Havana Restaurants and Paladares

 

Paladares in Havana

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 Malec√≥n, 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.

La Cocina de Lilliam Calle 48 No. 1311 (between 13 and 15)

Miramar, Havana Cuba - 011-53-7-209-6514 - Read the rest of the article

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.

Hundreds of paladares have opened up since the beginning of 2011 and that figure promises to double by the summer and may pose a serious threat to Cuban government run restaurants.

Video visit to a paladar near La Catedral in Habana Vieja

Emily Henke goes into greater detail with a study on Cuban Paladares and Private Enterprise.

Although this is from 2008, Anita Snow from the AP wrote up a great summary about paladares in Havana under the much less free system and there is this article from 2006 from Cuba Absolutely about paladares 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.

Testimonial

Fantastic list of paladares and restaurants in Havana.

Thank you. 

- Mariela Rodriguez - Miami

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