If you find yourself on South Beach, there's no doubt you'll stumble upon a Havana 1957 location. In fact, the local chain of Cuban cuisine has four spots in the neighborhood alone (with an additional one in Pembroke Pines). It's a testament to just how popular the restaurant has been with locals and tourists alike over the years. Diners will be transported to the opulence of 1950s Havana upon stepping in, and then welcomed to enjoy a wide variety of dishes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and of course, dessert. Tostones rellenos, vaca frita de pollo, pan con bistec, and flan are all part of the deliciously indulgent menu. Drop in for a meal, a show (yes, plenty of live enertainment here), or a drink (because full bar)–"you won't be sorry you did.
Recommended for Cuban because: With an ambiance that invokes the nostalgia of 1950s Havana, plus good eats and drinks morning, noon, and night, SoBe (and you) will love it.
Priscilla's expert tip: Drop by on Friday evenings for live entertainment plus free salsa lessons in the courtyard!
Part restaurant, part social club, Kuba Cabana is a lively new hotspot that's becoming a favorite among locals. Part of impressive entrepreneur Dieuveny "DJ" Jean Louis's UMG Hospitality Group, you'll find delicious eats like a guava-smoked pollo barbacoa, traditional sides and sweets like congri and arroz con leche, and even your favorite croquettas–"all with an ambiance that's unmatched on this side of the Palmetto. The concept itself is Old Cuba meets Modern Miami and does not dissapoint. If you make it for brunch, don't skip out on trying the Benedict Toston (complete with roasted pork and a mojo emulsion). Or if you're looking for a date night option, you'll impress with the Kuba Cocktails & Cabaret dinner show, complete wih three-course meal, open bar, plus live band, burlesque, and more.
Recommended for Cuban because: This classy joint is primed for your social posts, but a Monday thru Friday happy hour plus solid brunch put it over the top.
Priscilla's expert tip: Impress your next date on the last Thursday of every month and bring them here for an open bar cocktail hour, 3 course dinner, plus live entertainment (including burlesque and more) for a fun and sexy evening you won't forget.
Located inside the Time Out Market Miami, this delightful Cuban eatery always hits the spot thanks to dishes like the Imperial rice (with smoked gouda and maduros), the pan con lechon, and of course, el cafecito (which you can order both traditional or iced for those endlessly hot nights in the 305). It's no surprise folks love noshing at this joint: behind the menu is none other than executive chef of Bread + Butter, Alberto Cabrera. Because of the hustle and bustle atmosphere of the marketplace, you'll probably want to keep it in mind less for a date night and more for a fun lunch spot or a quick bite before hitting the night on the town–"and don't forget to pick up some of those media noche croquetas to go for the afterparty.
Recommended for Cuban because: Innovative twists on Cuban classics put this food hall spot on our radar and hopefully yours as well.
Priscilla's expert tip: Keep this spot in mind when you're in the mood for Cuban but others are feeling indecisive. Situated inside a food hall, there's sure to be something for everyone (and they might still be swayed by a croqueta or two!)
While the rather mundane decor probably doesn't earn this neighborhood treasure a second glance from most tourists, locals know that the kitchen at Little Havana serves up some of the most delicious and reasonably priced eats around. Traditional Cuban fare is the specialty, and menu favorites include the likes of fried pork chunks, lamb, chicken croquettes, and lobster – all of them served with healthy portions of black beans and rice, plantains, and yucca on the side. Of course, a perfect accompaniment to any meal here is their potently famous sangria, which can always put you in that Havana frame of mind. Reservations are not accepted, so it's best to arrive early if you don't want to wait for a table.
Recommended for Cuban because: Located in the heart of Little Havana, this long-beloved staple features incredibly inexpensive Cuban food at the highest quality. Lechón never tasted so good.
Priscilla's expert tip: Vegetarians will be please to finally find a Cuban menu that includes well-labeled options just for them.
The decor may be French, but the name is pronounced Ver-say-ez, Spanish style. And Versailles's cooking is Cuban all the way. Patrons swoon over deliciously authentic food and the dining room's opulence, complete with candelabras, gilt-framed mirrors and tuxedo-clad waiters. Still, everything's not as upscale as it sounds â" the vibe is relaxed and dishes are happily affordable. Ropa vieja, made with zesty shredded beef, is a fine introduction to the bold cuisine, and arroz con pollo may forever change your opinion of chicken and rice. Keep in mind that the restaurant stays open until very late, until 2 a.m. on weekdays and 3:30 and 4 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights respectively, making it the Jersey diner of Little Havana. Want to know what's going on politically in the exilio community? Grab a cafe Cubano, a guava pastellito and have a seat, then keep both ears open.
Recommended for Cuban because: Versailles is Miami's most well-known spot for Cuban food, offering savory and traditional meals nearly 24 hours a day. Everyone should try 'em out.
Priscilla's expert tip: When you want to know what's going on politically in the exilio community, as well as find yourself a traditional plate of ropa vieja or even just a shot of cafe Cubano, head to this revered Cuban palace.
Since opening in 1977, El Palacio De Los Jugos has embodied Latin American Miami in its most authentic form. It's not fancy, doesn't have a dress code, and everyone is welcome--so long as they enjoy delicious food and won't ask for a copy of their "nutrition facts". The name of this popular eatery translates to "the juice palace" as it serves freshly made, exotic juices in mass volumes. El Palacio also cooks down-home Latin fare; generous, juicy pork sandwiches and classic Cuban rice and bean variations fill the outdoor air with enticing aromas. After ordering, purchase tropical produce or sip cooling coconut water, chopped on-site by a man with his machete.
Recommended for Cuban because: El Palacio will always be our local secret for inexpensive but top-notch Cuban cuisine. They have several locations, all of which are consistently amazing.
Priscilla's expert tip: If you're unsure of where to begin at this place, relax. Start by ordering one of their fresh-squeezed juices and the rest will make sense once you start a-sippin.
Who can resist the allure of a scrumptious paselito? Or of perfectly warmed croquettas? Or even the magical power of the perfect cortadito? You'll find these (and more) at CAO Bakery–"a Miami-based chain that's home to all your favorite Cuban staples. For breakfastt, they've got you set with a traditional eggs, ham or bacon, and fries, served with a tostada (not the Mexican dish, but rather a piece of toasted and flattened buttery cuban bread) and cafe con leche. Or you can go a little extra and try the Cuban Benedict (with a sazon hollandaise and served on cuban bread)–"indulgenet but hey, you only live once! For lunch, opt for La Frita (made with pork, chorizo, shoestrings papitas, sazon aioli on potato bread) or their award-winning Medio Dia (a twist on the traditional Media Noche you won't soon forget). If you're just popping in for some sweets, make sure to also grab a couple snacks like the arroz con pollo bites or bacon maduros. Need we say more? CAO is bringing traditional Cuban goodies and new spins on old favorites to the masses. Here's hoping they expand outside the 305 so more folks can enjoy these delights soon!
Recommended for Cuban because: Comfort food in the way of Fritas, empanadas, and a wide array of finger-licking pastelitos make Cao one to keep on your food delivery faves.
Priscilla's expert tip: While Cuban cuisine isn't always seen as health-conscious, you'll be pleased to find more nutritious options like an egg-white omelet and an array of salads that can include grilled chicken.
Since 1977, Raul and Amelia Garcia, along with their two children, Nancy and Santiago, have been dishing up home-style Cuban goodness for their customers. Today, Spanish and Cuban favorites from the island, including oxtail in wine sauce and tamal en cazuela, are offered in a casual ambiance at this family-friendly eatery. Always packed with local devotees and travelers seeking an authentic Latin dining experience, this is a great choice for a crowd or if you are eating late in the evening. The food is comforting, with large portions and a variety that includes moist and tender top sirloin, spiced generously and served with their addictive papas fritas, or french fries. A second restaurant, Islas Canarias Cafe Restaurant and Bakery on SW 137th Avenue, takes these Cuban roots and updates them for a community that longs for green salads, modern grilled dishes, pasta, an extensive wine list and plenty of sweets.
Recommended for Cuban because: Islas Canarias is unpretentious, family-friendly and full of comfort foods which is usually what you're looking for when in search of Cuban fare.
Priscilla's expert tip: Make sure to visit all their locations as the menus vary (always good food, just different dishes at each place).
Miami has more classic Cuban dining establishments than you can shake a stick at, but what we also have is an array of modern takes on our old favorites. Chug's, opened just earlier in 2019, is one of those places. This Cuban diner has plenty of comfort food platters to keep the locals coming back, with plenty of twists to bring in curious tourists. Run by Chef Michael Beltran, this Grove spot features the quintessential Abuela's breakfast–"named as such and composed of rice and beans plus fried eggs and maduros–"plus delectable delights like the medianoche (made with duck) and a wide array of pastelitos. It's basically got everything you need out of a Cuban dining establishment but turned up to 11.
Recommended for Cuban because: Chug's raises the bar for Miami's diners with Cuban fare that takes into account the adventurous tastes of Miami's younger foodies without upsetting abuelita.
Priscilla's expert tip: Chug's is a Cuban eatery brought into the 21st century. That is, they have all the favorites you grew up with, with the added bonus of craft beer and regular events like domino competitions and pastelito eating contests to keep the millennial crowd coming back. Stay on top of their events by following their social pages.
No-frills Puerto Sagua is a long-standing institution in South Beach, where restaurants come and go with frequency. This one has continued to please the fickle masses with traditional Cuban comfort food and decor that is fuss-free, with the exception of its awesome murals of Cuba street life. Native Cubans and South Beach residents who miss the days when the Beach was home to dozens of counters and cafeterias savor authentic shrimp in garlic sauce, fried plantains and grilled Cuban sandwiches stuffed with ham, pork and cheese. Late hours also make Puerto Sagua a perfect stop-off after a show or a night of club-hopping, when a medianoche or Cuban sandwich is the perfect antidote to too many cocktails.
Recommended for Cuban because: Puerto Sagua is known for its laid back service and delicious, traditional Cuban comfort food. Its colorful murals of Cuba add to the ambiance.
Priscilla's expert tip: Don't come here expecting to get some laptop work done while you enjoy your Lechon. No wifi service, but that's because they want you to relax and focus on their amazing food.