Find out Some Spanish Cuisine on Havana’s streets
By Havana Private Suit
With the arrival of Admiral Cristobal Colon, at the end of 15th century, Hispanic emigration to America began. In Cuba, first were the Andalusians and Castilians; later came people from other different regions of Spain.
Throughout history of Cuba, the Spanish introduced cattle, chickens, horses, pigs, sugar cane, potatoes, rice, lemon, orange, beans, flour, wine and jerked beef. When Spain’s supplies were over, the colonizers adapted to the food of the aborigines: corn, yucca and sweet potato. “Casabe” became the substitute for wheat bread. That way, began the cultural combination in eating habits.
If you want to try the authentic Spanish food there are options scattered throughout Havana, you don’t want miss this opportunity; I recommend three restaurants where you can enjoy the genuine Iberian table.
Spain in Old Havana
Old Havana always invites you to discover his rich and convulsive history, especially in buildings inherited from colonial times. In the Hostal Valencia we find the restaurant “La Paella”, specialized in this homonymous dish made with rice. Restaurant workers say that their chefs have won several awards in the international contest that has been held for 50 years in Sueca, Valencia. Also, the restaurant offers a variety of products from international cuisine, mainly fish and seafood.
The place is decorated in a Valencian style, with taurine and faller decoration. His menu includes specialties such as mushroom rice, Valencia crust rice, caldoso, fideua, and more. All combined with a good selection of Spanish, Chilean and Argentine wines.
Lobster paella is highly recommended for two people, but if you want something light, you can sit in courtyard to enjoy its excellent “mojitos” and enjoy tapas, listening to boleros of the 50s.
La Paella, the restaurant, is ideal to organize a lunch or dinner at the end of a historic tour in Havana. It’s located near of attractive cultural and tourist sites such as Museo del Automovil, Casa de los arabes, Casa de Guayasamin, La Armeria, Museo Nacional de Historia Natural, Casa africa and Caballero de Paris bronce statue.
Esteban, the one who brought his kitchen from Madrid
In Vedado, at the very center of the modern part of the city, the busy intersection of L and 21 streets, close to the Hotel Nacional de Cuba and Habana Libre Tryp Hotel, you can try some of the best Spain flavors.
In “La Cocina de Esteban”, this Madrid-born chef based in Havana mixes tradition and modernity in his creations. The place is strangely quiet, if we take into account that frenetic Havana life unfolds outside.
You can choose between outdoor tables or enjoy the garden’s atmosphere, closer to the urban movement. In addition, it has an air-conditioned lounge decorated with works of art and football items. There is a small bar to enjoy drinks.
From the abundant and varied menu I recommend the fish, the authentic Spanish paella and the delicious seafood, paired with excellent Spanish wines.
Also in Vedado we find more of the Valencian culinary tradition. On 19th street, at the corner of 12 street, there is a place to have a nice food, like home, which offers dishes made with natural products: “La Barraquita de La Habana”.
It is a cozy restaurant, with homemade Valencian cuisine, famous for its Mediterranean dishes. There is vegetarian food and all kinds of paellas made with rabbit, octopus, mushrooms, garlic and seafood. The decoration is inspired by the typical Valencian country farmhouse. The building served as housing for the farmers.
Do you want ideas to order from Barraquita’s menu? You won’t regret trying the fideua, the escalibada and the paellas. They also serve excellent clams, homemade croquettes and chocolate and mango cakes. You can accompany everything with a wonderful “San Francisco” cocktail.
It is located near attractive places such as Cine 23 y 12 and Cinemateca de Cuba, where they show films of author and premieres; also near is Centro Cultural Fresa y Chocolate, a Club with live musicians; the monumental Cementerio de Colon; and the peaceful Lennon’s Park.
Delights of Spanish cuisine in Cuba
So whenever we sit at a table in Cuba we will be testing something highly connected to food from the Iberian Peninsula. However, it worth return to one of the origins of our history and try authentic Hispanic flavors. These are not the only restaurants with Spanish food that exist in Havana, they are highly recommended for the quality of their dishes, the good service and the pleasant ambience of their premises.