Cuban Patron Encounters Disastrous Dining Experience in Havana Restaurant

Thursday, July 11, 2024 by Emma Garcia

Cuban Patron Encounters Disastrous Dining Experience in Havana Restaurant
Dish at Castillo de Jagua Restaurant, Havana - Image © Facebook Rafael Lázaro Rodríguez Macías

Rafael Lázaro Rodríguez Macías, a Cuban resident, had a disappointing experience at Restaurante Castillo de Jagua in Havana, a venue he chose in hopes of improved service that never materialized. Rafael shared his ordeal in the Facebook group Gastrocuba, detailing his visit to the well-known restaurant located at Avenida de los Presidentes and Calle 23 in El Vedado.

Upon arrival, he was greeted by an exterior board offering a limited menu, but he decided to take his chances. He ordered a dispensed beer, a tamal, smoked pork loin, and congrí because the loin did not come with a side dish. This is where the problems began.

The beer was supposedly available, but he was not served because the bartender was absent. No cocktails were on offer to tide him over until his meal was ready. The only alternative was canned beer, at more than double the price listed on the board.

The tamal he received was of noticeably poor quality—dry and lacking both meat and fat, resembling more a street vendor's offering than that of a restaurant.

The smoked pork loin was the worst part. The dish consisted of four tiny slices, each three inches long and two millimeters thick, all for 850 pesos, a price Rafael deemed exorbitant for the portion and quality provided.

The congrí, which should have been a flavorful and freshly made side, was served cold, devoid of fat or cumin, "as if it had been prepared at seven in the morning" and left to sit until serving time.

The situation did not improve at the end of the meal. Although the beer keg was eventually set up and Rafael enjoyed a dispensed drink, the bill was another source of frustration. It was presented on a small piece of paper, without itemized prices, and the total did not match what was listed on the board.

To make matters worse, some items were priced higher than advertised, and a 10% additional charge was added as a tip, with no clear justification. Rafael concluded his culinary critique by asserting that he would never return to Restaurante Castillo de Jagua.

His experience serves as a warning to other diners about the importance of service quality and honesty in product offerings at any dining establishment, whether state-owned or private. This story highlights the need to improve standards in Cuban restaurants, in a country where inflation not only deprives thousands of families of access to basic food but also discourages people from seeking dining experiences outside their homes.

Key Questions About Dining Experiences in Cuban Restaurants

Given Rafael's unfortunate experience, here are some common questions and answers that may help other patrons navigate dining in Cuba more effectively.

What should you look for when choosing a restaurant in Cuba?

Look for reviews and recommendations from reliable sources like social media groups or travel websites. Check the menu and prices displayed outside and ask about the availability of items before ordering.

How can you ensure you are charged fairly at a restaurant?

Request an itemized bill and compare it with the menu prices. If there are discrepancies, ask for clarification. It's always a good idea to carry a list of the prices you were quoted.

What should you do if you receive poor quality food?

Politely bring it to the attention of the staff and ask for a replacement or a refund. If the issue is not resolved, you can share your experience on social media or review platforms to inform others.

© CubaHeadlines 2024

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