If you ever find yourself in Baracoa, on the eastern tip of Cuba, dine at La Rosa Nautica Restaurant and Bar.
Perched on the top floor of a nondescipt building away from Baracoa's main drag, this "paladar's" (e.g., a privately-run restaurant) fittingly-designed sliding wood frame-glass windows, not only keep the rain out, but slide open to snapshot views of the Bahia de Miel (Bay of Honey).
The entrees - chosen from an international or Creole Baracoa menu - are tasty, colorfully presented, well proportioned and priced. Side dishes are varied, and desserts are local fare and mouth watering. The mojitos and daiquiris from its well-stocked bar add just the right sting. Top dinner off with a cup of cafe con leche or if one were so inclined - "un mojito mas, por favor".
What makes this paladar one not to miss is its service and ambience. It is par excellence. Friendly, warm, attentive, authentic and unexpected. Where service in Cuba is at times lackadaisical, here it is served in spades. In addition, Spanish, English and French are spoken.
The evening may have been a drizzly and quiet night - but that didn't dampen the spirit of the evening when a girlfriend took to the floor to Bob Marley's music, and La Rosa Nautica's proprietor and staff gamingly took part in the revelry.
Truly, a lovely place to be in Baracoa.
La Rosa Nautica
1 ro de Abril, No. 185 altos
Baracoa, Guantanamo, Cuba
tel. 64 57 64 or 58 14 46 54