Restaurants and Paladors

I think our National Geographic group was very fortunate that our “leader” Christopher had so many personal contacts in Cuba.  I truly believe we would not have been able to experience the variety, and the quality of eating-places.

There are 2 different types of , publicly owned and run by the Government, the Paladars, privately owned by citizens.  Most of them started out as small kitchen enterprise and now have developed into personal business opportunities.

We ate outside patios, under trees, in very small compact rooms, outside the Cathedral one evening, and once in a 3-story tenement building.  “La Guarida” was setting for the art film “Frescas & Chocolate”  (Strawberries & Chocolate).  As we walked up the circular marble staircase, we could see floors missing, bare studs barely holding up the next section.  The very small dining area walls were covered with exotic artwork; the kitchen was a cramped area small than my bedroom closet.  The owners, chef and waiters were eager to share their very special cuisine with us.  They have carved out a first class restaurant using ingenuity and grit.  It was an experience none of us will forget!

Cuban food is not real spicy, but is flavored well.  I like fish, chicken and pork; they know every way in the culinary world to prepare the meats.  Fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and shredded cabbage were always the salad.  They know how to bake bread; their flan is out of this world.  Their ice cream is a national favorite.

I was surprised to have lobster served two nights.

For your information (when you make your trip to Cuba, we ate at El Café del Oriente, Dona Carmela, La Guarida, El Patio, El Tocororo, Casa Verde, and Café Taberna.

Because La Guarida was unique, I’m adding extra pictures