Standing out among the crowd thanks to its canary yellow paint with white motifs, the colonial mansion that houses the Villa Lagarto Restaurant is no sight to be overlooked. Pair that with its centric location within walking distance to Cienfuegos’ main attractions and you’ll easily come across it during a walking tour of the city. But even before you get there you’ll get directed to it thanks to a big sign with the name “Villa Lagarto” and its lizard logo together with an arrow that reads in Spanish “follow the arrow and you’ll find paradise.”
Upon stepping into the threshold immediately your eyes are treated to flowing curtains of verdant green wrapping around the columns and the open spaces in the interior courtyard. Keep walking and you’ll be treated to even more amazing views.
As you make your way further into this converted house turned into a restaurant and hostel (on the upper floors they rent out rooms) your eyes will be wandering between splashes of colour at every turn. From juicy looking ripe fruits hanging from trees and decorative displays to verdant hanging plants in all shades of greens and an imposing tree sitting amidst it all yet managing to blend in with the house’s woodwork, wooden columns and beams.
The tables here look out over a small swimming pool (with Jacuzzi in case you’ve come prepared for a dip) surrounded by further garden greenery and a terrace.
Neatly arranged over the ample garden space giving an intimate and cosy feel, the tables at Villa Lagarto come in all configurations to seat a variety of groups. From intimate tables for two to those offering seating space for four or six and long tables with space for up to 10 diners; there’s something here to suit or parties.
Tables are covered in white linen tablecloths with green runners that perfectly blend against the green setting and seats are the traditional Cuban “taburetes” a comfortable type of chair typical of the Cuban countryside.
According to what the owners declare on their website the restaurant at Villa Lagarto specialises in serving hearty, delicious dishes using local vegetable produce and organic home-grown ingredients.
The menu offers a variety of light entrees and some succulent meaty main dishes with lamb, rabbit, chicken, pork and beef specialties featuring strongly. Vegetarians are not forgotten though and the restaurant also provides a separate special eco-menu with vegetarian delights. The desert options are more limited but drinks, alcoholic and non-alcoholic are varied and range from classic tropical cocktails, to cava, wine and a selection of coffees, teas and digestive liqueurs.
With a privileged location right on the edge of the Bahia de Punta Gorda, with its own slice of tiny private beach, the views from this restaurant are nothing short of spectacular – they will truly leave you breathless and gasping for air.
To make the most of the tranquillity of the place and get lost contemplating the flatness of the glistening waters there is a deck with sun loungers sitting directly over the bay and a balcony on the first floor with plenty of wooden chairs for unwinding and relaxing after a satisfying meal.