Havana Nights

I was fortunate enough to explore Cuba this spring and it was surely an adventure! You don't know what to expect in Cuba until you get there. Sometimes the electricity in an entire neighborhood will go out, the water supply can suddenly stop forcing you to ration and if you are an American tourist then the likelihood of you freaking out about running out of cash is also high. Regardless of those hurdles, Cuba is a fascinating place and there is truly nothing else like it. I encourage everyone to go explore before any sort of Westernization begins to take place. 

Some of my readers expressed interest in tours and guides (which can be difficult to find online if you only want a day tour and not an entire travel package) so I've put together tours I've either personally taken or that have gotten good recommendations. 

Tours:

Locally Sourced Havana Tours

Havana Adventures

Cuba Travel Network

Discover Vinales

Now onto the food! Before I left for Cuba, all the research told me that I shouldn't be excited about food. Well...challenge accepted! The food in Cuba is delicious. You just have to know where to go I particularly enjoyed all the fusion cuisines which, is a true testament to Cuba's incredible history. Below are my favorites- enjoy!

1. El Cocinero- Want to drink on a rooftop where the bar is inside the chimney AND the seafood is delicious? This is your spot. Tucked away from Old Havana in the outskirts of the Vedado district, this restaurant was hands down my favorite. There's also an incredible gallery that turns into a club on the weekends attached to the restaurant if you're into that sort of thing. 

Spiced Cuban rice with lobster

Spiced Cuban rice with lobster

2. Los Naranjos- I loved eating on the balcony at Los Naranjos and watching the sun go down. The service is impeccable and their menu changes weekly. The focus of the menu is definitely seafood and rightly so because all the seafood dishes I had were delicious. 

Mixed seafood fritters with a citrus glaze sauce for dipping

Mixed seafood fritters with a citrus glaze sauce for dipping

Roasted bell peppers stuffed with crab topped with parmesan cheese

Roasted bell peppers stuffed with crab topped with parmesan cheese

Broiled lobster cooked in Rum sauce with a plantain puree and vegetables on the side

Broiled lobster cooked in Rum sauce with a plantain puree and vegetables on the side

3. Espacios- This restaurant is in the Miramar district away from Old and Central Havana. The traditional Cuban food here is worth the trip. They often cook outside right in front of you in their lounge/backyard patio and the smell will make you ten times hungrier than when you came in. The drinks are strong, delicious and huge too. 

Roasted chicken legs with tostones, paella like rice, vegetables with a chimmichuri sauce 

Roasted chicken legs with tostones, paella like rice, vegetables with a chimmichuri sauce 

Margarita pizza (they baked this in front of me too!)

Margarita pizza (they baked this in front of me too!)

4. Le Channosier- This restaurant serves French Cuban fusion food which I'm a huge fan of. A lot of the dishes are cream based so definitely on the heavier side but I loved tasting the Cuban flavors like mashed yuca instead of potatoes. 

Duck in red wine reduction with yuca puree

Duck in red wine reduction with yuca puree

5. NaO- NaO is located in Old Havana and you can expect good old Cuban cuisine. Their menu features all the staples of Spanish cuisine like taro chips, plantains, picadillo, roasted chicken, black bean and rice and so much more. I had one of my first meals here and I was thoroughly impressed. 

Appetizers included fried balls with taro, yuca fries, plantain chips

Appetizers included fried balls with taro, yuca fries, plantain chips

Picadillo with plantains 

Picadillo with plantains 

6. If you take a trip to Vinales Valley (which I highly recommend as it was my favorite part of Cuba) and you take a tour through Discover Vinales, you'll eat at this incredible farm to table organic restaurant that overlooks Vinales Valley. Every item they serve you has been picked from the garden you are sitting in. This dining experience was unlike anything else because the flavors and ingredients truly speak for themselves. There was an entire table of food but I was too busy eating so I only took a few pictures!

Roasted chicken

Roasted chicken

Assortmenet of potatoes picked from the farm including sweet potato, yuca and more

Assortmenet of potatoes picked from the farm including sweet potato, yuca and more