While abuela’s cooking will always be the comparison, Miami is the home to the best Cuban food available outside of Cuba. There’s no resisting the smell of fresh garlic, onions, peppers, and tomatoes sizzling — and that’s just the sofrito. Cuban food is readily available and affordable around here. Most restaurants offer daily specials and catering for all meals, including cantinas. Now, in quinceañera style, here are the top fifteen best bets for Cuban food listed in geographical order from north to south.Read More
Miami’s 15 Top Cuban Restaurants
Where to find the best of the best
1. Molina's Ranch Restaurant
Molina’s Ranch has been proudly serving its customers for over 30 years. Begin with appetizer selections of bacalao (codfish) fritters, or shrimp stuffed tostones (fried plantains) and continue on to mains including a whole fried snapper with fries, or masitas de puerco (fried pork chunks) with moros and yuca. Don’t leave without trying a flan for dessert.
2. Enriqueta's Sandwich Shop
The modest eatery has a fan following that rivals all other restaurants due to its no nonsense menu offering big flavors and generous portions at small prices. While Cuban sandwiches are the popular choice here, those with heartier appetites can opt for house special bistec a caballo (steak, ham, two eggs, and choice of fries or salad) or one of the daily specials, which alternate with one or two dishes each day. (Enriqueta’s is open for breakfast and lunch daily, but closed on Sundays.)
3. Puerto Sagua
South Beach’s resident Cuban restaurant since 1968, it features variety of well-priced dishes. Start with the house combo, which offers a tamale, two croquetas, two tostones, and plantain chips for a taste of its most popular starters. The house specialty is seafood so make sure to try the paella, but all the traditional Cuban dishes are available along with daily specials and desserts.
4. El Palacio de los Jugos
On any given day, those craving Cuban food will find whatever is desired at this Miami go-to with several locations throughout the Magic City. The unconventional restaurant is reminiscent of a buffet offering a vast selection of soups, rices, beans, mains, and side dishes sold by the pound — or portion thereof. Make sure to grab one of its freshly made fruit juices such as mamey, papaya, or sugarcane to wash down the meal.
5. Old's Havana Cuban Bar & Cocina
A standout in a sea of Cuban restaurants on Calle Ocho, start the meal with items to share like yucca fries, pork tamale, and empanadas. Move on to the ropa vieja, which technically translates to dirty clothes, but is actually braised and shredded flank steak stewed in a sofrito and tomato base served over white rice with plantains on the side. Compliment the meal with dessert or a cocktail from the full service bar.
6. El Exquisito
Established in 1974 by the Coro family, El Exquisito promises patrons a taste of abuela’s cooking. Favorites include the potaje de chicharos (split pea soup), fabada (Spanish bean soup), pounded and grilled chicken breast, and picadillo (think ground beef hash). Most dishes are served with choice of two sides including white rice and beans, the combination moros rice, sweet or fried plantains, fries, yucca, and veggies.
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7. Versailles Restaurant Cuban Cuisine
A popular destination for tourists, politicians, and locals alike, Versailles is an institution of Cuban food. Since opening its doors in 1971, this landmark has been serving patrons Cuban goodness inside its restaurant, as well as through its signature ventanita. The restaurant also houses its bakery serving Cuban bread, croquetas, pastelitos, empanadas, and desserts.
8. La Casita Restaurant
Brought to you by the Vilariño family behind Las Vegas Cuban Cuisine, La Casita is a Little Coral Gables favorite for Cuban food. Enjoy daily specials such as arroz imperial (think chicken and rice plus ham, mayo, and cheese) with maduros (sweet plantains), and fish fillet cooked to order with choice of sides for under $10. Go ahead and splurge on a carafe of sangria or the popular Cuban sodas; Materva, Jupiña, and Ironbeer.
9. Sergio's Restaurant
Combining traditional Cuban food with modern American touches, Sergio’s has created a niche for itself in the community. On the menu, patrons will find the expected breakfast dishes, sandwiches, appetizers, entrees, and desserts including the La Flaca (skinny girl) menu for those who want to sacrifice calories but not flavor. Sergio’s currently has seven locations throughout South Florida from Pembroke Pines to West Kendall.
10. Islas Canarias Restaurant
This Miami staple has been serving Cuban food since 1977, and is best known for its croquetas — but it offers up much more. Tempt the appetite with starters like mariquitas (fried plantain strips) served with garlic mojo or malanga fritters and continue on to mains such as the vaca frita (shredded and flash fried flank steak) or bistec empanizado (breaded beef steak) served with choice of two sides. Make sure to leave room for the buñuelos (rolled, twisted and deep fried root mash). For those with limited time, the neighboring sister café and bakery will have guests in and out in less than an hour.
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11. Finka Table & Tap
Dine on modern Cuban dishes wit Oriental influences at chef Eileen Andrades’ Finka. The adventurous menu features dishes such as the arroz con pollo fritters, Cuban fried rice, Islas Canarias ham croqueta pizza, and the guajiro tray featuring pork chunks, rice, beans and sweet plantains. Compliment the meal with one of its quirky named craft cocktails or selection of local draft and bottled beers.
12. Rio Cristal
With roots from Guines, Cuba, the 40+ year old Cuban restaurant on Bird Road is known for its palomilla steak topped with a mountain of crispy fries, as well as its black beans. Other options include grouper fingers, tasajo (jerked beef), roasted pork, and milanesas (breaded steak or chicken with tomato sauce and melted cheese). Dessert selections include traditional flans, dulces con queso (preserves with cream cheese) and guava shells.
13. Havana Harry's
Since opening in 1995, Havana Harry’s offers Cuban food with contemporary flair. Enjoy all meals here from breakfast to dinner with daily specials. Feast on a variety of stuffed tostones, sandwiches, and mains, as well as Harry’s combination entrees like the Havana trio featuring churrasco, lobster, and shrimp. If there’s still room, order one of its over the top desserts like the tres leches overload.
Coconut Grove’s newcomer in the Cuban food game is featuring some old-school classics and updated classics. Menu highlights include Chug’s breakfast with Cuban favorite white rice and fried eggs, the duck media noche, the Big Phil frita (Cuban Burger) with bacon, barbecue sauce, and fried onions, and abuela’s plates served with white rice, black beans, bananas, and choice of protein like rabo encendido (oxtail).
15. La Carreta Restaurant
This old school restaurant is easily recognizable with its giant, wooden wheel signature decor. With the original restaurant on Calle Ocho, La Carreta has expanded with nine locations throughout South Florida, including Miami International Airport for those who need that Cuban food fix before leaving Miami.