More a sizzling skillet than a melting pot — Miami's rich Cuban influences have defined this city for more than 50 years, and nothing speaks to the culture of a community more than its culinary offerings. The star of that is, of course, Cuban cuisine, and while there are plenty of places offering it around town here are the best bets — listed in geographical order from north to south.Read More
Miami’s 12 Essential Cuban Restaurants
Satisfy all those croqueta cravings
Finka Table & Tap
West Kendall gem, Finka Table and Tap is Islas Canarias’ millennial offspring — on steroids. That’s because chef Eileen Andrade is the actual offspring of the owners of Islas Canarias, and her reimagined spins take traditional Cuban cuisine up a notch. While the famous Islas Canarias croquetas are served at Finka, go out on a limb and try the vaca-frita stuffed tostones, the arroz con pollo fritters, the croqueta pizza, along with one of the many craft cocktails at the bar.
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Islas Canarias croquetas are quite possibly the most authentic this side of Spain. Filled with ham and béchamel sauce, these large, piping-hot bundles of deep-fried goodness are legendary in the Magic City. Pro-tip: order more than needed as there are just never enough to go around. The restaurant also serves a variety of other authentic Cuban dishes, including the noteworthy carne con papas.
Creative appetizers and tapas, plus a “Skinny Menu” and a rustic-meets-modern decor sets Sergio's apart from other Cuban restaurants. For more than 40 years, the Cuban mini-chain has been serving a large assortment Cuban specialties like the vaca frita empanada with the special cilantro sauce, croquetas and tostones rellenos, along with the new-er health-conscious Skinny Menu items like cauliflower rice and fire-grilled vegetables.
El Palacio De Los Jugos
More of an outdoor barbecue pit and juice counter than restaurant, El Palacio de los Jugos serves among the best "chicharones" aka fried pork rinds, mariquitas, cold sugar cane juice and a wide selection of fruit juices. The location on Flagler and SW 57th Avenue serves heaping portions of roasted pork and Cuban pork sandwiches.
Luis Galindo’s Latin American Cafeteria & Restaurant
This longstanding Cuban diner is known for serving inexpensive, generous portions of Cuban favorites. The place is constantly bustling with regulars who know a good value and an authentic meal. The bistec empanizado is so large it doesn’t fit on the plate, while the grilled chicken and the cortadito are some of the best in the city.
La Rosa Restaurant
A local favorite for years, La Rosa serves a variety of standout dishes include the vaca frita de carne, sopa de pollo, and bistec empanizado, along with the much talked about paella — all cooked by the owner himself.
This bright, airy, expansive restaurant, laiden with colorful Cuban tiles serves large portions of authentic Cuban dishes such as vaca frita, tostones, and maduros, that all are easily paired with one of its mojitos.
A Miami mainstay for more than four decades, La Carreta is well-known for "abuela-style" Cuban cooking throughout its nine locations (and counting). Just about anywhere throughout South Florida, a La Carreta can be found to satisfy those cafecito and croqueta cravings.
For nearly 50 years Versailles, has been synonymous with Cuban buzz and has served as ground zero for Cuban political banter, protests, parades and celebrations. At its center: Cuban food. Favorite dishes include the vaca frita, churrasco, camarones enchilados and plantain soup. And this Miami institution is so legendary that even has its own cookbook, co-authored by local celebrity chef, Food Network Star’s Ana Quincoces.
Take a trip to Little Havana to check out the restaurant aptly named "the exquisite one." El Exquisito has been serving fairly-priced, high-quality Cuban fare since 1974. A favorite of locals, politicians and star athletes alike, El Exquisito has been lauded by numerous print and online publications for its food; receiving high praise for its tamales and pork chunk dishes.
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This restaurant and lounge owned by Gloria and Emilio Estefan serves Cuban cuisine in a lively and entertaining atmosphere. Located in the heart of the Miami Design District’s Palm Court, it features striking décor, art-covered walls and waiters who will perform live music on a whim for the lucky diners. But don’t be surprised to see Emilio banging on the Bongos or Gloria enjoying an elegant, authentic Cuban meal with family and friends.
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Three Palms Cuban Cafe
Head to Three Palms for homemade pastelitos, a popular flaky, Cuban pastry, and Cuban coffee via a walk-up window. This Cuban Café on Biscayne Boulevard also offers a seated dining inside the restaurant where guests can enjoy an authentic Cuban breakfast or dishes like its arroz con pollo, which is one of its specialties.