Western Cuba Restaurants

Dining in the provincial capitals and towns is spotty; some places are acceptable while others seem fortunate to be able to provide nourishment at all. Pinar del Río for example, has no notable restaurants. Varadero has several good Italian, Chinese, criollo, and international options; buffets in hotels tend to be mediocre but the more luxurious resorts offer more sophisticated fare in their à la carte restaurants. You have to go off the beaten path to find such local specialties as crocodile tail (said to be an aphrodisiac) in the Zapata Peninsula, roast pork on the Isla de la Juventud, and lobster at María la Gorda.

Reservations aren't necessary, except in Varadero—especially at the upscale restaurants. Tipping is important to Cubans; an extra CUC here or there is much appreciated.

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  • 1. Restaurante Don Qko

    $ | Cuban

    Pronounced "Cuco," this excellent Cuban restaurant is hidden off a dusty side street in a surprise oasis of tropical plants and shrubs. Tables...Read More

  • 2. Barbacoa Steak House

    $$ | Steakhouse

    Close to a cluster of hotels, this popular steak house is in an attractive colonial-style villa, with a covered, arched terrace. Specialties...Read More

  • 3. Café Vigía

    $ | Cuban

    This lively café, with a large, covered terrace overlooking the plaza, is the perfect place to grab a table and a cool drink and enjoy the view...Read More

  • 4. Casa de Don Tomás

    $ | Cuban

    Despite the bevy of new eateries along the main street, this is still the classiest place in town, set in the most charming of Viñales's oldest...Read More

  • 5. Eco-Restaurante El Romero

    $ | Vegetarian

    A rarity in carnivorous Cuba, this is a vegetarian restaurant with an innovative take on local organic and wild ingredients. You enter under...Read More

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  • 6. El Mesón del Quijote

    $$ | Spanish

    The most romantic Varadero restaurant sits atop a small hill, beside what appears to be an antique round stone tower. It's actually part of...Read More

  • 7. La Bodeguita del Medio

    $ | Cuban

    First-rate Cuban cooking and excellent mojitos are served in this Varadero replica of Havana's Bodeguita del Medio—the famous Hemingway haunt...Read More

  • 8. La Casa del Pescador

    $$ | Cuban

    Tucked alongside the shaded trail that leads to La Cueva de los Peces, this small but decent open-air restaurant offers seafood, lobster (when...Read More

  • 9. Punta Perdíz

    $$ | Cuban

    This open-air restaurant—built within the prow of a boat—is the flagship of the Complejó Punta Perdíz, with beachfront, thatch-roof shelters...Read More

  • 10. Restaurante El Salto

    $ | Cuban

    This riverside terrace restaurant overlooks the footbridge that leads to the famous waterfall. The idyllic setting and river view make up for...Read More

  • 11. Taberna del Pirata

    $ | Seafood

    Lobster is the specialty at this breezy terrace restaurant near the Cayo Largo Marina. Along with criollo recipes featuring fresh fish, there...Read More

  • 12. Albacora

    $$ | Seafood
    Closed Permanently

    This excellent beachfront seafood eatery is named for the albacore, or long-fin, tuna, which has darker meat than the bonito and—as served here...Read More

  • 13. Antigüedades

    $$ | Seafood
    Closed Permanently

    Next to the entrance of the Parque Josone, this romantic spot is a jumble of antique artifacts and furniture. The fare is fresh seafood or steaks...Read More

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