Longtime friends and business partners, James Beard Award-winning chef, Michelle Bernstein, and cocktail maker and cantinero, Julio Cabrera, are back at it again with their latest project, Cafe La Trova (971 SW Eighth Street). Part bar, part restaurant and part coffee counter, it offers a menu inspired by the 1980s Miami Cuban culture with plenty of cocktails, new spins on Cuban-style dishes, and live music.
The bar menu is divided into a Clasicos Cubanos section featuring traditional rum libations, while the the Tragos de la Casa section of the menu features drinks by Cabrera and business partner, Maestro Cantinero Orestes Pajon. In addition to cocktails, the bar offers nine beers, 14 wines by the glass, as well as three cigar offerings. A second bar, located in the back of the restaurant, will feature a “high-energy menu concept” inspired by 1980s Miami Cuban culture that’ll debut in the next few months with a focus on training up-and-coming bar talent.
As for food, the menu is broken down by empanadas, croquetas, soups, tapas, salads, sandwiches, platos fuertes (entrees), sides and postres (desserts). Think dishes like paella croquetas served with a shot of seafood caldo and saffron aioli; mezcal tempura fried calamari; its take on a burger called the “juicy lucia” filled with manchego and cheddar cheese and topped with gravy; and Bernstein’s signature bread pudding from her Michy’s days.
The space itself features dual décor to delineate each section, with the front part of the restaurant decorated in red, wood and iron, and the back in turquoise and salmon, an ode to that Miami-Vice style. Servers and bartenders in the front section of the restaurant are outfitted in classic cantinero style vests, bow ties and jackets, while staff in the back section wear tropical-themed apparel. And going with the Cuban-Miami cultural tribute, the outside patio features a cigar bar and tables with dominoes.
Café La Trova is now “softly” open nightly from 6 p.m. to midnight. Starting January 28 it will be open daily starting at 4 p.m.; closing at 11 p.m. on Monday to Thursday; at 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays; and at 10 p.m. on Sundays. The walk-up coffee shop will also be open daily starting at 8 a.m.; and lunch and weekend brunch service will be added in the coming weeks. Call 786-615-4379 for more information.