Most casas particulares provide meals.
Only three paladares existed at last visit. The best meals in town are served at Paladar Estela (Simon Bolívar #557, tel. 041/99-4329, Mon.–Fri. 6:30–9:30 p.m., and until midnight in winter), one block north of Plaza Mayor, which offers criollo meals served in a tree-shaded patio. I recommend the lamb (CUC8) or roast pork (CUC8).
The antique-filled Paladar Sol y Son (Simón Bolívar #238, e/ Frank País y José Martí, tel. 041/99-2926, daily 7–11 p.m.) also has courtyard dining and offers a roast chicken special (CUC7).
The lesser option is Paladar La Coruna (Martí #428, esq. Fidel Claro, tel. 041/99-3838, noon–midnight daily), which serves criollo meals on a patio.
Of state-run restaurants, my favorite is Restaurante El Jigüe (tel. 041/99-6476, daily noon–10:45 p.m.), facing Plazuela Real del Jigüe, in an atmospheric colonial home with antique chandeliers. The house dish is a filling pollo el jigüe (CUC6), with spaghetti and cheese served in an earthenware dish. Wash it down with delicious lemonade (CUC0.65).
Similarly appealing, the Restaurante Plaza Mayor (Zerquera, esq. Villena, tel. 041/99-6470, daily noon–10 p.m.) offers the option of dining on the patio or within the colonial mansion. It has an accomplished buffet—the best lunch option in town.
Other criollo options aimed at tourists include Mesón del Regidor (Simón Bolívar #20, tel. 041/99-6572, daily 7 a.m.–10 p.m.).
Feeling flush? Then dress up to dine at the Restaurant Gourmet, in the Iberostar Gran Hotel Trinidad. The creative fare includes smoked salmon appetizer and such entrées as sautéed shrimp over spinach in white wine sauce, and candied tenderloin steak in red wine with mashed potatoes. You can purchase a buffet breakfast (7–10 a.m., CUC15), lunch (12:30–3 p.m.), or dinner (7–10 p.m., CUC20 for appetizer and dessert, or CUC35 for three courses). However, there’s no à la carte option, nor can you order an entrée only.
For ice cream, head to the Cremería (Antonio Maceo, e/ Bolívar y Zerquera, daily 8 a.m.–10 p.m.); or Coppelia (Martí, e/ Zerquera y Colón; Tues.–Sun. 8 a.m.–10 p.m.).
The best-stocked supermarket is Galería Comercial Universo (Martí, e/ Zerquera y Colón). You can buy produce at the mercado agropecuario (Pedro Zerquera, esq. Manuel Fajardo, Mon.–Sat. 8 a.m.–6 p.m., Sun. 8 a.m.–noon) and baked goods at the bakery (7 a.m.–7 p.m.) at Simón Bolívar and Martí.
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Cuba, 5th Edition