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El Retiro (in Josone Park): went here when La Gruta del Vino closed
I tried on several occasions to go to the restaurant in the cave,, where you can buy a bottle and hide it in the walls, however it was never meant to be as even when supposed to be open they seemed to close early or open late. My first try I wasn't sure if they would open so I tried out El Retiro as advertisements for the various places to eat within the park seemed to indicate that it was place to go for lobster. The other choice was a place that advertised being Italian, however was looking for Lobster and therefore went to El Retiro.
When I arrived They asked if I would like to sit on the patio over looking the pond, which I agreed to. The weather was extremely warm for me, which was fine, but wasn't used to the humidity. I was grateful for the gentle breeze that made it a little more bearable and enjoyed taking in the pleasant scenery as enjoyed my whole dining experience. I arrived around 330 and therefore had whole restaurant to myself. The park wasn't busy, they had a small ride that towed kids around the pond (tractor made to look like a train), however not to many people were even in the park, this didn't seem to change any other time that walked around April 12-19th 2013, both on weekend and during the week.
Having read lots of reviews for places to go within Varadero, had thought it was going to be easy to find lobster for little over 10 CUC however it was closer to 20 CUC and if wanted the Themadore would of been 21 CUC. Think that the extra couple of dollars is for the cheese melted on top, but not sure if that's what Themadore means. I opted for the plain lobster as that was all I require. Still a bargain for huge lobster and very much enjoyed it, sides with the meal looked like maybe not as fresh as would get a restaurant in Canada, but not bad or anything, just little skimpy. I had picked up a whole bunch of nail polish before leaving Canada, think fairly high quality but not sure if as a male I'm best judge of nail polish (OPI), and gave the waitress one along with a tip and she was extremely grateful more for nail polish then tip which was what normally tip (15-20%) which would of been lot of money for them. Think that everyone shares money tips from manager to cooks, however gifts are just for people give to, but this is just my assumption. Believe that even if asked what tipping practice is, get impression answer is generally going to be what they think you want to hear not necessarily the truth. The other dish's on the menu were Steak, Chicken and Seafood, but Lobster is what think most people go for, know it's what I am going to have if that much of a bargain. While English may of been a little bit of a struggle it was more then good enough to communicate. My Spanish is not very good, but as with most of Cuba feel that if you make an attempt they are very grateful and more willing to try harder to communicate with you rather then just say "we don't have."
When left there were a few people eating inside in various rooms, for most part place wasn't busy at all. At the door noticed bottle of HP sauce and had to take a picture of it, can go to all sorts of restaurants in the States and they try to insult you imo with saying if A1 or Heinz 57 is ok. Yet here in Cuba where some things are so hard to find they had HP, my favorite steak sauce which is good on almost everything that needs little something, again imo. I will try to get to La Gruta my next trip, but if it's not open will not have problem going to enjoy El Retiro for another great meal.
Favorite Dish: Lobster, good and cheap, just not 10 CUC cheap.
- Food and Dining
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
KBAN de boca: Best restaurant in Varadero in 2011
Named the best restaurant in Varadero (calle primera #1648 entre 18 y 20 reparto costa Azul Boca de Camarioca in a little local village non dangerous for tourist ..GOOD FOOD CLEAN the best unkonwn restaurant (local people keep this secret for long time not anymore) clean bathroom...Hey try it if you dont like send me the bill and i will pay...Best langoustine in town..
Favorite Dish: Lobster and fish fresh from local fisherman...
- Road Trip
- Food and Dining
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
El Criollo: The Seafood here is Wonderful!!
El Criollo restaurant is in downtown Varadero, across the street from Sunbeach. The food here is so good, the prices are ridiculously affordable, and the service is impeccable. They have a variety of steaks, seafood and pastas available along with traditional Cuban dishes of chicken and pork. Anything I have ever had here has been fabulous, but the mahi mahi and the lobster have to be my favorites. We went out for dinner for 3 one night. We had shrimp cocktail, garlic bread, salad, lobster entree and mahi mahi, dessert, a bottle of wine and 1 cocktail apiece. The total bill was just under 50CUC. On another occasion we tried filet mignon (15CUC) and pasta dishes. The food was superb again.
The restaurant is covered, but has open walls so you can watch the people and traffic going by. On once occasion when we ate here, it was pouring rain. It was nice to be out of the rain, keeping warm, but still able to listen to the street noises.
An added bonus is that this restaurant is open late - from noon til midnight - so it fits perfectly with late risers like myself!
Favorite Dish: I love this restaurant. But the 12 CUC lobster tail has got to be my favorite. The lobster tail is split open and grilled, served with lemon, rice and salad. I have this almost every time I go to this restaurant!
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