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Where To Find The Best Food In Cuba


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Felisha Mach



When it comes to combining two of life’s greatest pleasures—food and travel—there are few destinations as enticing as Cuba. With its vibrant culture, rich history, and delectable cuisine, Cuba offers a food travel experience like no other. From the bustling capital city of Havana to the picturesque town of Trinidad and the beautiful beaches of Varadero, this Caribbean island is a food lover’s paradise.


Cuban cuisine is a fusion of African, Spanish, and Caribbean influences, resulting in a unique and flavorful culinary tradition. From traditional dishes like Ropa Vieja, a hearty shredded beef stew, to the iconic Cuban sandwich filled with roasted pork, ham, cheese, and pickles, the flavors of Cuba are sure to tantalize your taste buds.


Exploring the different regions of Cuba will not only introduce you to a variety of local specialties but also provide insight into the country’s history and culture. Each city has its own culinary highlights, offering a diverse range of flavors and dining experiences.


In this article, we will take you on a gastronomic journey through some of the best food destinations in Cuba. From the buzzing streets of Havana to the charming colonial towns and the coastal cities, get ready to embark on a culinary adventure that will leave you craving for more.



As the capital city of Cuba, Havana is a vibrant and bustling metropolis that offers a wide array of culinary delights. From hole-in-the-wall street food vendors to upscale restaurants, Havana has something to satisfy every palate.


One of the must-visit spots in Havana is La Bodeguita del Medio, a legendary bar and restaurant that claims to have invented the iconic Mojito cocktail. Sip on a refreshing Mojito while indulging in local delicacies like Ropa Vieja or Lechón Asado (roast pork). The lively ambiance and the classic Cuban music playing in the background make this establishment a true Havana experience.


For a taste of Havana’s street food scene, head to Calle Obispo, a lively pedestrian street lined with food stalls and small eateries. Here, you can sample local favorites like Tostones (fried plantains) and Empanadas (savory pastries filled with meat or cheese).


If you’re looking for a more upscale dining experience, visit La Guarida, a hidden gem located in a crumbling mansion in Havana’s Centro Habana neighborhood. This restaurant has gained international acclaim for its innovative Cuban cuisine and stunning rooftop views.


No visit to Havana is complete without trying a Cubano sandwich. Head to El Floridita, a historic bar and restaurant famously known as one of Ernest Hemingway’s favorite hangouts. Enjoy a mouthwatering Cubano sandwich paired with a daiquiri, another Cuban classic.


Exploring the local markets, like Mercado de San Jose, is also a must in Havana. Here, you can find a wide variety of fresh produce, spices, and local specialties. Engage with the locals and get a taste of the vibrant culinary culture of Havana.


Havana is not only a feast for the taste buds but also for the eyes and ears. Take a stroll through the colorful streets of Old Havana, visit historic landmarks like Plaza de la Catedral, and immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of this enchanting city.


With its diverse culinary scene and vibrant culture, Havana is undoubtedly a food lover’s paradise in Cuba.



Located on the pristine shores of the Hicacos Peninsula, Varadero is known for its stunning beaches and turquoise waters. But it’s not just a paradise for sun-seekers; Varadero also offers a delightful dining scene that showcases the flavors of Cuba’s coastal cuisine.


Seafood lovers will be in heaven in Varadero. Freshly caught fish, lobster, and shrimp dominate the menus of many local restaurants. One of the popular spots to indulge in the island’s bountiful seafood is Varadero 60, a charming eatery with a casual beachside atmosphere. Try the grilled fish or the seafood paella while enjoying the stunning ocean views.


For a unique dining experience, head to Calle 62. This street is lined with open-air paladares, privately-owned restaurants that offer a more intimate atmosphere and personalized service. Try the local ceviche or the garlic shrimp, accompanied by a refreshing mojito.


To truly immerse yourself in the gastronomic culture of Varadero, explore the food stalls at Parque Josone. This park features a vibrant market where you can sample Cuban street food favorites like croquetas (deep-fried savory rolls), tostones (fried plantains), and chicharrones (pork cracklings).


If you’re looking for a romantic dining experience, consider La Casa del Chef. This small, family-run restaurant offers an intimate setting with an ever-changing menu based on the freshest ingredients available. Indulge in dishes like octopus carpaccio or grilled lobster, accompanied by a glass of local rum.


In addition to the local cuisine, Varadero also offers a variety of international dining options. From Italian trattorias to Argentinean steakhouses, you’ll find something to satisfy every craving. But don’t leave without trying the Cuban-inspired pizzas, topped with ingredients like ham, cheese, and plantains!


When you’re not indulging in the culinary delights of Varadero, take some time to explore the natural beauty of the area. Visit the Varahicacos Ecological Reserve for a hike through lush vegetation and discover hidden caves and ancient petroglyphs.


Whether it’s feasting on fresh seafood or savoring international flavors, Varadero offers a diverse and delicious food travel experience that perfectly complements its breathtaking beaches.



Nestled in the central province of Sancti Spíritus, the town of Trinidad transports you back in time with its well-preserved colonial architecture and cobblestone streets. But it’s not just the charm of Trinidad that attracts visitors. The town also offers a rich culinary scene that showcases traditional Cuban flavors.


One of the must-visit spots in Trinidad is La Redacción. This trendy restaurant is located in an old newspaper building and features a mix of Cuban and international dishes. Try the ropa vieja, a slow-cooked beef dish with savory spices, and pair it with a refreshing mojito.


For a taste of homemade Cuban cuisine, head to Sol Ananda. This family-run paladar offers a warm and welcoming atmosphere, with dishes made from fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Sample delicacies like arroz con pollo (chicken with rice) or picadillo (ground beef hash).


Trinidad is also known for its sweet treats. Don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in local desserts like torrejas (fried bread soaked in syrup) or guava pastries. Visit La Casa del Dulce for a wide selection of traditional Cuban sweets.


To experience the vibrant food culture of Trinidad, explore the local markets like Mercado de Trinidad. Here, you can find an array of tropical fruits, spices, and traditional ingredients. Engage with the friendly vendors and learn more about the local culinary traditions.


Aside from the dining experiences, Trinidad offers plenty of cultural and historical attractions. Explore the cobblestone streets lined with colorful houses, visit the Museo Romántico located in an 18th-century mansion, or take a leisurely stroll through Plaza Mayor, the town’s main square.


For nature enthusiasts, a trip to the nearby Topes de Collantes National Park is a must. Go hiking through lush forests, discover hidden waterfalls, and take a dip in natural swimming pools.


With its combination of historic charm and delectable cuisine, Trinidad offers a unique food travel experience that captures the essence of Cuba’s colonial past.


Santiago de Cuba

Located on the southeastern coast of Cuba, Santiago de Cuba is a city steeped in history, music, and culinary traditions. As the cultural capital of the country, Santiago de Cuba offers a unique blend of Afro-Cuban influences and Spanish heritage, resulting in a diverse and flavorful food scene.


One of the must-visit spots in Santiago de Cuba is El Morro Restaurant. Situated in a historic fortress overlooking the bay, this restaurant combines stunning views with delectable cuisine. Indulge in traditional Cuban dishes like Congrí (rice and beans) or Pescado a la Chorrillera (fish cooked in a tomato-based sauce).


For a taste of street food, head to the vibrant Tivoli neighborhood. Here, you can find food stalls selling delicious snacks like tamales (steamed corn dough filled with meat), yucca fries, and fritters. Be sure to try the famous street dish, El Fanguito, a flavorful mix of plantains, beans, meat, and spices.


Santiago de Cuba is also known for its rum production. Visit the Bacardí Museum and learn about the history and process of rum-making, followed by a tasting session where you can sample different varieties of this iconic Cuban spirit.


No visit to Santiago de Cuba is complete without experiencing the lively music scene. Head to Casa de la Trova, a legendary music venue where local musicians perform traditional Cuban music. Enjoy the music while sipping on a refreshing Mojito or Cuba Libre.


For coffee lovers, a visit to La Isabelica is a must. This historic coffee plantation located just outside of Santiago de Cuba offers a glimpse into the coffee production process. Learn about the cultivation and roasting of coffee beans, and of course, savor a cup of freshly brewed Cuban coffee.


Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Santiago de Cuba by visiting the famous Carnival Museum, exploring the historic Santa Ifigenia Cemetery, or taking a stroll through the picturesque Parque Céspedes.


With its rich history, lively music scene, and diverse culinary offerings, Santiago de Cuba is a true gem for any food travel enthusiast.



Located in the Pinar del Río province, Viñales is a picturesque town surrounded by lush green valleys and rolling hills. Beyond its natural beauty, Viñales is also known for its tobacco plantations and traditional Cuban cuisine.


One of the highlights of visiting Viñales is exploring the tobacco farms and witnessing the production of Cuba’s famous cigars. Take a tour of a tobacco plantation and learn about the intricate process of cultivating, drying, and rolling the tobacco leaves. Don’t forget to sample a freshly rolled cigar for an authentic Cuban experience.


When it comes to dining options, Viñales offers a variety of paladares (privately-owned restaurants) that serve traditional Cuban dishes. Try El Olivo, a charming restaurant located in a restored colonial house, specializing in farm-to-table cuisine. Indulge in dishes like ropa vieja, grilled meats, and fried plantains.


For a taste of traditional Cuban seafood, visit Paladar El Paraiso. Located in the heart of Viñales, this restaurant offers an extensive menu featuring dishes like garlic shrimp, grilled fish, and savory lobster. Enjoy your meal on the outdoor terrace while taking in the breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.


If you’re looking for a unique culinary experience, consider taking a cooking class in Viñales. Learn how to prepare traditional Cuban dishes using locally sourced ingredients, and gain insight into the flavors and techniques of Cuban cuisine.


When you’re not exploring the local dining scene, spend your days exploring the natural wonders of Viñales. Take a hike or horseback ride through the Viñales Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its stunning landscapes and unique limestone formations called mogotes. Visit the Cueva del Indio, a cave that can be explored by boat, and marvel at the underground beauty.


End your day by watching the sunset from the Mirador Los Jazmines, a viewpoint that offers panoramic views of the valley. Observe the golden hues enveloping the landscape as you reflect on the beauty of Viñales.


With its captivating scenery and culinary delights, Viñales provides a serene and authentic food travel experience in the heart of Cuba’s countryside.



Situated on the southern coast of Cuba, Cienfuegos is a charming coastal city known for its French colonial architecture and vibrant cultural scene. But in addition to its architectural beauty and artistic heritage, Cienfuegos also offers a delightful array of culinary experiences.


One of the best places to embark on a culinary adventure in Cienfuegos is at the seafood restaurants along the Malecón, the city’s waterfront promenade. Enjoy the fresh catch of the day, including lobster, shrimp, and fish, while taking in the picturesque views of the bay.


For a unique dining experience, head to Finca del Mar. Located in a beautiful countryside setting just outside of Cienfuegos, this farm-to-table restaurant offers a tranquil atmosphere and a menu featuring organic ingredients sourced from their own garden. Sample dishes like grilled vegetables, farm-raised meats, and homemade desserts.


No visit to Cienfuegos is complete without trying the local specialty dish, moros y cristianos. This flavorful combination of black beans and rice is commonly served as a side dish alongside main courses. Pair it with a classic Cuban ropa vieja (shredded beef) or lechón asado (roast pork) for a truly authentic meal.


When exploring the city, be sure to visit the local markets such as La Casa del Tabaco y Ron, where you can find a wide variety of Cuban cigars and rum. Engage with the knowledgeable staff and learn about the history and production processes of these iconic Cuban products.


Don’t miss the opportunity to stroll along the famous Paseo del Prado, a tree-lined boulevard that stretches across the city. Explore the colonial architecture, visit the iconic Teatro Tomás Terry, and immerse yourself in the vibrant cultural scene of Cienfuegos.


If you have time, consider taking a boat tour on the Bay of Cienfuegos, where you can admire the stunning views and visit El Nicho, a collection of cascading waterfalls surrounded by beautiful natural scenery.


With its combination of coastal beauty, architectural splendor, and delicious cuisine, Cienfuegos offers a delightful food travel experience that showcases the best of Cuba’s cultural and culinary treasures.



Tucked away on the eastern coast of Cuba, Baracoa is a hidden gem known for its natural beauty, vibrant Afro-Cuban culture, and unique culinary traditions. With its remote location, this coastal town offers a truly off-the-beaten-path food travel experience.


One of the standout features of Baracoa’s cuisine is its use of local ingredients, many of which are native to the region. The town is famous for its chocolate production, with cocoa trees abundant in the area. Visit El Museo del Cacao to learn about the chocolate-making process and indulge in delectable handmade chocolates.


Baracoa is also known for its seafood. Head to the waterfront and dine at one of the quaint paladares (small family-run restaurants) that line the bay, where you can savor fresh catches like lobster, shrimp, and fish. Try the local specialty, Pescado a la Santa Bárbara, a flavorful fish dish cooked in a savory sauce made from coconut milk.


To delve further into the local cuisine, visit El Ranchon, a restaurant known for its traditional Baracoan dishes. Feast on delicacies like bacán (smoked pork), tamales, and prawn ceviche. Don’t forget to try the baraquito, a signature Baracoan coffee cocktail.


While exploring Baracoa, be sure to visit the El Yunque mountain. Embark on a hike to its summit, where you will be rewarded with breathtaking views of the surrounding lush rainforest and the Caribbean Sea. Along the way, you may also come across local farmers selling tropical fruits like coconuts and cacao pods, allowing you to connect with the land and experience the flavors of Baracoa firsthand.


Immerse yourself in the local culture by attending a live performance of traditional Afro-Cuban music and dance, known as Tumba Francesa. This unique musical genre has its roots in the African traditions brought over by French settlers and their enslaved African workers.


With its rich culinary heritage, breathtaking natural landscapes, and vibrant cultural scene, Baracoa offers a captivating food travel experience that is sure to leave a lasting impression.



Located in the central province of Villa Clara, Remedios is a quaint and charming colonial town that offers a glimpse into Cuba’s past. With its well-preserved architecture and rich cultural heritage, Remedios provides a unique food travel experience that is both historical and delicious.


One of the must-try dishes in Remedios is the famous El Pernil Relleno, a roasted pork dish stuffed with a flavorful mixture of ground beef, ham, raisins, and olives. This traditional delicacy is typically enjoyed during the town’s annual Parrandas festival, a lively celebration held in December.


When exploring Remedios, be sure to visit Paseo Martí, the town’s main promenade lined with colorful colonial buildings. Here, you’ll find a variety of local cafes and restaurants where you can sample Cuban cuisine. Don’t miss the opportunity to try the local cheese, known as queso de bola, which is often served with guava paste.


For a truly local experience, visit Mercado de Agropecuario, the town’s bustling market. Here, you can find a plethora of fresh fruits, vegetables, spices, and local products. Engage with the vendors and get a taste of the authentic flavors of Remedios.


While in Remedios, be sure to visit the historic Iglesia Mayor, a beautiful 16th-century church that is considered one of the oldest in Cuba. Climb the bell tower for panoramic views of the town and surrounding countryside.


If you have the opportunity, visit the nearby Caibarién, a small fishing village known for its seafood. Enjoy the catch of the day at one of the local seafood restaurants or take a boat trip to the nearby Cayerías del Norte, a group of picturesque islands with pristine beaches and coral reefs.


Remedios encapsulates the charm and history of colonial Cuba while offering a delightful culinary experience. From traditional dishes to exploring local markets and landmarks, Remedios is a destination that will satisfy both your taste buds and curiosity about Cuban heritage.



Cuba is a food travel paradise, offering a diverse and tantalizing culinary experience that combines rich flavors, cultural traditions, and stunning natural beauty. Whether you explore the bustling streets of Havana, indulge in fresh seafood along the shores of Varadero, or immerse yourself in the colonial charm of Trinidad, each destination presents its own unique gastronomic delights.


From savoring the classic Cuban dishes like ropa vieja and the Cubano sandwich to exploring local markets and sampling street food, Cuba offers a vibrant and diverse food scene that caters to all taste preferences. The fusion of African, Spanish, and Caribbean influences creates a melting pot of flavors that is sure to leave a lasting impression.


But the appeal of Cuba extends beyond the food. Each city and town offers a distinct atmosphere, with captivating architecture, rich history, and lively cultural traditions. From the vibrant streets of Havana to the tranquil landscapes of Viñales, there is so much to explore and experience.


Whether you’re a seasoned food enthusiast or simply looking to expand your culinary horizons, Cuba’s food travel scene is sure to satisfy your senses. Indulge in the flavors of the island, engage with the local community, and immerse yourself in the vibrant culture that permeates every aspect of Cuban life.


So, pack your bags and get ready to embark on a gastronomic journey through the streets, markets, and restaurants of Cuba. From the vibrant nightlife to the breathtaking landscapes, Cuba offers a feast for both the palate and the soul. Explore the flavors, embrace the culture, and let Cuba’s food travel scene take you on a culinary adventure like no other.