Cuban food is, in many ways, a pleasant surprise. Regular travelers usually research about the destination they are heading to.
Generally, those taking photography workshops dig deeper into culture, history, economy, art, among other things. When looking for information in order to build a culinary expectation about Cuba, could be surprising how many pessimistic comments are around this topic, a lot of them even suggest to bring your own salt and pepper because the food is too plane.
Some photographers recommend packing a lot of snacks and nutritional supplements after putting all the camera gear in the luggage.
In a photography trip people go to train the eye and to practice theoretical concepts, most of the times the meals are all included so you have less control over where and when you eat. For this reasons, preparing yourself with low expectations about it is comprehensible.
Experiences in life depend on perspective and how you assume things, the people who surround you are also important and having someone who cares about good food guiding you in a country as controversial as Cuba could be a real blessing.
In this country you can definitely find all kind of restaurants, from delicate and meticulous gourmets to places where only locals go for what they call "completas" a plate always set with meat, rice, beans and vegetables where you only order and change the main course (meat).
Although travelers can most of the time try the food at the guest house. It's good to mention that Cuban cuisine suffered the 1990's crises critically, reducing the spices to what the people named the "Cuban triangle" which is garlic, onion and bell pepper, the only ones that are usually grown in the country. That's why some people say is plane.
On the other hand, photography workshops require lot of energy, especially when the light is good, starting really early in the morning, leaving only hungry people at lunch and dinner. After a street photography session for three or more hours the body only asks for a refreshing mojito and a good lunch, followed by a break to continue later on the activities in the schedule. It's also a good practice to balance the meals, light lunch and big dinner because Cuba is a Caribbean island, hot and humid and the food is generally rich.
Many websites and apps recommend good restaurants.
I can assure that in Cuba something such as plane food is out of date for good. Courses like Ropa Vieja, Vaca frita, Chilindron de Chivo, Cerdo asado, Tostones rellenos, frituras de malanga, all the seafood, among others, surprises and delights travelers all the time.
Many of these places offer "Comida Criolla" which is local Cuban formed by the mixture of Spanish and African cuisine but there are a lot of other restaurants which serve international as well. Having poor infrastructure in the country for maintaining vegetables, fruits and other kind of food for longer periods, make them all fresh, seasonal and most of the time organic.
Although vegetarian is not super popular, there are always choices for vegan and vegetarians, from vegetable sandwich or pizza, plane salad, omelets, rice and beans, to pasta and soups.
Cuba might not be the Michelin star paradise but its culinary is interesting, tasty and relevant. Research, don’t follow vane opinions, go deeper and you may fall in love with it.
I detail below some of the restaurants in both Havana and Viñales where the photographers who have participated in the photo tours of Louis Alarcon in Cuba have made their best comments, not only for the quality of the food but also for the experience lived in these restaurants.
Click in the blue text
1.- Laurent Habana
El Cuarto de Tula
3.- San Cristobal Paladar
5.- El Bicky
6.- La cocina de Esteban
7.- Centro Asturiano
VINALES RESTAURANTS. COUNTRYSIDE.
1.- EL OLIVO
2.- 3J Bar de Tapas
3.- FINCA AGROECOLOGICA EL PARAISO