Before arriving in Cuba I’d read several times over that I shouldn’t expect to fall in love with the cuisine.
And…. I didn’t.
But I’m hasten to add the home-cooked food I had during most of my homestays was delicious. So oddly, you could say, stay inside for good food.
However, part of the fun of eating out is soaking up the famed Cuban atmosphere which is something Ruchi and I were keen to experience and that’s why we often gambled on the decision to eat out at a local paladar. Sometimes the gamble paid off and we discovered a few gems that came to the rescue of the growing despair felt by our languishing taste buds. Sometimes we’d leave disgruntled and still hungry. There was no telling which way it could go.
Coincidentally, nearly all of the places we enjoyed the most were in Trinidad. I want to share them because if you love food as much as us you’ll be craving to know where to find a decent meal when you’re travelling in Cuba. At any of these venues you’re guaranteed to satisfy your appetite.
For a treat…
Sol Ananda restored all hope. I can’t tell you how good it felt to finally have a satisfying and delicious meal at a restaurant in Cuba. But it wasn’t just the food that made this place memorable either; everything from the pristine white table cloths to the impeccable service made the evening pleasurable.
Its French colonial decor complete with 1920s chandeliers and furniture is certainly pleasing on the eye (it was no surprise for us to hear the owner is also an architect). We could happily have eaten here every night but it was also the most expensive place so we restricted ourselves… and went the following evening too haha!
You can’t go wrong with this menu but I recommend the seafood and for something to drink the peanut butter and banana smoothie is something I still fantasise about tasting again.
For hipster vibes… (and veggie options)
For a cooler atmosphere head to La Redaccion, named after the first newspaper in Trinidad. The decor reflects the theme so you’ll see quirky objects and paraphernalia that you’d usually find in a newspaper room.
The menu also offers vegetarian options which I found to be rare in Cuba – it was the only place I found that offered hummus and falafel throughout Cuba so I scoffed them down with sliced pita bread within seconds. It was also the only place I found that offered a selection of herbals teas, I drink it all the time usually so I was delighted to get my fix over a cup of fresh mint leaves. For my main I opted for seafood pasta and it came with a decent amount of pesto for flavour and fresh oregano.
Even if you only go for drinks, the atmosphere of this place should not be missed, it’s a real gem.
For a local feel….
For a typically Cuban dinner in beautiful surroundings, Sol Y Son is the paladar for you. Upon entering, you may feel as if you’ve stepped into an antiques shop, but at the back is an ivy-clad garden courtyard complete with candlelight, music and quietly attentive staff. Similar to Sol Ananda, the venue oozes romance, with vintage furniture and gramophones and a fine menu. The lobster-stuffed plantains are a must!
For a drink
Whether it is for a quick one or two to get your night going, or a final destination after a big meal, there is a plethora of venues to satiate your desire for an alcoholic kick. Ruchi and I rarely deviated from sipping mojitos and got in the Cuban spirit by drinking them practically with every meal from noon onwards!
If you’re looking for somewhere that stays open late head over to Taberna la Canchánchara, the place is heaving with musicians after the surrounding bars have closed. Make sure you also try the Trinidadian speciality, a canchánchara cocktail made of rum, honey, lemon and water served in a small ceramic cup.
For ice cream
On a hot afternoon let ice cream cool you down. I came across two ice-cream parlours in Trinidad – Dulce Crema and Zeletto. They won’t be the best you’ve ever had but they’ll do the trick.
Finally, whilst the food in Cuba won’t blow you away, and might even leave you feeling frustrated occasionally, Trinidad offers a few gluttonous delights for you to enjoy.
Do you have plans to visit Trinidad?
Source: The Culture Map