Foreign visitors are often commended to stay at the adjacent out-of-town Hotel La Ermita - and for a Russian mine-worker sent here as a gift from Marx for gathering top tonnage during the soviet period, it may well have been a treat. For The Rest of The World, one 'meal' there sends the guest reaching for a helicopter service to lift him out of the area. Thank goodness, by the front gate of Gulag Ermita is a charming family who have created a simple outdoor restaurant by their home with really well-cooked food and good ingredients, which one finds by accident.
This place saves your cuisiniary bacon and all your Vinales provender is likely to be taken there during your ensuing visit. It was actually better than the several places in which we ate in Havana, save for one - which I would write about but I have lost my memory.....
Lobster was a favourite at Paladar Pinca Celorio, and so were the pork and chicken dishes. They offer a typically Cuban sort of potato cake, made from some indigenous vegetable, which we only ordered once. I seem to remember it was blue. I guess you have to be a local to appreciate its finesses..... The foodstuffs taste real; one will be reminded of the taste of chicken from the old days, for example - there's no mass food production on this island. There is no recent history of good grub in poor Cuba - they eat anything which doesn't make them ill, so the newly-permitted private cafes haven't had to try hard to be in business - except when visitors arrive from the Outside World.
So - when visiting Cuba, either eat at Finca Celorio - or take enough sandwiches for the period between in-and-out airport visits. If I remember the excellent place in Havana, I'll check in to Trip Advisor again and let you know.
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