As I wrote in an earlier post about food in Cuba, our meals were delicious but often had a certain sameness about them — a choice of chicken or fish or pork (all grilled to perfection), a salad plate of  fresh vegetables, Moors and Christians (black beans and rice), and fresh fruit or a dessert that was usually fruit-based.

Havana, of course, had a wider variety. We visited the fanciest restaurant of the whole trip on our first night in the city. Paladar San Cristobal featured glittery tablecloths, sparkling dinner ware, and appetizer trays with all the selection one would expect in any restaurant in the world.

Table ware at Paladar San Cristobal, Havana, Cuba

Embroidered and sequined table cloth and my gilt-edged plate

Appetizers, Paladar San Cristobal

Appetizers, in glorious variety.

As I wrote in my previous post, Cubans rarely eat beef. Cows are for milk and milk is for children. We were offered beef only once or twice in a week.

Lobster, on the other hand, was readily available. Before this trip, I wasn’t even sure I liked lobster. As a Midwesterner, it’s rarely an option for me. It turns out that I like lobster very much and I ate more of it during that week in Cuba than I have in my previous 53 years.

Lobster at Paladar San Cristobal, Havana, Cuba

Lobster at Paladar San Cristobal. This was also one of the few times that I was served a leafy green that wasn’t cabbage.

The next day we ate lunch in an Italian restaurant, XANA, so that offered a nice change of pace.

Salad at XANA, Havana, Cuba

The salads we were served in Cuba were composed rather than tossed and featured cabbage rather than lettuce.

Pizza and pasta at XANA, Havana, Cuba

Many of the meals for our tour group were served family style. I forgot to take a photo until we’d already eaten much of the pizza and pasta that we were served at XANA. The pizza was very cheesy, but the pasta had a nice tomato sauce.

new Weekend Cooking logoI’ll share this Cuba post with Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads because those folks will appreciate the food theme. I’ll have one more food-centered post from Cuba about the day we visited a farm.

I’ve been slowly re-capping my October trip to Cuba, sharing most posts to Saturday Snapshot at West Metro Mommy Reads:


Eating in Havana #WeekendCooking #SaturdaySnapshot — 20 Comments

  1. The food looks amazing — especially the great variety you were able to taste. The appetizer plate would make the perfect dinner for me! Fun that you got to indulge in lobster.

  2. I want to sample all of that! It all sounds and looks delicious. I’ve only had lobster once or twice and am neutral on the subject but I have a feeling I would quickly become a fan. I love the table setting at the restaurant. Everything looks lovely. It sounds like you had a wonderful trip!

    • The fancy restaurant is where we met a doorman who makes more than twice as much at that job than his day job — as a doctor! Every one struggles in Cuba, but there’s, mostly, a “we’re all in this together” attitude that helps. I wrote a bit about that and the political climate in my book review of Cuban Revelations.

  3. Lobster, did you say lobster??? Thank-you for the pictures of the food. I think what is served and how it is prepared says so much about a culture and understanding the differences and reasons from the foods that are available to us and that we eat!

  4. I’m so glad you took all these pictures of the food you ate in Cuba. I love knowing how others live and, in particular, eat. I really love the photo of the tablecloth, silverware and plate. I would have been blown away if I sat down at a table that beautiful and grand. Thanks, Joy.

  5. Your trip must have been amazing. I took so many food pictures in Rome, where we went for our trip in October, maybe I could get another Weekend Cooking post or two out of them! I want to go back to Italy, but may go to Spain instead for our next big adventure. (But who knows when that will be?)

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  7. Ooooh that appetizer plate looks absolutely amazing! As others mentioned, that would make a perfect dinner for me. Delicious! What an amazing experience to visit Cuba before it becomes too touristy.

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