Cafés and Bakeries
Cuba has few sidewalk cafés, and most of the prerevolutionary cafeterías (coffee stands) and tea shops (casas de té or casas de infusiones) have vanished. Most cafés are really snack bars-cum-restaurants; there are few in the purist Parisian tradition, and as of yet, no Starbucks equivalents.
Most towns have bakeries serving sugary confections and Cuba’s infamously horrible bread (served as buns or twisted rolls). Cuba’s reputation for lousy bread pre-dates the Revolution (“Why can’t the Cubans make decent bread?” Che Guevara is reported to have asked). To be fair, some hotels and restaurants serve excellent bread, and the situation has improved following the arrival of French expertise to run the Pain de Paris bakery chain (Monday and Tuesday are usually best; after that the selection diminishes). And Doña Neli bakeries and the Pan.Com snack restaurant chain, in most large cities, offer quality baked goods and sandwiches, respectively.
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Cuba, 5th Edition