The minute you walk into “El Paraiso” in Vinales, Rachel, who runs the restaurant and farm with her father, greets you with the biggest smile. Part farm and restaurant, El Paraiso sits on a hill overlooking the valley – and has been voted the number one restaurant to visit in Vinales. While we waited to be seated, Rachel spoke to us about the restaurant and we learned that the organic farm is 22 acres with 90% of what they produce going to the restaurant and the remaining given to local schools for charity. The restaurant has no set menu so you will be served a family style dinner with all the food they’ve cooked for the day. The abundance of food served is so large that you may wonder what happens to all the leftovers?! Rachel explained that it’s used for compost and never just thrown out.
As we sipped on a delicious cocktail called “anti-stress” that’s made with ingredients from the garden, I couldn’t help but fall in love with Rachel’s friendliness and passion for the work her family was doing in Vinales. This family- owned business had a big vision-they are working with the community through a farmers peer program to develop better organic farming practices across the country. They also do more informal tours for visitors eating at the restaurant that would like to learn more about the different crops.
You are literally eating the food that is grown a few feet away from you with a gorgeous view of the valley– it doesn’t get any better than that. This was the best farm to table experience that I’ve ever had and to be honest, one that I will never forget.
If you are traveling to Cuba, this restaurant is not to be missed – trust me, you will thank me later. Make sure to make reservations.