For a better term, dining in Cuba is an exciting experience. It’s hardly unexpected that the food on the island has had a bad reputation for so long, given the Special Period’s food rationing restrictions. Still, innovations imply that things are changing on the island. One of the most remarkable things to do on this intriguing island is to dine at a ‘Nouveau Cuban’ restaurant managed by a family. If you want to eat at some of the top restaurants in the country, go no further than these.
Otra Manera’s wine list, curated by El Bulli alumnus Sommelier Alvaro Diez, is extraordinary. A local farmer provides the organic ingredients for the meal. One of Havana’s newest private dining establishments, Otramanera, features a minimalist design and a tropical garden for guests to enjoy.
Mojito-Mojito is currently one of the most incredible restaurants in Havana. The bar’s name suggests the best mojitos in Havana may be found here. This lively hangout offers a wide range of food and drink options in the heart of one of Old Havana’s most popular districts. At night, the restaurant offers a traditional Cuban band so that you can simultaneously have excellent cuisine, warm beverages, and good music!
3. Casa Miglis
We’re going to presume that, unless you’re a die-hard foodie, you’ve never tasted Swedish-Cuban fusion cuisine. You’re in luck since now’s your opportunity. The owner of this restaurant is a Swedish music video filmmaker, and the menu is as outlandish as the décor (chairs on the walls propping up nicknacks and a stage made of old Coca-Cola ads). Learn to make Swedish meatballs with lingonberries, which are a national dish.
4. La Chuchería
At this little Miami-styled eatery, set on a seaside patio overlooking the Malecón, dash pizza when you’re in the mood. Pizza is a favourite dish in Cuba, but its residents aren’t skilled at creating it. The thin-crust doughs and customize-your-own-toppings options at La Chuchera are on par with the best in Chicago but at a fraction of the price. To top it all off, the ice cream batidos are out of this world delicious! To prevent an extensive line on weekends, arrive before 8 pm.
5. La Guarida
This is a well-known Havana landmark. A popular destination for both visitors and residents alike, it has been a popular destination for years! Several sequences from the Oscar-nominated Cuban film Fresa y Chocolate were filmed here, Rihana shot there with Vanity Fair, and numerous worldwide celebrities visit the restaurant every year. According to rumours, Usher may have celebrated his nuptials on the restaurant’s rooftop. Overall, it’s a terrific site to visit in Havana.
6. El Aljibe
This vast open-air, state-owned restaurant has remained faithful to its beginnings for the past six decades. Despite its low prices, the all-you-can-eat chicken Asado with rice, beans, fried plantains, and fries continues to lure tourists and residents alike. You’ll be entertained by strolling musicians as you eat in a leather-backed wooden chair tucked under the thatch. In his television show, No Reservations, Anthony Bourdain gushed about it. No doubt about it.
Havana’s best-kept secret is this restaurant. You won’t have to deal with the same crowds because the restaurant isn’t located in Old Havana or near any of the city’s most popular tourist attractions. However, the restaurant is worth the trek because the food is excellent, and the restaurant itself is cosy. There are also free-ranging roosters and hens to add to the authentic Caribbean feel. Extra points are given to the establishment because the crew is also talented musicians. Opt for octopus or one of the many fish options. All of them are delicious!
8. Los Naranjos
It’s a Havana institution for its mouthwatering Caribbean fare served in stunning surroundings at this restaurant with an unusually high ceiling. Enchilada de Mariscos can satisfy your seafood cravings. Seafood lovers will be delighted by the unique combination of shrimp and crab on one platter. When combined with the sauce, the cheese elevates the dish to a new level of deliciousness.
9. Color Café
Loypa Izaguirre, a Cuban designer, owns this café/boutique, and it’s the flashy new child on the block. This cosy hotspot has high ceilings and two substantial open doors that allow you to see the city go by. Until a few years ago, Havana didn’t have much of a breakfast culture, but that’s all changed now, and Color Café is the place to go if you’re in the mood for waffles and fresh fruit (try the whole baked red snapper with vegetables). A tiny clothes and jewellery store with enticing one-of-a-kind items may be found on the second floor, up a rickety stairwell. The staff’s passion for the space and concept is contagious, making it even more enjoyable to visit.
10. Buena Vista Curry Club
In Old Havana, the first Indian restaurant in Cuba opened its doors. All of your favourite curry dishes, as well as a few Cuban classics, may be found on the menu. Music is a big part of the experience at this Indian restaurant, which serves up some of the area’s best curries, naans, and samosas. The Buena Vista Social Club members perform on the mezzanine three nights a week, while live jazz takes place on the other nights.
11. Mama Inés
This cosy colonial restaurant off Calle Oficios is the place to go for the best ropa vieja in town. Fidel’s personal chef, Tomás Erasmo, now owns the restaurant. After he threw his hat into the ring, he assembled a professional A-list for Mama Inés. The menu consists of traditional Cuban fares, such as fried plantains, garlicky yucca, and white rice. Even when Erasmo isn’t feeling well, he’s always out front, keeping an eye on the customers.
12. Azúcar Lounge And Bar
Avant-garde design, chill music, and floor-to-ceiling French windows open to Havana’s most beautiful square provide the ideal ambiance. The restaurant’s light fare menu features ceviche, falafels, and a variety of tapas, all of which go well with a frozen mint lemonade or a maracuya daiquiri. In addition, the heavenly cappuccinos are the best.
13. Café Laurent
You’ll find a stunning contemporary dining area on the fourth floor of this decaying building if you use the property’s ancient elevator. Dayron Avilés Alfonso, a Spanish chef, is a master of seafood recipes, from paella to red snapper in green sauce. With its 1950s furnishings and newspaper clippings, the terrace provides stunning views of the city of Vedado and the Caribbean Sea.
14. La Corte Del Principe
As a result, this off-the-beaten-path alfresco eatery and hidden gem are protected. Expats, on the other hand, have long adored it. Sergio, the owner, is a low-key Italian who prides himself on serving the best of his native cuisine. The ever-changing daily menu may include dishes such as olive oil-drizzled beef carpaccio with mozzarella and superb tagliatelle ai Funghi porcini (porcini mushrooms pasta). When dining at Sergio’s, diners are greeted by red-and-white checkered tablecloths and modest wood furnishings.
15. El Café
It’s one of the city’s most popular eateries for its delicious breakfast fare, including eggs, croissants, sandwiches, and a cup of coffee. Beautiful circular columns and floor designs deserve all the attention they get. You’ll love the Galletas Avena-Jengibre that are on offer. The ginger and Avena biscuits, a traditional drink prepared with milk, oatmeal, cinnamon, and sugar, are out of this world.
16. O’ Reilly 304
It’s one of the restaurants in your area that’s worth a visit because of its delicious main dishes, including pasta and ceviche, a seafood meal, and beverages. This dish will fulfil any meat-loving foodie’s appetite. You won’t be able to get enough of the succulent chicken chunks and smoky Serrano ham in this pita. The meal is a culinary joy, thanks to the creamy cheese on top!
17. Café Bohemia
Guests staying at the boutique hotel Estancia Bohemia can dine here to taste European cuisine with a twist on traditional recipes. The delicious chicken will awaken your taste buds with green peppers and olives’ outstanding combination of flesh and flavour. With its complimentary smooth texture, white rice is the ideal side dish.
If you’re looking for a genuine Cuban meal in a truly authentic Cuban setting, look no further than Antojos. Located in the heart of Old Havana, the restaurant is a terrific spot for people-watching while sipping on some of the best cocktails in the city.
19. Riomar Bar And Grill
Look no further than this award-winning restaurant if you’re in the mood for some of the best ropa vieja and pasta you’ll ever taste. The waterfront views from the restaurant are breathtaking, and you won’t be able to get enough of them. The Pescado en Salsa Mediterránea will please your taste buds. The silky texture of the fish deserves all the praise it receives. The dish would not be the same without the incredible depth of flavour that the Mediterranean sauce brings to the table.
20. Restaurante Café Del Oriente
One of the city’s most popular restaurants, this eatery is set in a historic building and serves up some of the best Cuban fares. Foodies will enjoy the Langosta Entera Salteada Con Vegetales. Every morsel of that lobster is a mouthful of succulent, sweet-tart flavour. The dish is enhanced by adding sauteed mixed vegetables on top, enhancing the seafood’s flavour.