09/05/2009 03:08 PM
Paladars Offer Hidden Taste Of Cuba
By: Valarie D'Elia
The Cuban culinary scene can have its limitations, but one of the delights of eating out on the Caribbean island is dining in a paladar. NY1's Valarie D'Elia filed the following report.
Most restaurants in Cuba are controlled by the government, but there is another option for visitors and it's called a paladar, which means dining in people's homes.
"You put like three, four tables, and then you run a restaurant business. The good thing about the paladar compared to the restaurants that are run and owned by the government, is that in the paladar, the food usually tastes more 'homey.' So that's the big difference," said Cuban tour guide Julio Viera.
Like the casa particulars, the best source for finding a paladar is on the Internet or word of mouth. It's recommended to call ahead for reservations, because the places can be small, so if you just show up expecting to eat, it might be closed.
While the government limits the number of tables to four, many paladars break that rule and some resemble busy Parisian style bistros, such as paladar La Guarida in an 18th century townhouse.
Paladars are restricted from serving good cuts of beef and lobster, so don't be surprised if you are pulled into a back room to dine on these dishes on the sly. Another spot is Cocina de Lilliam, located in a 1939 era mansion with lush grounds. Paladar las Mercedes is a typical family style no fuss affair, while Adele's rooftop garden is a top romantic pick, that presents a prixe fixe meal, t
the most expensive of the group at $40 per person.
NY1 | 24 Hour Local News | NY1 Living | Paladars Offer Hidden Taste Of Cuba (5 September 2009)