Foodie expert selected Havana's best places to eat

Posted: 29-Feb-16 10:39

Spurred by the recent relaxing of rules governing American visitors to Cuba, a foreign traveller visits Cuba to uncover some of the best places to eat in the country. She came up with a list of six of her favourite places to eat, ranging from impressively designed and decorated paladars, to restaurants located on rustic farms.

Foodie expert selected Havana's best places to eat

If you have never travelled to Cuba yourself, it may be difficult to know the best places to grab a meal. In reality, it has been difficult for many Americans to visit Cuba in the past, with travel restrictions eased only a little over a year ago when the Unites States reopened a diplomatic relationship with the country.

Since that time some Americans have had the opportunity to travel to Cuba, falling within one of the dozen approved categories for travel now open to Americans.

One of those 2015 visitors was author Kate Riesenberg of We Travel We Eat who has teamed up with The Blonde Abroad to present what she claims are the best places to grab a bite to eat in countries around the world.

Riesenberg travelled to Cuba under a partnership between Cuba Educational Travel and Yoga for Bad People. She then presented her findings, “Where to find the best food in Cuba”, as published in Business Insider in February 2016.

The Cuban government approved the group’s itinerary, exploring a local museum, listening to live music and visiting a local farmer to learn about coffee and cigars. Riesenberg points out that privately owned restaurants in Cuba are more prevalent than the past, but says it remains difficult for them to get resources like spices, which are mostly brought to Cuban restaurant owners from outside the country and meat, which is bought on the black market. She claims, though, the restaurants she visited presented her with more to write about than the food she tasted.

The author placed El Cocinero, with its artistic space, at the top of the list, followed by the casual Dona Eutimia in Old Havana’s centre and La Guarida, which she likened to an old-Hollywood like atmosphere, decorated with photographs of some of Hollywood’s elite. The three always appear on lists of top Cuban paladars. San Cristobal, noted by Riesenberg, also sometimes appears on those same lists. The eclectic restaurant is most notable for its massive dining table, which spans the middle of the restaurant.

A novelty on this particular list of top places to eat in Cuba was Finca Paraiso Agroecologico. Set up on the hill of a farm, the site serves up organic food and impressive views. According to Riesenberg, this particular paladar offered the largest variety of food they found during their visit, including several types of salad, marinated fish and meats, plus homemade soups and more.

The other location mentioned in the article was Hotel Nacional. Found close to the Malecon strip, the author described this paladar as offering outside dining and a refined, tropical feel.

Riesenberg gave high marks for creativity in location and decor, and that’s what she says she found in the colourful and vibrant locations that made the list of Cuba’s best places to eat.


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