Home Travel Tips for Cuba Cuban Food and Drink

Who Are We?

We are Lee-Anne & Jusnier ('Turbo' to his friends).
An English/Cuban couple who know Cuba like the back of their hands, and would like to share their first-hand knowledge with you!

Lee-Anne & Jusnier Blanco - Cuba Rocks!

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Helping you discover the REAL Cuba!

Food in Cuba

We often get asked "What's the food like in Cuba?" Well...

 Help plan your trip to Cuba. Personal Itinerary & Trip Planning to Cuba

Let me introduce you to a Cheese & Ham extravaganza! - (what the Cubans can’t do with Cheese & Ham is not worth mentioning!)

COMPETITION: Who can find the most unusual recipe for Cheese & Ham!

Most food in Cuban restaurants is pretty expensive for what you get. The best value would be in a “casa particular” or what they call “paladares” which are privately owned restaurants that have opened up all over Cuba. These restaurants are only supposed to have 12 seats (but many obviously break the rules!).

Most dishes consist of beans, rice with chicken or pork. 

arroz con gris“Aroz Con Gri” is the national dish, which is beans and rice, (or otherwise known as Mores & Christians – black & white!).

Cows are all Government owned, so you probably won’t see beef outside of Government run restaurants and hotels and it is usually expensive.

The same applies to lobsters and prawns which are either saved for the export market or sold in smart hotels and restaurants.

Due to the embargo, Cuba struggles with food supply and prices reflect this – especially if you're craving something like imported crisps & snacks.

 

Casa Particular FoodIn a Casa Particular, you can expect to pay about 3CUC each for a breakfast and between
8-12CUC for main meal, (but the size will be much bigger than in a restaurant and far better in most cases).

The best food is to be found in a Casa Particulars or Paladares. There's usually a set menu and price will .  .  The size will be much bigger than in a restaurant and far better in most cases).

Vegetarians
If you are a strict vegetarian you may experience a distinct lack of variety in the food available. You might find that you are eating a lot of rice & beans, or omelettes and other egg dishes.

 

Drinks in Cuba

CoffeeCoffee in Cuba

Cuban coffee is normally good but really really STRONG!
Order a café-con-leche (milky coffee) cafecito or café cubano (espresso), not café americano (which can be weak and mostly tasteless).

Tea

Tea is not a good option in Cuba! You could probably get weak Liptons tea in some Hotels, but it will be good. If you enjoy tea, bring your favourite brand of tea bags with you from the UK, and your Casa owner will be happy to give you a thermos flask of hot water to make a decent cuppa!

Beer

The Spanish word for beer is “cerveza”! There are countless beers and the most common are Cristal (4.9% larger) and Bucanero (5.4%), which is a slightly darker beer. Beware of Bucanero MAX, which is 6.5%.

Soft Drinks (refrescos)

A can of soft drink costs the same as a can of beer! i.e. about 1.10CUC (approx 75p)

MojitoRum

Rum (ron) is definitely the most commonly drunk spirit in Cuba, they have over 80 different makes on the island which come in all sorts of cocktails (i.e. mojitos, daiquiris), cuba libre (rum & coke) and of course it can be drunk straight or on the rocks.

Wine

Cuba is now producing its own wine from the Pinar del Rio region and is getting most of its expertise from the Spanish. But be warned... fine wine it is not!

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Favourite Restaurants in Cuba...

Some Recommendations

Where to Eat in Cuba

Viñales

  • Polo Montanez Bar - Great place with live music every night. Open during the day for drinks, and snacks.
  • Hotel Ermita Bar - Great place for a long sun-downer! Views of the valley at sunset.
    Non residents can use the pool facilities for 5CUC per day, which includes 3CUC worth of cocktail or soft drinks.
  • Hotel Ermita Restaurant - Fabulous view overlooking the valley. Buffet meals for 12CUC.
  • Hotel Jazmines Bar - Non residents can use the pool facilities for 5CUC per day, which includes two soft drinks
  • Hotel Jazmines Restaurant - Fabulous view overlooking the valley. Buffet meals for 12CUC.
  • Restaurant Don Thomas - At the bottom of the high street. Was the oldest colonial house in Viñales, but was damaged during the hurricane of 2008. It is now refurbished and re-opened. Nice atmosphere, not an extensive menu. Weak Mojitos – ask for a special one!

Havana

  • Nandos - Cheapest restaurant in Havana. Good menu & big plates. Overlooking Capitolia. Often have to queue to get in. They have a separate restaurant upstairs that serves the same menu. Not as nice setting, but you don’t have to queue.
  • Hotel Ambos Mundo - Go up to the roof-top terrace for a good view, a great breeze and a nice restaurant.
  • Café de Paris - Late night drinking with tourist
  • El Floridita - Ernest Hemingway’s favourite haunt for Daiquiris, It has to be done, but they are trading on their name for 6CUC a glass.