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Experience Cuba without leaving NYC

Believe it or not, there's a lot more to Cuba than cigars, sandwiches, and rum.

Some New Yorkers may visit this time-warped, Caribbean island, when JetBlue launches flights to Havana from JFK this July.

But if Havana nights aren't scheduled into your summer travel agenda we have some good news: you can still get a taste of Cuba without leaving the five boroughs.

Here are some of the best Cuban experiences NYC has to offer!

To dine: Victor's Café

Nothing says tradition like a third generation family
Photo Credit: FACEBOOK / victorscafe

Nothing says tradition like a third generation family owned restaurant. And for a restaurant to be open in NYC for over 50 years, you know it has to be good. Victor's family has remained dedicated to dishing out authentic Cuban cuisine, but has adjusted with the times to make the food lighter, healthier and a bit more exotic. Their house specialty, Ropa Vieja, is about as Cuban as it gets- slow braised and pulled skirt steak smothered in a tomato, onion and pepper sauce. New Yorkers flock to Victor's for an upscale Cuban dining experience. 236 W 52nd St., victorscafe.com

To drink: Cienfuegos

Cienfuegos knows their rum. Named after a southern
Photo Credit: Instagram/cienfuegos_nyc

Cienfuegos knows their rum. Named after a southern coastal Cuban town, dubbed the "Pearl of the South," they claim to be "home to everything Cuban." They have an entire menu of punch bowls that you can share with up to five people while you munch on guacamole and plantain chips from their small plates menu and soak in the Cuban ambiance. Happy hour is from 5 p.m.- 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and all night Sunday, so go for half priced punch bowls and $7 cocktails. 95 Ave. A. cienfuegosny.com

To party: Cuba Rum Bar and Restaurant

Hit up Cuba Rum Bar and Restaurant for
Photo Credit: Instagram/cuba__nyc

Hit up Cuba Rum Bar and Restaurant for the full Cuban experience. Cuban-born owner Beatris de Armas created this spot more than 10 years ago with one aim in mind- to capture the Old Havana spirit. It is bumping with live Cuban music every weekend and there is even a man rolling Cuban- style cigars in the corner four nights a week. Happy hour is from 4 p.m.- 7p.m. Monday through Friday, and they are serving up their strong signature mojitos and daiquiris. We wouldn't be surprised if Ernest Hemingway himself walked into this colorful and lively decorated restaurant? Well, maybe we would. 222 Thompson St., cubanyc.com

To mix it up: Calle Dao

Have you ever wondered why Chinese, Cuban fusion
Photo Credit: Instagram/calledao

Have you ever wondered why Chinese, Cuban fusion exists? It goes back to the 1800s when Ell Barrio Chino (China Town) in Cuba, was considered the biggest Chinese community in Latin America. So, to honor the unique mix of the two cultures, Calle Dao continues to create authentic Cuban eats with Asian flavors. While you can find empanadas at almost any Cuban restaurant in the city, Executive Chef Humberto Guallpa adds some Asian flare and creates a duck empanada with a ginger-scallion glaze. They even serve a brunch with bottomless drinks, which means endless mojitos with your Cubano sandwich. 38 W 39th St., calledao.com

To munch: Cubana Social

Cubana Social isn't your typical Cuban restaurant. The
Photo Credit: Instagram/ cubanasocial

Cubana Social isn't your typical Cuban restaurant. The Brooklyn hotspot is devoted to locally sourced and predominantly organic food, and have vegan, gluten free and paleo options- this is Williamsburg after all. Not only is the food good, but live Afro-Cuban and jazz music plays on the weekends. The first Saturday of every month they host an event "Cuba x Bklyn" featuring live salsa music and DJ Geko Jones spinning tracks. Food is available until midnight, and of course cocktails are served until closing at 4 a.m. Hip! 70 N 6th St., Williamsburg. cubanasocial.com

To dance: Fuákata - Cuban Salsa

Now is a better time than ever to

Now is a better time than ever to take up salsa lessons. And for those of you who already know a thing or two, Fuákata has classes for you too. They claim to be the only school in the tri-state area that specializes in Cuban Salsa Casino and Rueda de Casino dance classes, so if you want to learn a thing or two about this art, this is your spot. If you think you have two left feet and don?t want to do the dancing yourself, you can check them out at different locations throughout the week where they will be performing. 25 W. 31st St. Class and performance schedules are posted on Facebook.

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