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DESTINATIONS cuba varadero Dining Xanadu


The marble-floored Xanadu occupies the insides of an opulent mansion commissioned by an American millionaire several decades ago. Prices bite, but an evening here is worth the experience. Views over the ocean unfold from the top-floor cocktail bar.


Although most restaurants in Varadero cater to an international clientele, classics of Cuban cuisine (many of which are a variation on the theme of rice and beans) are still served at local "paladares" (family-run businesses). One menu item that features prominently on local restaurants' menus is lobster, a marine product reserved primarily for export and foreign visitors, and one whose capture still remains a controversial topic in Cuba. Some local specialities include ajiaco stew, meat empanadas, as well as chicken and pork dishes.