This page features information about taxes Cuban entrepreneurs have to pay on their private restaurants, also known as paladares in Cuba.
Chugging along in a cobbled together 1953 Dodge taxi (vintage US cars are common here), we
drive past Art Deco buildings and colonial-style mansions, a reminder of Havana’s past grandeur. Now, roads are
worn and structures are crumbling from neglect. We ride down the Malecón, the road winding along the Gulf of
Mexico, and leave shabby neighborhoods behind as we make our way to La Cocina de Lilliam. This is one of the city’s
best paladares, a privately owned restaurant in a home, which is a legal enterprise here.
Paladares are scattered all over Havana in houses and apartments tucked into residential side
streets. Some are listed in guidebooks, but most people discover them by word of mouth. In the mid-1990s, the
government allowed Cubans to set up these small home restaurants, with some restrictions, including the rule that
only family members could work there. Now, they can hire cooks and waiters.
These small, private restaurants in
people's homes feature 20 seats or less and have been sprouting up like flowers in Havana. However, in May of 2011, the Cuban government
allowed paladares to have up to 50 seats and according to Granma, authorities are also studying whether
state-controled real estate could be put to better use by renting it out to private restaurant owners, a measure
that could dramatically increase the size and marketability of the new establishments.
In neighborhoods such as Vedado and Miramar,
close to embassies, five-star hotels and business offices it is not uncommon to spot more than one paladar on the
same block. Thanks to Ted Henken for posting about Paladares in Cuba.
A documentary on three paladares, privately
owned restaurants run out of the home in Havana, Cuba. Paladares offer the Cuban people a rare oppurtunity for
private enterprise in the evolving economy. Paladar photos courtesy of the New York Times.
Although this is from 2008, Anita Snow from the
AP wrote up a great summary aboutpaladares in
Havana under the much
less free system and there is this article from 2006 from Cuba Absolutely aboutpaladares in
Cuba that talks about the
challenges of being a small business in Communist Cuba. The article also lists the top five Havana paladares
from that time.