Planning to visit Havana?
Here are some helpful tips on where to dine and taste Havana’s hidden food hubs.
Try the Cuban Ice Cream
You don’t need to burden yourself by going to the foreigner section at the Soviet-era ice cream cathedral Coppelia. Be like the locals and wait your turn in line. A must taste is“Ensalada” with galletas de polvo.
Cuban’s Take on Coffee
Cubans adore coffee. When in Cuba, it can be hard to come by the good thing. Waking up early morning in Havana, experience coffee on the street by grabbing a shot of espresso from a street vendor: The coffee vendor will pour hot and sweetened coffee from a thermos into a glass. Interestingly, you have to it give right back so he can use it for the next customer (after he thoroughly washed it of course!)
Street Food Havana Style
In the morning check out the vendors along the Malecón where you can buy guava pastries or little doughnuts. Try some guarapo, a sugarcane drink. Don’t forget to taste homemade peanut candy sold by maniseros. Other staple street food is fresh juice and fruit shakes do taste refreshing. Another must-try is a batido de mamey, a shake made from the Mamey fruit – a tropical fruit that is citrusy with a slight tartness.
Some of the artisans do exquisite works of art on what they refer to as decorative concrete floors. It’s pretty incredible the designs they construct coupled with the old school feel and old school cars driving around since before the trade embargo took place. It feels like a blast from the past of culture.
For years, paladares, or home restaurants have been run and owned by Cubans, serving everything from local food like tostones to international cuisines. Try to visit the prominent ones as they serve the best of the best food in the city. Some of these are:
Café Madrigal, a tapas bar where you can have sipped on cocktails and settle on the balcony and enjoy Havana’s view.
La Cocina de Lilliam by Lilliam Dominguez is a culinary gem that’s worth the visit. Taste wide array of menu that changes from time to time. If you plan to dine in, there is a reservation for dinner.
Go out and explore Jaimanitas River at Santy Pescador. This is a hard-to-find fisherman’s shack, better take a cab ride from the city. Like to eat freshly caught fish? Go for Santy’s as they serve the best sushi.