The Cuban Restaurant | Harbourside, Bristol

Having spent three months in Jamaica a few years ago, I’ve eaten my fair share of Caribbean cuisine. From meaty dishes like jerk chicken/pork, brown stew chicken, goat curry and salt cod to meat-free options like callaloo, ackee and festival dumplings, there weren’t many Jamaican dishes I didn’t get round to tasting. Next week, I’ll be returning to the Caribbean for Grenada Chocolate Festival and I can’t wait to eat my body weight in chocolate and tasty Grenadian cuisine. In the meantime, however, I was lucky enough to get my Caribbean food fix when I was kindly invited along to The Cuban restaurant, Bristol recently by Socialight.

If you're looking for Bristol restaurants worth visiting, try out The Cuban restaurant in Harbourside for a taste of Cuba in Bristol. Featuring traditional Cuban food, steaks, burgers and, of course, lots of rum and mojitos! #cubanfood #bristol #bristolfood #bristolrestaurants #thecuban #thecubanbristol #socialight #ad

When I heard that the restaurant owners had made a point of visiting Havana so they could capture the essence of Cuban cuisine and bring some of the best dishes back to their restaurant in Bristol, I couldn’t wait to visit The Cuban for myself.

Arriving at The Cuban on a Sunday lunchtime, the restaurant was a little on the quiet side, although the ’30’ glitter confetti dotted around our table and on the floor suggested that it attracts a busy evening trade.

Pink flamingos, plush vintage armchairs and a colourful wall mural reading, ‘Cuba’. If you didn’t know any better, you might think you were dining in a restaurant in Havana. Maybe.

The à la carte menu offers several classic Cuban choices like cassava chips, seafood cassoulet and pork, with plenty of Spanish and Latin American influence in dishes like black paella, boquerones and ensaladilla rusa (potato salad).  While I was expecting more of a focus on traditional Cuban cuisine – there wasn’t a Cubano sandwich in sight, not to mention picadillo (a Cuban staple of ground beef and tomato stew) or ropa vieja (Cuban shredded beef) –  the benefit of this is that if you happen to be dining with any fussy eaters, there’s bound to be something they’ll like.

Those with a lighter appetite can share an extensive selection of hot, cold and fried tapas dishes, sipping on a rum cocktail or two.

On the subject of which, I opted for The Cuban restaurant’s signature cocktail, Last Day in Cuba (£7.95) – a punchy combination of brandy Cointreau, strawberry syrup, sugar syrup and lemon juice. Served in a champagne glass dusted with icing sugar, this was beautifully presented, although I was constantly licking my fingers to stop them from getting sticky!

The signature cocktail 'Last Day in Cuba' at The Cuban restaurant, Bristol - the glass is covered in icing sugar.

A starter of aubergine roulade (£4.95) left us feeling a little disappointed; thinly sliced grilled aubergine marinated in garlic and basil, and wrapped around a slice of tomato, was far from what I was expecting from a roulade.

Aubergine roulade close-up, with queso frito in the background - at The Cuban restaurant, Bristol

Luckily, our disappoint was short-lived as a serving of hot, crispy queso frito (£6.95) soon put the smile back on our faces. Made using twelve-month cured Manchego cheese and infused with honey, this had a moreishly crispy coating and a soft, creamy centre. Cuban comfort food at its finest!

Queso frito at The Cuban restaurant, Bristol

One of the options in the grilled section of the menu, polla a la parilla (£14.95) was a typical Cuban chicken kebab. 24-hour marinated chicken thighs were cut into chunks and skewered with seasonal veg, before being grilled over charcoal to produce a scrumptious smoky flavour. Hot, golden fries and celeriac remoulade were the perfect match.

Polla a la Parilla - Cuban chicken kebab - at The Cuban restaurant, Bristol

When it arrived at the table, my guest’s main course of belly pork (£14.95) was covered in an awe-inspiring ceramic cloche (dome) and, once lifted by the waitress, it billowed with smoke. Smoked in-house using beech wood and slow-cooked sous-vide for 36 hours to allow the natural fats to melt slowly and baste the meat underneath, the succulent pork belly was served on a bed of fried cassava and teamed with silver skin onions, soya beans and salty Spanish chorizo. The dish was finished with a sweet ginger glaze, helping to offset the smoky flavour of the pork and cassava.

Belly pork on a bed of fried cassava at The Cuban restaurant, Bristol

Although I expected the menu to include more typical Cuban dishes, we had an enjoyable experience at The Cuban and we wouldn’t hesitate to return in future, perhaps during the evening when the atmosphere is a little livelier – next time, I’ll be ordering the belly pork!

For more information about The Cuban restaurant and to place a booking, please visit the restaurant website.

If you're looking for Bristol restaurants worth visiting, try out The Cuban restaurant in Harbourside for a taste of Cuba in Bristol. Featuring traditional Cuban food, steaks, burgers and, of course, lots of rum and mojitos! #cubanfood #bristol #bristolfood #bristolrestaurants #thecuban #thecubanbristol #socialight #ad

Do you like Caribbean food? Have you ever been to a Cuban restaurant before? Leave me a comment below and I’ll get back to you ASAP 🙂

This post is in collaboration with Socialight.


  1. May 9, 2018 / 4:12 pm

    I’m rather partial to belly pork, so the photo is making my mouth water. I think I will have to try this restaurant when I am in Bristol next

    • May 10, 2018 / 10:03 am

      The pork was so good Mel – I would definitely go back even if only for that dish!

  2. May 10, 2018 / 12:32 pm

    Wow this all looks sooo delicious and the frito soundas especially tasty. I love that the restauraunt owners actually visited Havana – such a nice touch to ensure things are kept authentic x

    • May 13, 2018 / 10:05 am

      Yeah. I must be honest, I was expecting to see more authentic Cuban dishes on the menu, but perhaps they are focusing on quality over quantity.

    • May 13, 2018 / 10:03 am

      It was so good, it had a delicious, smoky taste!

  3. Fatima
    May 11, 2018 / 9:36 pm

    I haven’t tried Caribbean food yet but would definitely love to try it. The Cuban chicken looks great! Definitely going there when I’m in Bristol next!

    • May 13, 2018 / 10:02 am

      I liked the Cuban chicken kebab but if you like pork, go for the trio of pork or belly pork.

  4. May 12, 2018 / 5:58 pm

    I have not tried Cuban cuisine yet but it looks delicious. Love the decor of the restaurant too

    • May 13, 2018 / 9:59 am

      I loved the decor too, it was so funky. I really liked the queso frito and pork, the chicken kebab was good too – just a shame about the aubergine roulade!

  5. May 12, 2018 / 7:20 pm

    The queso frito sounds amazing!!!! Shame about the first starter, I would’ve been a bit put out by that too!

    • May 13, 2018 / 9:58 am

      Haha yeah, I definitely pulled the short straw with that one!

    • May 13, 2018 / 9:58 am

      The pork was so good, I really wished I’d ordered that myself.

  6. May 14, 2018 / 10:16 am

    Ooh, the Cuban sounds amazing! I would definitely visit if I were lucky enough to visit Bristol 🙂

    Louise x

    • June 1, 2018 / 10:54 am

      You should! It’s such a lovely city 🙂

  7. May 14, 2018 / 12:56 pm

    The food looks amazing, especially that pork belly! I think it’s one of my favourite things to eat so that definitely would have been a given choice for me off the menu x

    • June 1, 2018 / 10:54 am

      It looked delicious, I’ll definitely be ordering that next time I visit.

  8. Dena
    May 14, 2018 / 8:18 pm

    Oo this place looks lovely. I’ve never tried Cuban food before.

    • June 1, 2018 / 10:53 am

      It was a first for me too!

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