Planning your trip to Cuba?
You’ll want to find the best places to eat on the island as well. Between hidden gems and local-approved favourites, this guide will help you make the most of your trip with the top-rated, best restaurants in Cuba.
In such a popular tourist destination like Cuba, there are restaurants and bars scattered all over the island, which can make choosing Cuba’s best restaurants even more tricky.
So how can you know which are the best restaurants? Simple, ask the people who have been there before. We’ve put together a list of the top 10 restaurants in Cuba as voted for by previous travellers.
Check out: Cuba Travel Guide • Plan Your Trip to Cuba
Cuban Food: Your Guide to Cuban Cuisine
- La Guarida
- Los Naranjos
- Riomar Bar &Grill
- Restaurante Café del Oriente
- Lo de Monik
- Sensacioones Restaurant
- Delicias Cubanas
- Restaurant 1720
- Los Toneles
Cuba has African and Spanish roots, and this would no doubt be evident in the local cuisine. Additionally, French colonists added their influence to the pot and being a Caribbean island means a seasoning of Mediterranean tang to the ensemble, altogether making for a uniquely Cuban experience at the dining table.
Native cuisine usually comes about as a result of which ingredients are most abundant in the country. Rice, beans and plantain is therefore one of the most popular local dishes in Cuba.
Being an island means fresh fish is also readily available, making Pescado, Gambas and Camarones another popular dish. Pescado means fish, Camarones is shrimp and Gambas is large shrimp served in their shell.
Mojo Criollo, Ropa Vieja, Cuban Mix Sandwich, Cuban Toast and Pork, Tamales, Cuban Black Bean Soup; these are just some of the other delightful local dishes you can munch on in Cuba.
10 Best Restaurants in Cuba
Did you know that Cuba has state-owned and run restaurants? Then there are Paladares, which are the normal private owned restaurants that you’re used to. In no particular order, here’s our top picks.
#1. La Guarida
The interior of La Guarida alone will take you back in time and while the restaurant boasts authentic local cuisine, they offer international cuisine as well (vegan options also available). The New York Times, August 2002, hailed it as "the most famous of Havana's Paladares" and many celebrities have eaten here.
The restaurant caters for weddings, rehearsal dinners, birthdays, corporate events and receptions. It also features a bar and a smoking lounge where you can enjoy a Cohiba cigar with one of their unique cocktails. Cigar Aficionado had this to say, “La Guarida is the hardest table to reserve on the island and remains the hippest best restaurant in Havana", so we recommend making a reservation to secure a table.
Type: Caribbean, Latin, International, Cuban
Best for: Family style restaurant, anyone looking to dine in style with historical ambience.
#2. Los Naranjos
Situated in the heart of Havana, Los Naranjos is an exquisite gourmet restaurant and lounge bar. It has an extensive wine and cocktail list, amazing interior decor and terrace seating for those warm Cuban evenings. It is an ideal place to share a romantic evening or even business dinner.
Travellers have commented on the great service and amazing ambience of this restaurant, and it came highly recommended to them by the hotel concierges. Please note though, this restaurant only accepts cash, so carry enough with you, and don’t forget to tip!
Type: Local cuisine, Fusion, Caribbean, Latin, Seafood.
Best for: Couples looking for a romantic dinner.
#3. Riomar Bar &Grill
Riomar won the Travellers Choice in 2020 and it’s not hard to see why. With its mix of local, Mediterranean and international cuisine this waterfront restaurant boasts amazing views from the terrace. Travellers recommend the seafood platters as their best dish.
While most of the buildings in Cuba are quite old, including the restaurant buildings, Riomar is quite modern in look and feel. The restaurant offers vegan and gluten free options with a good selection of wines and drinks.
Type: Caribbean, Latin, Seafood, Mediterranean, Cuban, International
Best for: Families, couples. If you’re looking for outdoor ambience with a waterfront view.
#4. Restaurante Café del Oriente
Restaurante Café del Oriente was converted from a mansion to a gourmet restaurant while retaining the elegant mansion style interior decor. You will feel like a lord dining with fine china, linen tablecloths and served by waiters in tuxedos. There is a full bar serving a wide variety of local cocktails as well as international drinks. Travellers recommend the garlic shrimp as an appetizer and the steak, pasta primavera or lobster for the main course.
It features live music, private dining options, has wheelchair access, indoor or outdoor seating and they accept visa and MasterCard. You do pay for all the trimmings, so be aware that this restaurant can be expensive compared to others.
Neighbourhood: San Francisco Square, Old Havana.
Type: Local cuisine, Caribbean, Latin, European, Vegetarian Friendly.
Best for: Couples, anyone looking for upscale dining.
#5. Lo de Monik
We recommend Lo de Monik for the best restaurant to have breakfast or lunch, and we’re not alone in that opinion; it has won the Travellers Choice award as well. They do serve lunch and dinner here as well, and have a full bar.
Try the fish tacos here, and if you’ve never tried octopus, this is the place! Visitors to this restaurant say it has the best Cuban sandwich - one of the local meals you simply must try! Recommended to drink is the Mojito Loco, which is a Mojito Frappe served with a beer; loco means crazy, so an apt name...
Type: Local cuisine, Caribbean, Latin, Vegetarian Friendly.
Best for: Couples, families with children.
#6. Sensacioones Restaurant
Highly recommended by travellers for a romantic dinner or business meeting and has a private area for small groups, birthdays, or just to enjoy cigars with friends. Sensacioones has a more modern ambience compared to most Cuban restaurants. It is known for its mouthwatering pies, empanadas and laing. The mojitos here are great too!
Canadian and American travellers, even Cubans living out of the country who went back to visit family have said this is the best restaurant in Havana. Definitely worth a visit.
Type: Mediterranean, International
Best for: Families, romantic dinner in private, birthdays with small groups.
Mojito-Mojito is highly recommended by travellers as the best place to eat local cuisine in Havana. As the name suggests, their speciality is mojitos and their motto is “one mojito is never enough”. This is a great restaurant to immerse in local culture; with local cuisine, drinks and live Cuban music. It has a lively local ambience, so definitely not the place for a quiet romantic dinner but definitely recommended for a fun time out.
Being a small restaurant means no reservations are necessary (unless it is a large group) but it also means cash only. Travellers have recommended the shrimp cocktail, tuna mojito and Cuban pork.
Neighbourhood: Old Havana.
Type: Local cuisine, Caribbean, Latin.
Best for: Families, couples, groups of friends.
#8. Delicias Cubanas
If a quieter setting is what you’re after, Delicias Cubanas offers a more elegant and fine dining experience. While the food is moderately priced, the portion sizes are quite large and most travellers say they ended up sharing a single between two or even three people.
This is one of the state-owned restaurants and is located on the top floor of the building, so you get nice views of the surrounding, especially if you choose the balcony seating. It is known to get quite busy so it’s best to reserve before going. Recommended for local cuisine in Holguin.
Type: Caribbean, Latin, Seafood, Spanish, Cuban.
Best for: Families, couples, business dinner.
#9. Restaurant 1720
Restaurant 1720, so named for the first Catholic mass held in 1720. It was an old wine house converted into a restaurant. It keeps its colonial atmosphere with 12 foot high ceilings and even has a guard at the door to welcome you in. The food is excellent and well priced and the fish is fresh, as you would expect on an island. You can dine in the centre court under the open sky.
There is a bar and cigar bar in the restaurant and the menu is quite large; a great place to enjoy cold Crystal beer and a cigar with locals. The wine list is quite impressive as well and served by the glass, which is rare in Holguin. Travellers recommend this restaurant for the sheer impressiveness of the building and its ambience, as well as the great prices.
Type: Caribbean, Latin, Seafood, Spanish, Cuban.
Best for: Families, couples, those looking to socialize with the locals.
#10. Los Toneles
Los Toneles is run by a delightful Cuban family that will charm you with their hospitality and aim to give you the best local cuisine experience in Holguin Cuba. Food is cooked in front of you on a large grill and the outdoor seating area in the day or evening gives you a gorgeous view of the mountain behind.
The mojitos here are some of the best in Holguin, and the owner, Michael, specializes in local cuisine; try the plantain, pork or Cuban soup. Travellers have recommended this restaurant for its superb service, price and the amazing food. Most people chose to eat here instead of the hotel or resort they were staying at. Seems to be a little gem in Holguin and one you shouldn’t skip!
Type: Local cuisine, Spanish.
Best for: Families, couples. Anyone looking for the best local cuisine.
Bigger isn’t always better and that is certainly true of restaurants in Cuba, smaller family-run restaurants are some of the most highly rated by travellers. But when you’re in the mood for fine dining and elegant interior decor, Cuba has that too.
Whether you’re staying in the capital and its surrounding areas or Holguin, these 10 restaurants are the most highly recommended by travellers so you’re certain to find something to fit your food personality.