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Varadero Restaurants

Just one more vacation post after this one and I’m all done! And the next postis Havana, so hopefully it will actually be interesting. First, some food stuff in Varadero, Cuba.

The reason we were most excited about staying at a resort in town was we could actually do more off-resort eating! We had such a good time at Lenny’s Playa Prohibida last year with Coco Indio that we wanted more Cuban restaurant times. Again, Varadero is a tourist town, and the restaurants were obviously touristy, but still different as you won’t find any chains there (unlike in the Bahamas when there was a Dominos Pizza across the street from our resort). And it wasn’t only tourists eating. I love that Cuba is full of unique locally-owned restaurants and shops, and I hope that doesn’t change.

First we have Paladar Nonna Tina, an Italian restaurant that was recommended to us by our friend Corey (and recommended to him by a guy he works with). I had checked reviews also and had a list of Varadero restaurants to try, and this was one of them. Varadero has a double-decker bus that you can take downtown and then along the entire peninsula, so we did that one day and then went to Nonna Tina’s for lunch afterwards. It’s on a little side street right by Hotel Los Delfines.

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It was so cute, and I can’t believe we found real wood-fired oven Italian pizza in Cuba! We both ordered beer and started with an appetizer, rosemary with olive oil on focaccia. We did not realize at the time that it was going to be as large as a big pizza but we weren’t complaining.

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It was goooood. J’adore.

Evan and I each ordered a personal pizza, thinking they would be on the smaller side and we could share both. Once again, they were huuuuuge.

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I got the Hawaiian, and Evan ordered a random assortment of goodness.

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Both of them were seriously delicious and I was really surprised. The food was just excellent, and very reasonably priced as for all three of those pizzas and our beer we paid $20 CUC (tip was included on our bill but we still left a bit extra). We couldn’t finish everything but we packed it up in a box and brought it back to our room. We had enough leftover to make another entire pizza! It was the perfect late night snack over the next couple of days.

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I can’t recommend that place enough. I saw people ordering pasta that looked amazing as well. We will definitely be going back next time we’re in Varadero.

Another day we went to the outdoor restaurant El Rancho for lunch, which was just up the street from our resort.

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It has a great atmosphere in there, with live music as we ate, which is always a plus!

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(video here)

This is one thing that I really love about Cuba that I haven’t seen in other Caribbean countries I’ve traveled to, live music everywhere!

They seem to specialize in seafood but I wasn’t feeling it that day. I ordered the pork steak, which came with potatoes and rice. Nothing too exciting but it was pretty good, and great value at $7 CUC.

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That onion sauce in the little dish on the side though…I don’t know what was in that (aside from onions) but it was incredible and I could not get enough of it. I wanted to pour it over my entire plate. My mouth is watering thinking about it now.

Definitely a great place for lunch.

Our last restaurant experience was on the rooftop patio La Vaca Rosada, on the opposite side of the strip from us, closer to the hotel Roc Barlovento. We took a cab back and it was $5 CUC.

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I had a list of Varadero restaurants on my phone that I made before I left, which I compiled after reading a bunch of reviews. Beside this one I had written “rooftop patio!!! MUST GO” so, that was a must go. It has amazing reviews and people say it’s the best restaurant in Varadero. We eventually made it there on our last night, and I can’t say if it’s the best in Varadero, but it was the best of the restaurants we went to.

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I love the all the servers were wearing pink shirts.

We started with a side order of fries.

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And drinks. I got the Hemingway Daiquiri, with rum and grapefruit juice.

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It is called Hemingway’s Daiquiri because he drank so many of them at El Floridita in Havana (which we visited and I’ll get to in my Havana post) where he spent many days drinking in the ’30s and ’40s. It was delicious.

La Vaca Rosada’s specialties are pizza and seafood, and since we had already done the pizza thing we decided to seafood it up. I ordered the grilled fish.

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I asked our server what kind of fish I was eating, and I’m pretty sure he said “bargo” which I had never heard of and I still can’t really find anything about…but it was so, so good. It was cooked perfectly and super flavourful. I loved it and just demolished it. Also really good was the mash on the side, and I am not entirely sure what root vegetable that was made of either (squash or pumpkin I think), but it was garlicky and also very good.

Evan ordered the shrimp.

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Which were also garlicky and delicious. I definitely helped him out with those. We both really enjoyed our meals here. I wish we had tried more things!

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So that was a great final dinner in the Varadero.

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Next up, Havana. Have a great weekend!!

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