The initiative of Cuban entrepreneurs has led some of them to convert their houses into restaurants, or to acquire old colonial mansions almost in ruins and give them new life as elegant “paladares.” The paladares in Cuba are private restaurants managed by the Cubans themselves that emerged as an alternative to state-owned restaurants and are the best option to eat during your visit to Cuba with Espíritu Travel.
In Cuba, “paladares” are restaurants that emerged in the 90s by private initiative. For this reason, it is curious that when visiting them you can be eating in the living room, a room or the patio of the original house. A unique experience that attracts tourists and makes this experience unforgettable not only because of the location of the palate, but also for the delicacies that are cooked in these unique restaurants surrounded by history.
The first and most important advice that you should write down to eat well in Cuba is that you have to eat like a Cuban. Cubans eat at home or at small street stalls. The best thing when visiting Cuba is to stay in Cuban houses called “casa particular”, so that you have a better vision of the country by living with Cubans and because you will eat better.
Continue reading if you want to know more about Cuban Paladares.
Each paladar is unique on the inside since each owner has decorated it with differentiating elements and you will not find a franchise occupying a paladar. Cubans want that their gastronomy is represented by this type of restaurant.
You can try traditional Cuban food or with a touch of fusion, even wine tastings, cigar pairing, or bars for intellectuals or filmmakers, suddenly flood the previously unpopulated gastronomic panorama of the island with their attractive proposals.
What to order in the Paladares?
In Cuban paladares you can try typical Cuban dishes such as Congrí, or the Moros y Cristianos, it is a rice dish prepared with the broth of black beans (beans or beans). Another typical dish of Cuban Creole food is what is commonly called “old clothes” with a good congrí and yuca with mojo, avocados and tostones. Another of the Cuban classics is the fried plantain and undoubtedly one of its star dishes is lobster.
Among the traditional drinks the king is undoubtedly rum, which nationals almost always drink alone, but if it is accompanied by Coca Cola it would be a Cuba Libre, or if it is added lemon, ice and mint it would be a Mojito, one of the most famous cocktails in Cuba and the world.
Read more about Cuban traditional dishes here.
What is the average price?
The price range of restaurants in Cuba is very varied, and as in any restaurant it depends on the location of the premises, the service and the quality of the food. Eating in a good paladar in the heart of Havana can cost about 30 CUC per person, however we find paladares further away from the tourist areas but with an exquisite quality that can charge us about 20 or 25 CUC per person.
Paladares where you eat “like at home”
These are just some paladares where you can taste Cuban gastronomy while you feel as if you were in your own home. In Havana there are more than 400 registered paladares, and is where you will find mots popular ones:
You will live an almost homelike experience. And it does not disappoint. In Nuevo Vedado, we find La Casa restaurant in a rationalist-style house built in the 1950s. Since 1995, its owner turned it into a culinary business. The structure was kept almost intact, with two floors, a terrace and an interior patio.
Unlike other Cuban paladares born from homes where we can only guess where each room was, in this paladar there are home traces everywhere. Although some walls were displaced, they kept revealing elements of their original distribution. For example, one of the rooms is called “the bathroom” and has built-in pipes and tiles typical of those rooms, and thus with the different rooms of La Catedral.
From the outside it continues to look like a family house from before the 1950s, all painted white. Even when entering the building, we noticed that not much has changed, except for the numerous works of art that hang on the walls and the ceiling. Order a good wine and some garlic shrimp on a Sunday afternoon while live music plays.
Paladar La Guarida
One of the most luxurious and famous in Havana. The interior was the scene of the first Cuban film nominated for an Oscar: Fresa y Chocolate. De la Guarida is said to be his most luxurious possession is precisely its cuisine, which has made the paladar an icon within the national gastronomy.
The front one
Located in Old Havana. Peculiar, attractive and original. Offer Cuban and international food.
Paladar San Cristóbal
The expresident of the United States, Barack Obama, made it world famous when he chose his paladar to dine with his family during his visit to Havana, but this palate was already known in the city for its exotic collection of memorable items from the 50s and its different touch to traditional Cuban dishes.
Read our article about best Paladars in Havana to know more.
The paladares in Cuban gastronomy mean diversity, quality and creativity. Today many present an exquisite gourmet cuisine, in many cases focused on legitimizing the traditional cuisine of the island. Dine at one of the many paladares of Cuba is the best way to understand the island culture and history thought its cuisine. Espiritu Travel Cuban local guides are experts in the paladar dining scene and can recommend the best restaurants based on your tastes and preferences during your trip to Cuba.