Credit

Courtesy of Nikada/Getty Images

What to Eat in Havana

The food scene in Cuba is unlike few others in the world, but not in the way you might think. Yes, there are staple dishes and notable places to eat and drink, but like much of the country, food is heavily socialized. Cuba has a tricky history with trade relations and, as a result, food must be rationed. As a visitor, your food won't be rationed, but try not to get disgruntled if meals listed on restaurant menus aren't available. And considering the average Cuban only makes 471 pesos (about $20) per month and is typically rationed five eggs during that same time period, don't be surprised if you find locals staring at you for not finishing your meal.

Moros y Cristianos, or congris, may be a phrase you hear at restaurants or see on menus, and no, it doesn't mean its literal translation (Moors and Christians). It's actually a combination of black beans and rice served with your choice of meat. Stews made with shredded beef and vegetables (ropa vieja) are also a popular dish to make in the home, as is suckling pig. Fried plantains are a must-try snack, along with Cuban coffee. Cuban coffee is espresso mixed with sugar while brewing. It is so strong that it is served in tiny cups, so don't expect to find anything resembling a Frappuccino here.

There are two types of restaurants: state-run restaurants and paladares, or private establishments. State-run restaurants primarily cater to Cubans and hold a reputation for offering less than stellar food and service. Paladares, on the other hand, are privately owned eateries housed in residences that tend to offer better food and service. Popular paladares include the French-themed Le Chansonnier, San Cristóbal, which serves Cuban-Creole fusion food, and Atelier. Another iconic eatery lauded by both travel experts and visitors is La Guarida, which was featured in the Oscar-nominated Cuban film, "Fresa y chocolate" ("Strawberry and Chocolate"). The former movie set became so popular that its owner turned it into a restaurant.

As the inventor of the mojito and the daiquiri, not to mention world-class rum purveyors, Cuba – especially Havana – thrives come nighttime. If you're a Hemingway fan, stop by El Floridita, home to the writer's favorite daiquiri. If you want more than just a bar, try Fabrica de Arte Cubano, which features multiple bars and has space for an art gallery, a dance club and a concert hall. For strictly dancing, hit up La Casa de la Música in Centro Habana (there are two locations in Havana – stick to the central one). Tropicana is a name that might come up in your research, too. It's not a club, but rather a historic Las Vegas-style cabaret show. No matter what path you choose, make sure to end your night at El Malecón.  

Find the Best Restaurants in Havana

  • #1
    Sensacioones Restaurant
    #1 of 994 Places to Eat in Havana
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 73 reviewsTripadvisor (73)
    $ - $$ | International, Mediterranean
    Calle 70 esquina 9na Playa, Havana Cuba
    Read More »
  • #2
    Mojito-Mojito
    #2 of 994 Places to Eat in Havana
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 911 reviewsTripadvisor (911)
    $ - $$ | Caribbean, Latin, Bar, Cuban, Central American
    Muralla # 166 Entre Cuba y San Ignacio, Havana Cuba
    Read More »
  • #3
    Casa Mia Paladar
    #3 of 994 Places to Eat in Havana
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 927 reviewsTripadvisor (927)
    $ - $$ | Caribbean, International, Cuban, Latin, Seafood, Fusion, Healthy
    Calle 1ra #103, entre Calle C y Calle D, Vedado, La Habana, Cuba 2do Piso, Havana 10400 Cuba
    Read More »
  • #4
    Buenaventura
    #4 of 994 Places to Eat in Havana
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 182 reviewsTripadvisor (182)
    $ - $$ | Caribbean, Latin, Seafood, Cuban
    Calle 43 #10206 e/ 102 y 104 Marianao, Havana Cuba
    Read More »
  • #5
    Habana 61
    #5 of 994 Places to Eat in Havana
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 2242 reviewsTripadvisor (2242)
    $ - $$ | Seafood, Healthy, Cuban
    Calle Habana No. 61 entre las calles Cuarteles y Peña Pobre, Havana 10100 Cuba
    Read More »
  • #6
    5 Sentidos
    #6 of 994 Places to Eat in Havana
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 772 reviewsTripadvisor (772)
    $ - $$ | Caribbean, Latin, Seafood, International, Cuban
    San Juan de Dios # 67 Entre Compostela y Habana, Havana 10400 Cuba
    Read More »
  • #7
    Esquina de Cuba
    #7 of 994 Places to Eat in Havana
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 417 reviewsTripadvisor (417)
    $ - $$ | Caribbean, Latin, International, Cuban
    Calle Cuba #203 / Empedrado y O"Really Esquina Empedrado, Havana 10100 Cuba
    Read More »
  • #8
    Los Naranjos
    #8 of 994 Places to Eat in Havana
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 529 reviewsTripadvisor (529)
    $$ | Fusion, Caribbean, Latin, Seafood, Cuban
    Calle 17, 715 Altos entre Paseo y A. Vedado, Havana 10400 Cuba
    Read More »
  • #9
    Lo de Monik
    #9 of 994 Places to Eat in Havana
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 366 reviewsTripadvisor (366)
    $ - $$ | Caribbean, Latin, Cuban, International
    Chacon y Compostela, Havana Cuba
    Read More »
  • #10
    IL Rustico
    #10 of 994 Places to Eat in Havana
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 280 reviewsTripadvisor (280)
    $ - $$ | Italian, Pizza, Mediterranean, European, Sicilian, Southern-Italian
    Calle San Juan de Dios . /Entre Calle Habana y Compostela/ Numero 53, Havana Cuba
    Read More »
  • #11
    Mekede
    #11 of 994 Places to Eat in Havana
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 153 reviewsTripadvisor (153)
    $ - $$ | Cuban
    Monserrate 211 Tejadillo y Empedrado, Havana 10100 Cuba
    Read More »
  • #12
    Mas Havana
    #12 of 994 Places to Eat in Havana
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 559 reviewsTripadvisor (559)
    $ - $$ | Caribbean, Latin, Cuban
    Calle Habana, 308 E San Juan de Dios St and O'reilly St, Havana Cuba
    Read More »
  • #13
    Otramaneralahabana
    #13 of 994 Places to Eat in Havana
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 240 reviewsTripadvisor (240)
    $$ | Caribbean, Latin, European, Spanish, Cuban, International
    Calle. 35 # 1810, Havana 220150 Cuba
    Read More »
  • #14
    Jibaro's
    #14 of 994 Places to Eat in Havana
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 202 reviewsTripadvisor (202)
    $ - $$ | Cuban, Fusion
    Merced 69 e/ San Ignacio y Cuba, Havana 10100 Cuba
    Read More »
  • #15
    Venami
    #15 of 994 Places to Eat in Havana
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 184 reviewsTripadvisor (184)
    $ | Italian, Pizza, Mediterranean, European
    Montserrate 435 Esq the Rey Habana, Havana Cuba
    Read More »
  • #16
    Opera
    #16 of 994 Places to Eat in Havana
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 197 reviewsTripadvisor (197)
    $ - $$ | Italian, Mediterranean, European
    Calle 5ta N. 204 Entre E y F One block from Presidente Hotel and 600 meters from Melia Cohiba Hotel, Havana 10400 Cuba
    Read More »
  • #17
    San Ignacio 214
    #17 of 994 Places to Eat in Havana
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 437 reviewsTripadvisor (437)
    $ - $$ | Caribbean, Latin, International, Mediterranean, Spanish, Cuban
    San Ignacio 214 Habana Vieja, Havana Cuba
    Read More »
  • #18
    Creperie Oasis Nelva
    #18 of 994 Places to Eat in Havana
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 141 reviewsTripadvisor (141)
    $ | Cuban
    Calle Havana Esquina Muralla, Havana 10100 Cuba
    Read More »
  • #19
    Restaurante Antojos
    #19 of 994 Places to Eat in Havana
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 179 reviewsTripadvisor (179)
    $ - $$ | Caribbean, Latin, Cuban, Central American, South American
    Callejon Espada e/ Cuarteles y Chacon, Havana Cuba
    Read More »
  • #20
    Elizalde Bar-Restaurante
    #20 of 994 Places to Eat in Havana
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 876 reviewsTripadvisor (876)
    $ - $$ | Cuban, Caribbean
    Empedrado 521 Monserrate y Villegas, Havana Cuba
    Read More »

Explore More of Havana

If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.

Recommended