Cubans and tourists in the know agree that the best traditional Cuban cuisine is usually off the beaten tourist trail or served in paladares, which are restaurants run by individuals out of their private homes. When you venture out of your Cuba holiday rental and seek some authentic Caribbean fare, here are a few of the favourite eateries to try in the city.
La Cocina d’Lilliam
This is one of Havana’s family-owned restaurants. Lilliam has been cooking traditional Cuban cuisine in a palm-fronted gated building since she was a teenager. Today the restaurant is still run by Lilliam, her daughter, sons and husband. She continuously changes the menu to fit in with seasonal trends and evolves the decoration as the menu changes so that the food and décor blend perfectly. Visitors can indulge in dishes such as fried green plantain, black rice with octopus, shrimp stew with tomato sauce and glazed smoked pork loin. For dessert indulge in guava shells with cheese or tres leches cake. The ambiance is old Cuba and the décor features lots of wood and trellis with wicker dining chairs and comfy cushions. Sit with family and enjoy a taste of good old-fashioned family cooking, Cuban style.
Another restaurant worth a visit from your Cuba vacation rental is La Guarida. Situated in Calle Concordia, in central Havana this paladar private Cuban restaurant is a favourite with the locals. A wonderful early 20th century building which offers an exclusive atmosphere in a luxury style restaurant. The paladar is frequented by many A list celebrities and the restaurant is where the movie Strawberry and Chocolate was filmed. You can sample myriad, eclectic Cuban dishes here which will melt in your mouth.
La Torre Restaurant
This wonderful contemporary restaurant is situated on the top floor of the Fosca building which stands 121 metres high, it’s the tallest building in Cuba. Set in the Vedado area of Havana, it offers magnificent views and tasty cuisine such as broiled lobster or roast pork leg – you will be spoiled for choice with both the views and the food.
La Bodeguita del Medio
Before you retire to your Cuba accommodation for the evening, indulge in “one for the road” at La Bodeguita del Medio. This quaint bar that translates as “the little bar in the middle of the block”, is a friendly refuge for locals and travellers alike, a famous haunt of Ernest Hemingway it is one of the city’s most popular taverns.
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