Monday, August 27, 2012

In Camaguey, Cuba: The cheapest meal we’ve ever had at Restaurant 1514 Piano Bar

We only have less than CUC$15 in our wallets and we’ll have to wait for the morning to withdraw money at the bank, so Blondine and I were desperate to find a reasonable restaurant nearby our hotel. Some place that looks nice (very important!) and affordable. We didn’t want to go that far, as well as we didn’t want to dine at the restaurant in the hotel because we want to try new places but we did have our pre-dinner cocktails of margarita here.

We spotted Restaurante 1514 Piano Bar along the pedestrian zone and noticed that it is mainly patronised by locals. We scanned the menu quickly and were initially turned off at the prices. It’s too expensive for what the restaurant is worth, but to make sure, we did some due diligence. Perhaps they are CUP$ prices instead of CUC$. The waitress who attended to us confirmed that it is indeed in CUP$ but that they accept CUC$ for payment, of course with proper forex conversion. Great, our lucky night.

At ‘Restaurante 1514 Piano Bar’ our total dinner damage was CUP$ 46.50 which is equivalent to CUC$ 2 =
AN UNBELIEVABLE EUR 1,60 IN TOTAL! We honestly could not believe it at first, haha. So cheap!? It was one of those incredible moments considering that we were too worried of parting with our money because we did not have enough left. With that, we tipped generously, a tip that is worth more than our dinner actually. I think our waitress went home happy that night.

Cuba has a 2-currency system. For reference, CUC$ 1 (Cuban Convertible Peso) = CUP$23 (Cuban National Peso). CUC$ is the currency used by all visitors in Cuba while the locals use CUP$. I don’t really see this as a fair system. I see this as an excuse for the Cuban government to leech on the tourists. On the other hand this somehow helps the locals earn a bit of extra money on the side.

We started the evening with some lovely and refreshing margaritas at our hotel, the Camino de Hierro Hotel:

Our chilled aperitif: yummy margaritas.

A few hundred metres from our hotel is Restaurant 1514 Piano Bar. Here is our cheapest dinner in Cuba: Cuban Creole (Criolla) Cuisine.

Blondine's: I think this is Ropa Vieja... or something else but definitely beef.

Moros y Cristianos rice.

My dish: Chilindron de Carnero (Cuban lamb stew). Really good! 4 stars out of 5.

Fried plantains, they were not so good. Too dry.

Trivia: Did you know that the Spaniards settled in Camaguey in the year 1514?

Travel Period: May 2012
Destination: Camaguey (Camaguey), Cuba

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