Eating in Cuba

Where to eat in Cuba
  • Hotel restaurants
  • Restaurants in US dollar
  • Restaurants in Pesos
  • Paladares
  • Casa particular
  • Cafeterias
  • Street Vendors 

Traditional Eateries

When visiting Cuba, you will have several options when it’s time to eat. The places you lunch and dine at will depend largely on what your accommodation will be. If staying at hotels, you probably have your board fully catered for. However, you may like to get to know other eateries and restaurants to get a more authentic feel of Cuban lifestyle.

Here is a list of different places you may expect to eat in:

Hotel restaurants
They will generally have a decent selection of food but are the most expensive places to eat in. Expect prices similar to fancy restaurants in other countries.

Restaurants with prices in dollars
Usually found in only the larger cities and there are both private and government run restaurants. The selection of food in these places is also fairly wide.

Restaurants with prices in pesos
Very similar to “dollar restaurants” the main difference is the fact that their prices are in pesos. This is a much cheaper option although quality and quantity varies from place to place. Cost: 5-20 pesos for a meal, plus drinks. Keep in mind that its not common for foreigners to be able to pay in pesos. Dollars are generally expected from them. There are exceptions however.

These are privately run restaurants in family houses. They are state sanctioned and prices are in dollars. The government has stipulated certain guidelines to be followed by these eateries such as: there must not be more than 12 seats, it must be strictly family-run and only typical Cuban food is to be served. If you are served lobster it is from the black market as all lobsters here are used for export or only in tourist hotels. The food in these paladares is inexpensive and gives tourists an authentic taste of Cuba.

Casa particular
If you’re staying at a private home, you can also have meals there for some extra money. This is also a good option as it is inexpensive and again, you get a chance to taste authentic Cuban cuisine.

You can find private or government-run cafeterias.

Street vendors
Private citizens make and then sell food such as pizza, pastries, sandwiches (bocadillos) homemade fruit drinks and shakes and other sweets. This is very cheap, going at around 5 pesos at the most.