Written by Kieran Proctor

Best Restaurants In Varadero: A Foodies Guide

While most travelers flock to Varadero for its pristine beaches, there’s more to this Cuban paradise than sun, sand and ...

While most travelers flock to Varadero for its pristine beaches, there’s more to this Cuban paradise than sun, sand and sea. The city has a burgeoning food scene, that offers a unique blend of traditional Cuban cuisine and international flavors.

Let’s explore the top 10 restaurants in Varadero that are worth leaving your all-inclusive resort for. And, let’s face it, resort food isn’t exactly something to write home about. All of the restaurants on this list are unique. And they’re definitely worth the time it takes to visit them.

But, if you’re looking for more than food, check out my Varadero itinerary, or my guide to the 10 best tours in Varadero for things to see and do. I spend at least 3 months a year in Cuba and I’ve done everything in Varadero, at least once.

The 10 Best Restaurants In Varadero Cuba

Now, you’re likely staying in an all-inclusive resort while visiting Varadero. Most travelers to Varadero choose the all-inclusive resorts over the local accommodation options. But the food is always terrible in the resorts.

Check out any of the resort reviews on Google maps, or on Tripadvisor, and you’ll see two things. The first will be a lot of Cubans leaving fake reviews to bump up the resort’s rating. And the second will be the real tourists complaining about the food and service in the resorts.

If you’re expecting gourmet cuisine and fine dining, while staying in an all-inclusive resort in Varadero, you have the wrong expectation. If you pay a few hundred dollars for a week long stay, that includes all the cocktails you can drink and food, you won’t be getting lobster.

What the all inclusive resorts typically serve is hamburgers (avoid) and anything they can make with produce that they’ve procured from the Government. Inside the resorts, you’re going to be eating a lot of stale bread and lettuce during your all inclusive stay. But there is a bright spot.

If you venture out of your resort in Varadero, you’ll find that there are a wealth of local restaurants with some of the best seafood you’ll find in Cuba. Not just in Varadero.

All of the restaurants below, do have fantastic seafood. And I’ve eaten at all of them and I can tell you, that the lobster (langosta) and octopus (pulpo) are what you should try!

Below is the list of the 10 best restaurants in Varadero. Click each restaurant for it’s location on Google Maps:

  1. Varadero 60
  2. La Barbacoa
  3. Salsa Suárez
  4. Waco’s Club
  5. La Cofradia Del Pescador (great lunch – try the grilled lobster)
  6. La Gruta el Vino
  7. Paladar Nonna Tina (hidden spot that actually has good Italian cuisine)
  8. Esquina Cuba
  9. La Fondue
  10. La Vicaria

Travel Tip: If a ‘friendly’ local approaches you on the street and recommends a restaurant or bar, don’t go with them. And do make a mental note of the establishment, so you can avoid it. Because the place they recommend will overcharge you. It’s a common tourist scam in Cuba.

Varadero 60

Nestled in the heart of the city, Varadero 60 is an Italian restaurant that has won the hearts of locals and tourists alike. Offering a variety of delectable Italian dishes, it’s perfect for a romantic evening or a family dinner.

Yet, it’s the lobster and sirloin steak, that you should order from Varadero 60. Italian, unless it’s from Paladar Nonna Tina (below), will be hit or miss. Cubans rarely know how to make Italian food. The restaurant’s tranquil ambience, paired with top-notch service, make it a must-visit spot in Varadero.

Local Food Tip: The lobster is a bargain in Cuba. And it usually sells for around $10-15 USD.

La Barbacoa

Renowned for its hearty and flavorful Cuban food, La Barbacoa is a local favorite. Their dishes, like the battered shrimp platter, are sure to satisfy your taste buds without breaking the bank.

The restaurant’s open-air setting adds to its charm. And makes it a great spot for budget travelers seeking a unique dining experience.

Salsa Suárez

Salsa Suárez is a gem located by the beach, offering a blend of Cuban and Italian dishes. The peaceful and stylish restaurant, with its beautiful patio garden, is the perfect place to unwind after a day at the beach. The restaurant also has a full bar, serving wine and beer, making it an ideal spot for a relaxed dining experience.

Local Beer Tip: Order the Cristal verde (green Cristal) or the stronger Bucanero. Avoid the Cristal Extra (white Cristal) — it’s not a local favorite.

Wacos Club

Located in the city’s heart, Waco’s Club offers a relaxed and elegant dining experience with exceptional Cuban cuisine. The restaurant’s fine tableware and ocean views enhance the dining experience, while the staff’s commitment to excellent service ensures a memorable visit.

From surf and turf to grilled octopus and chicken breast, every item on the menu is worth trying. But my recommendation is the octopus, called ‘pulpo’ in Spanish.

La Cofradia Del Pescador

Located on the water, right by the catamaran docks, La Cofradia Del Pescador has one of the best (and freshest) lobster offerings in Varadero. And you should definitely order the lobster!

After a day of sailing and swimming with dolphins, disembark your catamaran and head straight in for a grilled lobster with a sunset cocktail. That’s my idea of a perfect day in Varadero!

La Gruta El Vino

Nestled in Josone Park, La Gruta el Vino is a cave restaurant, offering delectable lobster and steak dishes. The unique setting, coupled with live Cuban music, makes it a popular spot among locals and tourists alike.

I personally enjoyed the unique ambience of La Gruta el Vino. And I loved the larger lobsters that they serve. I’m not a fan of steak in Cuba, no matter where it comes from. But I love the lobster!

Paladar Nonna Tina

Hidden away from the city’s hustle and bustle, Paladar Nonna Tina offers a taste of Italy in Varadero. Despite the city’s reputation for undercooked pasta and over-cheesed pizza, Paladar Nonna Tina manages to impress with its authentic Italian cuisine.

Local Tip: Paladar Nonna Tina is the only place in Cuba, that I’ll order Italian dishes, like pasta or pizza.

Esquina Cuba

Another standout in the Varadero food scene, is Esquina Cuba. This popular spot offers a jovial atmosphere and has a classic American car displayed at the center of the restaurant. The menu features retro dishes from the 1950s, making it a must-visit for those seeking a taste of traditional Cuban cuisine.

La Fondue

For those seeking a different kind of dining experience, La Fondue offers fun fondue options. This café serves a variety of seafood dishes and salads, making it a great spot to switch things up from the usual Cuban fare.

La Vicaria

Last but not least, La Vicaria is a government-run restaurant, offering hearty Cuban food at affordable prices. Its outdoor patio is a hit among budget travelers, making it a great spot for light, inexpensive bites.

Final Word On Food In Varadero Cuba

After a day of frolicking on the beach, swimming with dolphins or driving Jeeps through the wilds of Cuba, the local restaurants and eateries listed in this guide, promise a culinary adventure that goes well beyond the confines of your resort.

Each restaurant on this list, offers a unique dining experience that showcases the rich flavors of Cuban cuisine. And they have some of the best seafood you’ll find, not only in Varadero, but in all of Cuba. But do remember to book in advance, to secure a table at these popular spots.

If, however, you don’t want to leave your resort, but you do have a local phone number, VPN and Mandao (Cuba’s Uber Eats), most of the restaurants in this guide will deliver to your resort. Just remember, you will need local pesos to pay the delivery guy.

And, if after trying all the Cuban cuisine you can handle and deciding that you love it, why not learn to cook Cuban food and take some of your favorite recipes home with you?

Additional Information: While you’re in Varadero, don’t miss out on the city’s nightlife. After a delectable dinner, head out and explore the local bars and clubs for a taste of Cuban entertainment. From live music to dance performances, there’s plenty to keep you entertained long after the sun sets.

Travel Tip: Read my guide to packing for Cuba, for a list of the essential items that you should have with you, when traveling here. You should also read about how to get from the Varadero airport to the city, and read my guide to traveling from Havana to Varadero if your flight is landing at the José Martí International Airport in Havana, before you go booking any buses. These guides will save you time and money.

Happy dining in Varadero!

Where Can I Get More Information About Cuba?

I’ve made my Cuba travel guide available on this website. And I recommend you read it, before traveling to Cuba. It will help you navigate Cuba and Cuban society.

My ultimate guide to Cuba will save you a lot of time and a significant amount of money on your trip to Cuba. Read the most up to date guide to traveling Cuba.