in Havana
The first thing you need to know about eating out in Cuba is that some restaurants are state owned while some are not. To avoid your money going towards support for the Cuban government, do your best to eat at privately owned restaurants known as paladares. Below, you can find privately owned and recommended restaurants in Havana.
1. El Cocinero
Complete with an open air rooftop patio, El Cocinero has an excellent atmosphere. Built in an old peanut oil factory, the building is completely unique. There are two main spaces, the rooftop and the interior. Each spot has their own menu. The interior dining is fancier, while an evening on the rooftop is more relaxed.
2. El del Frente
This colorful spot serves up large, photo-worthy craft cocktails and a variety of plates inspired by a variety of international cuisines. The menu makes you want to try a little bit of everything. The atmosphere is bright and airy upstairs, while offering both a rooftop and comfortable indoor dining.
3. O’Reilly 304
This little spot became so popular they opened a second restaurant right across the street, El del Frente. You can find everything from steak with grilled okra to seafood dishes with plantain chips. There is a mix of typical Caribbean food, as well the tacos and pasta.
4. Restaurante Jama
While you probably want to eat “Cuban food” when visiting Cuba, don’t discount opportunities to try the excellence of Cuban and international chefs in Havana. Serving up mostly Japanese inspired food, you can find sushi at Jama. You can also sample Cuban takes on popular seafood dishes such as fried octopus. While its not purely Japanese nor purely Cuban, it is a unique fusion at a stylish restaurant.
5. La Guarida
La Guarida is a bit Instagram famous for its old sweeping staircase. It’s also the location of a famous Cuban 90s film called Fresa y Chocolate. After climbing the stairs all the way to top, you’ll find cozy decor with art and photographs adorning the walls. There’s also an outdoor patio with views of the city.
6. Paladar Doña Eutimia
If you’re looking for more typical Cuban food, this may be one of your best bets. In the words of one Cuban, “food here is like eating your grandmother’s food.” The bar area has several sofas and comfortable chairs for lounging while the dining area has antique, sturdy tables in a cozy space. You can find this place across from an artist’s workshop in Cathedral Square. This place is often packed so come with an easy going patience.
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