The Best Places to Enjoy Cuban Cuisine In Cuba

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H ello Simply Readers!  As promised, I’m back with an article dedicated to places to eat in Cuba.  My recent trip to Cuba (article here) was an amazing experience that left me simply satisfied.  I recommend anyone who can and is interested, visit Cuba.  And now for the food!

Cuba is an Island nation renowned for its food. The richness of Cuban cuisines can be traced to Spanish and African roots although the French, Arab, Chinese, and Portuguese influenced Cuban cuisines in a significant way. What we have today are products of the merger between all of these different cultures.

Arroz Congri, for instance, is a rich Cuban cuisine made from black beans and rice and enjoyed with stews and meats, which are also quite popular. Traditional Cuban cuisines are not heavily seasoned; most of their flavor is derived from olive oil, lemon juice, onions, garlic, and cumin. Meat is a predominant part of Cuban cuisine and interestingly, travelers and locals alike often relish pork, chicken, beef and a host of seafood such as lobster, fish, etc.

Ropa vieja is the most traditional dish available with stewed beef and vegetables. Breakfast in most of these restaurants is a combination of eggs, meat (toasted ham), and coffee with warm milk, fresh tropical fruit, fresh bread, and slices of avocado, cheese sambos, papaya and a host of other foods.

Each of the places listed in this article has their peculiarities; they include privately owned and government-owned restaurants. The privately owned restaurants are commonly called Paladares.

  • EL COCINERO – this restaurant is an outdoor restaurant located in Vedado. It is usually busy and is an excellent place to enjoy grilled lobster, fish, many seafood, and cocktail. The bartenders are on hand to meet your requests because the restaurant operates without a menu.
  • PALADAR SAN CRISTOBAL – in Havana, this is one highbrow restaurant with antique decorations and paintings lining the walls. The menu is traditional, and you cannot miss the fresh taste of Cuban cuisine made from sweet plantain and juicy Camarones, sirloin steak and crispy tostones.
  • SLOPPY JOE’S – this restaurant reopened after nearly 50 years of closure in 2013. It is a familiar spot for travelers because it looks modern like most restaurants in the US, however, the Cuban sandwiches and the specially flavored roast beef
  • LA MONEDA – this restaurant is famous for its soups and salads, traditional shrimps, lobster and uniquely flavored grilled fish. It is a perfect spot for lunch with some live Cuban music and the lovely views of the water.
  • CASA MIGLIS – this is a Swedish inspired restaurant located in the center of Havana, the Cuban capital. It is a beautiful spot to enjoy delectable Cuban cuisine and local Swedish dishes. Swedish meatballs, Cuban lamb stew, and properly made daiquiris are necessary haves in this restaurant.

Some other popular restaurants include O’Reilly 304, which is famous for the natural juices, cocktail, grilled vegetables and tomato salsa they serve. For a delicious, treat of ham and cheese croquettes, the Café de Los Artistas is an outdoor dining room that offers these alongside strong coffee and drinks.

A one-time experience with Cuban cuisine is an unforgettable moment. So brace up because you are going to want more of it.


Simply Kelly