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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