Best Cuban Food in Miami
Maybe that title is a little misleading. Is it really possible to define the best Cuban food in Miami when there are so many delicious options available?
Actually, it is. The best Cuban food I ate in Miami was at my friend Eddie’s house for his birthday. His mother made the most flavorful masas de puerco fritas that I’ve ever tasted. The pork chunks weren’t dried out like they tend to be from an inexperienced Cuban chef. Instead, they were juicy and bursting with the many flavors of the mojo marinade. Once my fork broke through the crisp outer layer, the meat shredded onto my plate.
Unfortunately for you, Eddie’s mom’s kitchen is not open to the public so I won’t tease you with details about the freshness of the fried plantains or the yucca that has become my benchmark for all other yucca. There are plenty of options when it comes to finding the best Cuban food in Miami. Here are a few of my favorites as a former resident of Miami for the next time you book a hotel in Miami.
Calle Ocho, Miami’s Little Havana, is still the center of the Magic City’s vibrant Cuban community. Calle Ocho is quite long as it stretches from 27th Avenue all the way downtown to 4th Avenue. Don’t be intimidated by it’s length. Little Havana is definitely worth a morning of afternoon exploring it’s many flavors. There’s also plenty of shops and cultural landmarks along the way, but this post just focuses on the food.
Get yourself acclimated by stopping at Pinareños Frutería which will transport you to a farmers market in Cuba. Pick up some hydration for the rest of your tour with a chilled coconut water or guarapo (sugar cane juice). Pinareños Frutería also serves coffee, but I suggest stopping at one of Calle Ocho’s many coffee counters like El Pub for a café con leche. Most are open air offering a unique Miami experience.
For food on Calle Ocho, I recommend going against the grain and trying something other than the tried and true Versailles where you and hundreds of other tourists will be waiting for a table. An alternative is Exquisito Restaurant for masas de puerco fritas almost as good as those mentioned above. Go even deeper and book a Little Havana Food Tour for more of Miami’s many tastes of Cuba.
Away from Calle Ocho
Plenty of good Cuban food can be found in other parts of Miami. My two personal favorites are Havana Harry’s in Coral Gables near the University of Miami and Havana 1957 which has four locations throughout Miami (my preference is to the Espanola Way location). At Havana Harry’s you’ll feel like you’re dining in a local home as families from throughout the area frequent the restaurant for dinner. Havana 1957 boasts a lengthy rum list to help get you ready for some Latin dancing after dinner.
Of course, I can’t leave out South Beach. Puerto Sagua is your stop for Cuban food on South Beach’s Collins Avenue. Added bonus – Puerto Sagua stays open late for after club munching.
This guide is just a start to the best Cuban food in Miami. Keep your eyes open for other options. My rule of food travel is to look for places with a crowd of locals. Where there’s smoke, there’s good cooking!
Planning a trip to Miami?