Ropa vieja, Cuba | 50 kitchens, one city - 50 recipes, 50 restaurants, 50 nations | 50 kitchens, one city | DW | 24.05.2017
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A culinary world tour through Berlin

Ropa vieja, Cuba

Gourmets usually associate rum and cigars with Cuba. But the Caribbean island's cuisine is also delicious: Iris and Eric Garofalo serve stewed meat in their restaurant, La Pequeña Habana.

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Video: Cooking step-by-step

Iris Garofalo: "I have two homes: Cuba, where I was born, and Berlin."

There are already plenty of Cuban bars in Berlin, say Iris and Eric Garofalo. But a restaurant serving real, authentic Cuban food? The couple searched in vain for that.

Iris and Eric Garofalo (Photo: DW/L. Ganssmann)

Iris and Eric Garofalo

It was a situation that could really do with a remedy, thought the Cuban-born pair. So in 2014 they opened their restaurant, La Pequeña Habana. Together, Iris Garofalo, the charming hostess, and Eric Garofalo, the self-taught chef, brought a bit of Cuba to Berlin. The menus, which the couple made themselves out of old cigar boxes, include Cuban classics such as the dish "ropa vieja," which translates roughly to "old clothing."

La Pequeña Habana in Berlin's Schöneberg district

The district where La Pequeña Habana is popular as a residential area and a good place to go out. It was popular even in the middle of the last century. The restaurant is located on a quiet street, but "Little Havana" attracts many regular customers.

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50 Kitchens, One City: Cuba


Ropa vieja

Serves 4


  • 400 g beef 
  • 400 ml beef broth from stock
  • 1 onion 
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 bell peppers, 1 red, 1 green
  • 2 fresh strained tomatoes
  • 4 bay leaves 
  • Salt, pepper
  • 2 pinches Indian cumin
  • 2 pinches red paprika powder
  • Fresh parsley
  • Olive oil


Boil beef in a pot for 40 minutes until meat is tender. Occasionally skim off the foam that develops during cooking using a slotted spoon. Place meat on a board to cool. When meat is cold, use your fingers to pull apart meat, setting pieces aside.

Dice bell pepper and onions, and chop garlic. Heat olive oil in a pan, and add bell pepper, garlic, and onions at medium heat until softened. Then add broth. Stir in strained tomatoes, bay leaves, spices, and meat, and boil everything for around ten minutes. Carefully stir the meat with tongs, so that it does not fall apart. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately. Serve with side dishes such as white rice, black beans, and homemade plantain chips.

Restaurant La Pequeña Habana
Eisenacher Str. 48
10823 Berlin

Tel.: +49 30 30360275

La Pequeña Habana website

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