Ah Cuba. An eclectic melting pot of awe-inspiring landscapes, culture-rich cities and some of the friendliest people on Earth, it’s a dreamy place in which to visit. But if you can’t quite afford the airfare out to Havana – which by the way is one of the best cities this writer has ever been to – then there are places where you can get a taste (sorry) of this gem of a country in the capital. So, without further ado, here’s our rundown of seven of the best Cuban restaurants in London. You can thank us later – happy travelling!
1. Cubana, Waterloo
Kicking off this roundup of the best Cuban restaurants in London is none other than Cubana – a Waterloo-based spot that, as you can tell by the name, rustles up ‘the authentic taste of Cuba’. Just a stone’s throw from the station, this lively joint is open seven-days a week from lunch until late, serving delicious home-cooked tapas and Latin American fare. Happy hour runs daily from 4-7pm – you know how much we love one of them – and we recommend you try the fresh tropical cocktails and legendary Mojitos. It’s a Cuban drink after all…
They’ve got live music here on Fridays and Saturdays, and if you visit on Thursday you’ll catch some Latin DJs who’ll spin Reggaeton until the wee hours. While all the food here is bloomin’ delicious, we’d recommend coming here for lunchtime when you can indulge in classic Cuban street food like slow-roasted Cuban pork, pollo criollo (a mouthwatering slow-cooked free-range chicken dish), ropa vieja (shredded beef) and their hot and spicy Cuban sarnie.
📍You’ll find Cubana at 48 Lower Marsh, London, SE1 7AB.
🚇 Nearest station is Waterloo.
2. Escudo de Cuba, Stoke Newington
From bougie gelato spots to beautiful, leafy parks, there’s a hell of a lot of reasons to love Stoke Newington. And we’re gonna add another one to the mix – Escudo de Cuba, East London’s only Cuban restaurant. Having ran the acclaimed Cuba Libre in Islington for over 20 years, they upped sticks and moved to N16 – and haven’t looked back since.
Specialising in authentic Cuban cuisine, tasty tapas and classic cocktails, this is one hell of a fun place – perfect for a meet-up with a group of mates or a date night too. Dishes on the roster include the pina rellena – a delightful concoction of a stuffed seafood pineapple with prawns, crab, cassava and avocado drizzled in a manchego cream cheese sauce – and masitas de cerdo – braised pork pieces marinated with oregano, apple vinegar, cumin and thyme.
All mains come with the classic vegetables, rice and beans, and there are a whole host of tapas dishes and sides too. Plus, the cocktails here are all under a tenner – winner, winner!
📍You’ll find Escudo de Cuba at 20 Stoke Newington Road, London, N16 7XN.
🚇 Nearest station is Dalston Kingsland.
3. Cubano Delicious, Elephant and Castle
Less of a restaurant per se and more of a street food-style spot, Cubano Delicious is perhaps the place to go in town if you’re looking for an authentic Cuban sandwich. At 10 inches long, they’re a thoroughly filling snack and are packed full with everything from shredded beef to pulled pork with barbecue sauce – and all the yummy toppings too.
They’ve also got burritos and arepas rellenas here – a traditional Venezuelan dish consisting of tasty cornbreads packed full of beans, cheeses and meats – and you can also opt to add fries and soft drinks to whatever you choose too. Everything here is under a tenner – so this is a good one if you’re looking to watch what you spend – and it’s right opposite Elephant and Castle station too.
📍You’ll find Cubano Delicious at Unit 2, Castle Square, 40 Elephant Rd, London, SE17 1EU.
🚇 Nearest station is Elephant and Castle.
4. La Paceña, Hornsey
This friendly, family-run joint in Crouch End is Bolivian in origin, but they also rustle up a whole host of other Latin American and Spanish dishes here too. There’s everything here from succulent Argentine steaks to mouthwateringly-good seafood paellas, and all the ingredients are sourced from local farmer’s markets too.
Aside from the good food and charming atmosphere, the biggest draw at La Paceña might just be the live Cuban salsa band that plays here every Saturday evening. They certainly bring the fiesta vibes and you’ll find it hard not to get up and have a dance!
📍You’ll find La Pacena at 14 High Street, London, N8 7PB.
🚇 Nearest station is Hornsey.
5. Salsa! Soho or Temple
Everyone’s favourite Latin American bar, Salsa! is also not only good for raucous bottomless brunches and fun salsa classes, but it’s also a winner when it comes to Cuban-style cocktails and tasty tapas too.
There are two branches in town – one in Soho and one right by Temple underground station – and both are fun spots if you’re wanting to listen to some great music and put your dance skills to the test. Cocktails here are all under a tenner, and lip-smackingly good dishes include quesadillas, Cuban hamburguesas, nachos, Brazilian-style surf and turf and a whole range of delectable desserts too.
It’s also open until the early hours of the morning every night of the week, so this is the place to come if you’re wanting to let loose and party!
📍You’ll find Salsa! at Victoria Embankment, Temple, London, WC2R 2PH and 96 Charing Cross Road, London, WC2H 0JG.
🚇 Nearest stations are Temple and Tottenham Court Road.
6. Guanabana, Kentish Town
Our penultimate entry to this roundup of the best Cuban restaurants in London is a real North London gem. Based in fashionable Kentish Town, Guanabana specialises in Latin American cuisine, and they were one of the first of their kind in the whole of London.
They specialise in food from Jamaica, Cuba, Colombia, Mexico and everywhere in-between, and all the meat served here is 100% halal. The jerk chicken is pretty much out of this world, and they do a mean ‘Island Roast’ on Sundays which is oak smoked to perfection and is served alongside plantain, baby carrots, roast tatties, grilled cabbage, a Yorkshire pudding and lashings of jerk-infused gravy.
Even better, it’s BYOB, so all you have to worry about is the small corkage fee – what’s not to love?!
📍You’ll find Guanabana at 83-85 Kentish Town Road, London, NW1 8NY.
🚇 Nearest station is Camden Road.
7. El Botellón Latino, Tottenham
Rounding off this list of the best Cuban restaurants in London is Tottenham-based El Botellón Latino – a casual and rustic spot in Seven Sisters that doubles as both a Spanish tapas restaurant and a Cuban cocktail bar too.
The ‘menu of the day’, a Latin American and Spanish staple, is just eleven quid a pop, and they’ve got everything here from empanadas to a steaming beef stew. Run by incredibly-friendly staff, they also do a mean selection of cocktails here – cheers!
📍You’ll find El Botellón at 260-262 High Road, London, N15 4AJ.
🚇 Nearest station is Seven Sisters.
So there you have it – a roundup of the best Cuban restaurants in London. Whether you’re looking for classic street food dishes like slow-roasted Cuban pork or are wanting to listen to a traditional salsa band as you wine and dine, this list will have you covered.