The only paladar is Paladar Sabor Tropical (Esquerra #157, e/ Julio Jover y Berenguer, tel. 042/22-4279, lafaraonallatina [at] yahoo [dot] es, 24 hours), a small private restaurant serving criollo dishes and seafood.
In 2009, Restaurante 1878 (Máximo Gómez, e/ Independencia 7 Abreu, tel. 042/20-2428, daily noon–4 p.m. and 7–11 p.m.) opened in a colonial mansion, adding a touch of much-needed elegance to the dining scene. It serves criollo fare.
The top-floor restaurant in the Hotel Santa Clara Libre (tel. 042/20-7548, 7:15–9:30 a.m., noon–2:30 p.m., and 7:15–9:30 p.m.) has views over the square, the sole reason to dine here.
The Bulevar has several snack bars, including Café Europa (tel. 042/21-6350, daily 9 a.m.–1:30 a.m.) facing Plaza de las Arcadas. It’s a hangout for tourists, not least for its draft Cristal beer.
For seafood, head to the clean, air-conditioned Dimar (9 Abril, esq. 1ra, tel. 042/20-1375, daily 10 a.m.–10 p.m.). I recommend the garlic shrimp (CUC2.50) and lobster enchiladas (CUC6.25).
A stone’s throw away, peso food stalls around the mercado agropecuario (1ra, e/ Morales y General Roloff, Mon.–Sat. 8 a.m.–5 p.m., Sun. 8 a.m.–noon), which sells fresh produce.
Bakeries include Panadería Doña Neli (Maceo Sur, esq. Av. 9 de Abril, 6:30 a.m.–6 p.m.), selling in CUC, and the simpler Panadería Segundo Gallo (Independencia, esq. Zayas, daily 7 a.m.–7 p.m.), selling in pesos.
Coppelia (Calle Colón, esq. Mujica, tel. 0422/20-6426, Tues.–Sun. 10 a.m.–11:30 p.m.), one block south of the main square, sells ice cream for pesos.
Dulce Crema (Independencia, esq. Luis Estéves, daily 10 a.m.–10 p.m.) charges in CUC.