Where To Eat In Havana, Cuba

I love to travel, and it’s a huge part of my life, so I can’t believe this is my first food/travel post I am ever putting out on Kale Me Maybe! I obviously love food, so when I go on trips, eating is a huge part of the experience. I’m excited to share with you my food adventures in the places I go, and we will start with my recent trip to Havana, Cuba.

Everyone has different travel styles, dietary restrictions, etc., but for me, when I travel, most of my usual eating habits go out the window, so I am able to really indulge in local cuisine. Now, this doesn’t mean I stuff myself silly or eat foods that will make me feel sick, but I definitely worry less about keeping to my usual routine of veggie-heavy, plant-based meals. In some places, this just isn’t possible. But I am also lucky I don’t have a sensitive stomach or allergies, because that must be difficult for people, especially when they’re abroad. I still like to feel good, so I won’t do anything ridiculous with my diet, but I LOVE trying new foods and restaurants when I travel, so I tend to be more lax.

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I was surprised at how many great places there were to eat in Havana. Not only was the food good, but the places we ate at were very hip and looked cool. There was a lot of al fresco dining, interesting art on the walls, and awesome architecture. We were lucky that we had been given some recommendations beforehand, so we never had an issue finding somewhere good when we were on the go.

As far as the food goes in Cuba, it’s very meat-oriented. There was also a lot of seafood, which for me was great because I love fish and don’t tend to typically do well eating a ton of beef and pork — although I did eat my fair share of both of those foods. Rice, beans, and plantains were also staples, along with other root vegetables such as sweet potato and yucca.

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If you find yourself in Cuba, I recommend downloading an offline map, such as Maps.Me, and inputting all the places you want to go before you get there. We did this, and it was really useful for not only getting to these places, but seeing what was good around us when we found ourselves hungry in a certain neighborhood.

We stayed in Central Havana, which I highly recommend if you want to see Old Havana but also still see the rest of Havana, which is just as interesting, if not more authentic. We stayed in a Casa Particular, and it was a wonderful experience! Most Casa Particulares, like ours, offer breakfast for $5 CUC (basically 5 dollars), so we ate there almost every morning. It was cost-efficient and delicious, as we got served eggs, fruit, bread, juice, coffee, etc.

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Here are some of my favorite places we went to!

Restaurants

O’Reilly 304

This may have been my favorite place we ate at. It’s a cute little trendy place in Old Havana. We sat upstairs and ordered the ceviche (which had some sort of AMAZING habanero sauce), three types of tacos, and the shrimp platter, which came with the biggest portion of vegetables we probably had the whole trip. This place came recommended to use by multiple people, and I would say it’s definitely worth the stop.

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La Guarida

This restaurant was also recommended to us by multiple people, as apparently Obama and the king of Spain have eaten here. It’s an old building that looks like it may be falling apart, but then you get inside and it’s an upscale restaurant with some interest decor. Unfortunately, the roof wasn’t open during the hours we went, but if I were to go back, I would opt to sit outside. This was one of the more pricier places we ate it, and we got a lot of seafood. However, I didn’t think it was as amazing as some of the other restaurants we went to. You need a reservation here!

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La Paila

This was another one of our favorites. It’s definitely a hidden gem, more of a locals’ spot, but the location was so pretty, and the food was cheap and AMAZING. You’ve got all the Cuban classics here, and we got mojitos, ropa vieja, tamales, and rice and beans. There was also some lovely live music and lots of plants!

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El Dandy

Wish I took more pictures of this one! This was a really hip looking place with some bomb food. I was obsessed with these peppers that they had in Cuba. They were almost like little bell peppers, but they had a spicy kick to them. I’m not sure what they are called unfortunately.

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Porto Habana

This place had the most AMAZING views of Havana. It’s on the Malecon by the water, but make sure you eat upstairs, as downstairs has a different menu. We went at Sunset, and it was gorgeous. The appetizers were also some of the best we had in all of our trip. We got a ceviche and truffle pumpkin ravioli. Drool.

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El Cafe

This casual, hip cafe gave off major LA vibes. This is predominantly a sandwich shop, but they also had some good coffee drinks along with some salad options. It tasted really fresh, and the bread was amazing. Perfect lunch spot in Old Havana. (No pictures at this one, sorry!)

El Cocinero

If you go to Fabrica De Arte (which you absolutely should. It’s an art gallery that turns into a nightclub with live music and performances), stop at El Cocinero for dinner first — it’s right next door. It’s on a rooftop and has a lovely, lounge-y atmosphere. The food was really great, and we watched the sunset from up here as well. One of my favorite things we had was this spicy crab dish sandwiched between some sweet potatoes topped with cheese and scallions. We also got some seafood tacos. I was surprised at how many good tacos we had in Cuba, and this is coming from a California girl!

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Havana is SUCH a vibrant and colorful city, in every way. We had such a great time wandering and exploring, chatting with Cubans, eating, swimming, and adventuring. It was one of my favorite trips I have ever taken, and I highly suggest going if you can!

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Carina WolffComment