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Wandering Chef: Guillermo Pernot in Cuba

By Jen Murphy

Apr 6, 2012

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Guillermo Pernot is the chef-partner of Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar, which has outposts in Philadelphia, Atlantic City, Orlando, and Washington D.C. His menus are a representation of what he envisions Cuba’s cuisine would taste like today, if it had continued to flourish after Cuba’s golden era in the 1950s. Pernot was born in Argentina, but his wife Lucia is Cuban and her great-great-grandfather was Cuba’s third president. The couple now lives in Philadelphia, but regularly return to Cuba. To learn about Pernot’s favorite spots to eat in Cuba’s capital, keep reading. 

Ajiaco Café
“This place is great, it serves only old traditional recipes. Many of the recipes date back about 200 years, but Chef Angel Roque Gomez puts his innovative twists on every dish. All the ingredients he uses are indigenous to Cuba, no foreign intervention here.” Calle 92, #267 entre 5ta y 3ra E, Cojímar, Habana del Este, (53 7) 765 0514


La Cocina de Lilliam
“This beautiful home (shown above) was transformed to one of the most successful paladars (family-run restaurants) in Havana. Lilliam is a master of Cuban cuisine and when I was at her restaurant I was really excited by her frituras de malanga. She served them on melted glass bottles and they were so magnificent. I loved them so much I’ve made my own version to include on the menu at Cuba Libre.” Calle 48 No. 1311 entre 13 y 15. Miramar, Playa. Ciudad de La Habana. 53/ (7) 209-6514 


Doctor Café
“If you want food slow-cooked on the wood grill this is the place to go. No one does it better on the island. My favorite dishes over my numerous visits have been the venison, turtle, marlin, and alligator. When you dine, you are actually in the patio of this family home. Be sure to take your time and make no plans to go anywhere afterwards. You’ll want to stick around all day and savor the food and the atmosphere.” Calle 28, between 1 & 3, Miramar, Ciudad de La Habana.  53/ (7) 203-4718

Mercado Cuatro Caminos
“This is where all the locals shop (shown at top). It’s the most complex money for food exchange in Havana, meaning it’s really, really busy. I love going here, because it’s so full of life and you can find the freshest, most delicious ingredients. The Mercado has everything you can imagine, but no fish! Private fishmongers are the only ones who sell seafood in Havana.” Entre el cruzada de Calle Arroyo, Avenida de Mexico, Calle Matadero and Calzada del Cerro

This spring, April 20-24, the couple is working with Insight Cuba to take a group of 15 travelers on a culinary tour of Havana. For more information on the trip, visit cubalibrerestaurant.com.

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