Everyone who plans a trip to Cuba gets the same advice: you’ll love the country but hate the food. Between ingredient shortages, import restrictions, and a lack of Internet connectivity to help people find local gems, the Cuban food scene is legitimately difficult to navigate. But just like everything else on this arresting island, access to the government’s inner circle can unlock the country’s gastronomic treasures.
With that in mind, we asked one of Fidel Castro’s private chefs, Ivan Justo, to open up his little black book to Havana, where restaurants are most plentiful and travelers more likely to visit first. These are the places, he suggests, that will redeem his home town’s culinary cred once and for all.