In Havana, eating real quality Cuban food doesn’t always mean going out. You can do so by staying in at your casa particular for less than 8 CUC per meal. If however you’d rather see what’s around the Capital, here’s what to try.
The Cuban “desayuno” is generally made of juices, café bombon (a sweet coffee made with condensed milk), fried eggs, ham, bread, salad and fresh tasty fruit like guava, papaya, banana and pineapple. The best place to enjoy all this is the Café O’Reilly in Habana Vieja’s picturesque Calle O’Reilly, where the overly-friendly waiter insisted on offering me the breakfast.
Café O’ Reilly
O’Reilly No. 203, entre Cuba and San Ignacio,
Few places will be as good as your casa particular, where you can eat beef, pork, chicken, fish or lobster with white rice, vegetables and bean soup.
If however you’d rather eat out, try La Lamparilla in Habana Vieja, where you can enjoy the chef’s offer with a main, sides, coffee and dessert for 12 CUC.
#54 entre Mercaderes y San Ignacio, La Habana Vieja
Going out in Havana
Forget the various bodeguitas and floriditas: Ernest Hemingway’s favourite spots are now flooded by tourists – he would have hated them.
Instead, call a cab and go to the Fabrica de Arte Cubano, just outside the Vedado neighbourhood. This hip place set in a white, futuristic building is an art gallery, cocktail bar, restaurant and club where you can sip great mojitos for just 2 CUCs.
If you’d rather stay central, Callejon de Hamel in the Vedado neighbourhood is an arts project showcasing the Santeria, the Afro-Cuban religion observed in Havana. Made of all recyclable items such as hot tubs, bikes or chairs, it’s also a centre to help kids with learning disabilities… And a must-go rumba and cocktails spot.
Fabrica de Arte Cubano
Calle 26, Habana
Callejon de Hamel
Tra Hospital e Aramburu
What to drink in Havana
Mojitos, Cuba Libres and Daiquiris, obvs. Not because you’re Cuba posers, but because they all taste different with Cuban rum.
Don’t miss out on Cuban cerveça however: I absolutely loved their Bucanero lager. And don’t get me started on Plaza Vieja’s Factoria, a craft beer mecca where you can down litres of Cuban craft of your choice.
Hope you make it home.
Pictures: Carolina Are