For Food­ies

Porthole Cruise Magazine - - The Insider -

Vis­i­tors to Cuba have com­plained for years about the poor qual­ity and lack of va­ri­ety of food served in the coun­try’s dreary, state-run res­tau­rants, but that is chang­ing as more lib­eral busi­ness laws have given rise to a wave of pri­vately owned eater­ies. Known lo­cally as pal­adares, these es­tab­lish­ments run the gamut from in­for­mal holes in the wall to up­scale din­ing es­tab­lish­ments.

Try San Cristóbal (Calle San Rafael No 469) for its de­li­cious Cuban- cre­ole menu and mem­o­rable set­ting of a for­mer man­sion that is dec­o­rated in an eclec­tic style of an­tiques, off­beat re­li­gious ar­ti­facts, and whim­si­cal bric-a-brac.

Other pal­adares to sam­ple in­clude the trendy O’Reilly 304 (the name is also the ad­dress), which is fa­mous for its seafood and ex­ten­sive cock­tail list, as well as Café Lau­rent (Calle M No 257, be­tween Calles 19 and 21 in Vedado), an up­scale restau­rant that feels like you’ve stepped back into time to the 1950s.

If you’re pinch­ing pen­nies, there are nu­mer­ous road­side stands in Ha­vana that serve up de­li­cious and cheap street food. A pop­u­lar choice are the pork burg­ers that lo­cals like to top with cream cheese, straw­berry jam, and pineap­ple, all washed down with a nice glass of wa­ter­melon juice.

Base­ball is nearly a re­li­gion in Cuba, and if any teams are play­ing while you are in town, then you’ll trea­sure the ex­pe­ri­ence of wit­ness­ing one of their games in per­son, even if you’re not a base­ball fan.

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