We are a family owned and operated restaurant, proudly serving Florida's lower Keys community since 1984.
El Siboney changed owners in 2004 and is now owned and operated by the de la Cruz family along with many of the same employees that have helped make El Siboney the popular destination that is remains today. We are proud of the recognition that our restaurant has received including Key West's Best Cuban Restaurant every year since 1993. But most of all, we are proud that so many locals and visitors have had a rewarding experience at our restaurant.
We are committed to upholding El Siboney's reputation as Key West's top restaurant for authentic Cuban food, Paella, and local seafood. We hope you enjoy the food, the service, and the friendly atmosphere that our customers have come to expect at our restaurant.
Where the name "Siboney" originates from
Some of our customers have wondered about the origin of our restaurant name. Siboney is an alternate spelling of Ciboney who occupied Florida and the Caribbean Islands for more than thirteen thousand years. Believed to be descendants of people, called Roko ayai, who traveled from the pacific to settle in Florida and the Caribbean Islands.
The Roko ayai found Florida and the Caribbean Islands a home that provided plenty of resources in fauna and game to secure a future for their people. A year round warm climate and sea breezes made Florida and the Caribbean Islands an ideal home for the ancient travelers. Surrounded by the great sea, in time the ancients became expert fishermen and where forever known as the people of the sacred stone from the sea, the Ciboney.
The first Spanish to explore the Caribbean Islands and Florida arrived in 1492. During this time, a great number of Ciboney people were found in the island of Cuba. Twenty-nine clans called Cacicazgos were ruled by Caciques that led the island nation. Cuba submitted to Spanish rule in 1511. The relationship between the Ciboney people and the Spanish invaders exploded in 1513 when the Ciboney led by Cacique Guamá of the Baracoa Clan and Cacique Hatuey of the Taino Tribe whom arrive from the island of Haiti staged a successful revolt to drive away their oppressors.
The revolt was short-lived and the returning Spanish, anxious to re-conquer the island nation of Cuba, forced the Ciboney to flee their villages to the nearby countryside and mountains. By the 1600's in order to survive a new system the Ciboney adapted to Spanish traditions; there was intermarriage with the Spanish, and later with Cimarones, run–away African slaves. Smallpox epidemic also reduced the Ciboney population. The Ciboney offspring of Spanish or African background were categorized as mestizo, pardo, mulatto, or creole; but to Cacique Camaguey is grandchildren were known as Guajiro.
Ciboney people are linguistically linked to Arawak-speaking people. Relations and cultural exchanges have been traditionally closest between Muskegon people of Florida and to the nearby Mayan people of Yucatan - Mexico. Today, Ciboney descendents speak a mixture between Ciboney and Spanish.
The primary source of the information we have about the Ciboney people was taken from the history section of "The Ciboney Tribe" website (ciboneytribe.org).