The rustic outdoor dining area of Fidels with a  customer sitting down and drinking.

Fidel’s

Fidel’s is a Wellington institution, adorned with memorabilia and imagery of 1950s Cuba. It’s loved for its character and location as much as its food and coffee. Choose from the extensive pre-prepared cabinet food, or opt for something from the menu. Both offer a great array of gluten-free and vegan options. All meat and eggs are free-range, and Fidel’s makes a point of choosing responsible packaging and supporting local suppliers. Wash it all with Havana coffee, or a Cuban rum if you fancy.

Fidel’s is one of many Cuba Street cafés that stay open late. But it doesn’t dress up for the evening. Its relaxed vibe continues into the night, along with its all-day menu.

Since first opening in 1996, Fidel’s café has expanded along with its popularity. First, a car park out the back of the tiny café was converted into a covered outdoor area. In 1999, a wall was knocked down and Fidel’s moved into the space once occupied by Supercuts Hair Salon. The team upgraded the kitchen, took over an adjoining apartment, and in 2003 converted more car parks into a front courtyard. These days, there’s also an outdoor street stall for those in a rush.

News of this Cuba Street institution made its way to none other than Fidel Castro’s son, the late Fidelito. He visited Cuba Street and wanted to learn more about the café that carried his father’s name. The nuclear physicist met with Fidel’s owner, Roger Young, who is affectionately known as the ‘unofficial mayor’ of Cuba Street. They polished off two bottles of rum and many cigars over lunch, and afterwards, Roger took him on a walking tour of Cuba Street. Fidelito couldn’t believe that this tiny city at the end of the world was so interested in Cuban history. Viva Fidel’s!

The exterior of Fidel's cafe.

Ella MacDiarmid