One thing you learn early on traveling around Cuba is that the musicians are good, really really good. On every other street corner there are talented singers and guitarists strumming their hearts out. They have a certain swagger and an ability to perform confidently without making you feel as though you’re being forced to empty your pockets. With that being said, I left Cuba with a total of three CDs.
One of my favorite groups is Guacachason. They were playing at a lovely restaurant in Viñales called Casa Don Tomás.
Casa Don Tomás is situated in the oldest house in Viñales. With its airy porch and wonderful live music, Casa Don Tomás just might be the best place in the valley to grab a bite.
During our visit, we kicked things off with the “cóctel de la casa,” Casa Don Tomás’ house cocktail.
Casa Don Tomás’ cocktail is a refreshing mix of pineapple juice, rum and a couple drops of honey accompanied by a raw sugar cane stick. You can definitely opt to use the sugar cane as a swizzle stick. If you want to try munching on it make sure you chew on the fibrous portion to extract the sweetness, but don’t swallow it. Similar to the outside of an artichoke, the fibrous portion isn’t really that edible.
As far as the cold starters go, the lobster cocktail at CUC$3.50 (roughly $3.50 USD) basically sells itself.
After seeing dishes of the delicias de la casa (the house specialties) wander by, we forged ahead and ordered the delicias de Don Tomás. These ceramic bowls of magic contain yellow rice, ham, pork, chicken, fish, lobster and Spanish sausage.
For dessert, we decided to cool things down by snagging scoops of Casa Don Tomás’ strawberry ice cream and a scoop of the chocolate. Maybe it’s because of Cuba’s tropical heat or maybe it’s that fresh salty air, either way almost anywhere you go and order ridiculously cheap Cuban ice cream (at Casa Don Tomás it was 70¢) it tastes delicious.
Whether you come for the outdoor seating on the porch, the live music or the lobster, Casa Don Tomás is a lovely way to escape touristy Viñales and to appreciate the view from up above.
Casa Don Tomás
Address: Salvador Cisneros Number 140
Hours: Daily From 10:00am to 11:00pm
Phone: +53 48 796300
Pricing (All in Cuban Convertible Pesos or CUC): Coffee and Tea $1.00 to $1.50, House Cocktail $2.20, Sangria $2.70, Cold Starters $1.30 to $3.50, Soups $1.50, Fish and Seafood $6.50 to $10.95, Meats $4.50 to $7.50, Desserts 70¢ to $2.00
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