The former Centro Cubano of Madrid !!

I seldom write about restaurant although I should do more. And never a whole post on one no longer in existance, but with so much history and beautiful moments. Again in my nostalgic run on Madrid! This is a city that pulls you, attract you , trapped you, and won’t let go. Its a vibrant open funny, lively, friendly city for all. Oh well can’t say enough of it, you have read me you know it. The pictures of the restaurant Centro Cubano are from their old site and public pages.

As my roots are all over with many years in different countries as citizen of Spain, USA, France,and working time living in Brazil and Nigeria, the one I was born long ago in another era was Cuba. When i came over to lived in Madrid in 1970, the place was humming with Cuban exiles from the communist dictatorship existing there, and still unfortunately.  We had our little huddle, talks, souvenirs, nostalgia in itself by coming to this place for lunch or dinner. The poorer Cubans were given free meals by the owners! 

I like to tell you about an institution in Madrid as the oldest Cuban restaurant in Europe, founded in 1967. It finanly closed its doors somewhere in 2011 due to the family line not willing to continue. I heard a nephew or in law did open another one not far from it at Calle Ortega y Gasset, 69 , call Gasset Habana,but has since closed as well. The one I went with my dear late mom Gladys was the Centro Cubano or Cuban center restaurant at Calle Claudio Coello, 41, almost corner to Calle Goya, Salamanca district,metro Serrano line 4. When I took my dear late wife Martine it was at the old Centro Cubano and later with my sons visit the Gasset Habana, not the same…


The old Centro Cubano founded in 1967 was the oldest Cuban restaurant in Europe. Since then it has been a faithful ambassador of Cuban food and cocktails in Madrid. It had two rooms with capacity for more than 200 people, a private room for celebrations and events and an art gallery. In its specialties it had the Ropa Vieja (old clothes)  with rice and beans and the fried cow(vaca frita) with congrí (black beans colored rice) and tostones (green plantains). Among its entrees were well known its tostones stuffed, tamales(corn tamales)  and ladybugs of plantain. It had a wide variety of Cuban desserts like the guava shells,  and the sweets of coconut, milk and grapefruit. In its ample bar were prepared those that are considered by many the best mojitos, besides flavor daiquiris , Cuba libre, and other cocktails like the piña colada. At noon, from Monday to Friday there were, also a menu of the day Mediterranean style in addition to the Cuban food. Sublime and lots of talking memories of our old land.


I used to come sometimes with local friends for lunch as well and introduce them to the food. Those were the days of my nostalgic Madrid early 70’s. Of course, things have change today. Many of the old places are no longer, and the city is with more people, but the aura of its air just been there is enormous and always ready looking forward to go. In a sense, Madrid is my Spain, even if by blood I am from Candelaria and Pajarà in Tenerife, Canary islands.

 Now my fav reviews site Yelp has a listing of Cuban restos in Madrid, which only tried the La Negra Tomasa, very good too. webpage:

Another good site RestaurantGuru on Cuban restos in Madrid

This post, of course, its just for the memories,the nostalgia of my Madrid to record in my blog. As said, the resto is no longer there. Enjoy Madrid !! anyway anywhere anyhow!  Memories forever !!! For my curiosity, there is now El Bar 41 which of course not been and folks do not even notice what it was there before, the famous Centro Cubano! 

And remember, happy travels , good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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