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A sizzling melting pot of cultures, South Florida is a foodie destination where there is no shortage of excellent Cuban restaurants to choose from. Here you’ll be spoiled for choice in finding your favorite Cuban dishes, including Cuban sandwiches, lechon asado, ham croquetas and cafecito, and no trip to this area is complete without a sampling of its culinary offerings. While it’s tough to narrow it down to just a few, here are some of the best Cuban restaurants in South Florida.
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A culinary landmark in Florida, Versailles is a Cuban diner in Little Havana that has been delighting visitors with its delicious cuisine since 1971. With golden chandeliers and mirrors, this restaurant serves up an extensive menu of classic Cuban cuisine. Nosh on ham croquetas, Medianoche sandwiches, Cuban coffee, and heaping portions of rice and black beans, or visit the outdoor takeaway window and grab your morning guava pastries and Cafe Cubano.
A small restaurant in Wynwood, Enriqueta’s Sandwich Shop is a Cuban cafeteria-style eatery with plenty of classic staples. From tostadas (buttered Cuban toast) and empanadas to media noches and pan con lechon sandwiches, wash down your hearty meal with a papaya batido (milkshake) or side of fries. The Cubano sandwich is the shop’s highlight, topped with classic items like ham, roast pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, and adding a unique twist with croquettas.
Serving hungry patrons since 1976, El Rey de las Fritas has expanded to three locations throughout Miami. Famous for its fritas Cuban-style burgers, order one of these delicious plates and you’ll find beef, pork and a chorizo patty topped with shoestring fries and stuffed between two buttery slices of Cuban bread. Affordable and delicious, it comes as no surprise why this has been a Miami staple for decades.
A family-owned restaurant in Little Havana, El Exquisito started as a small 16-seat cafeteria. Its popularity continues to grow, now large enough to seat 100. Serving Cuban cuisine since 1974, it is a noteworthy restaurant that has received high praise for its tamales and pork chunk dishes. The menu here is extensive and diverse with something to please any palate, from black bean soup to Cuban steak, fried pork chunks, and bacalao fish stew.
Located in Little Havana, Islas Canarias is considered the place to get crispy ham croquetas filled with bechamel sauce. A small, no-fluff spot with normally a line outside, the food here is inexpensive and the dining room is inviting. Pair your large, deep-fried croquetas with some warm ropa vieja (stewed beef) and flan made with egg yolks and cinnamon syrup for a meal you won’t soon forget.
Boasting a prime Ocean Drive location, Larios on the Beach is owned by celebrities and Miami locals Gloria and Emilio Estefan. An internationally acclaimed restaurant, this upscale restaurant serves award-winning Cuban cuisine and some of the best mojitos in town. Add a stunning view of South Beach’s Ocean Drive and a “Triple C” menu of guilt-free Cuban staples, and you’ll begin to understand why this place is so popular. Order a signature favorite like Lechon and Vaca Frita, or go for the healthy grilled grouper and vegetarian black beans.
It isn’t just a meal at El Tucan, it’s a dinner and a show. Miami’s hottest supper club, here you’ll be immersed into the glitz and glam of 1940’s Havana with a variety of shows on offer, a modern-day cabaret experience in the Brickell neighborhood of Miami. There is a range of musical styles showcased here, from Afro-Latin to emerging DJs and an 11-piece Latin orchestra. If that’s not enough to keep you entertained, there is also flavorful Cuban cuisine from Michelin-pedigreed Jean-Paul Lourdes on the menu.
A great place for late-night dining with 24-hour service on weekends, Sergio’s was first opened in 1976 and has now opened several locations around Miami. Originally a sandwich stand, it has transformed into a go-to place to indulge in Cuban cravings, from Cuban sandwiches to the Paolomilla grilled steak and Cuban-style chicken fajitas. If you’ve got the room for dessert, make sure to sample the Tres Leches that combines pound cake, condensed milk, and whipped cream for a delightful sugar rush.
Serving Cuban cuisine since 1970, La Rosa Restaurant has been a local favorite for years. Using high-quality meats and dishes made to order, you are sure to find consistently good food here. Some of the highlights of the menu include the vaca frita de carne Angus (Angus fried shredded beef), sopa de pollo (chicken soup), and bistec empanizado (breaded steak) in addition to the much-loved paella that is cooked by the owner himself.
A great introduction to Cuban cuisine, Havana Harry’s is in a bright and airy space with a solid crowd every day of the week. You’ll find heaping portions of authentic Cuban delicacies, from vaca frita (fried beef) to masitas de puerco (fried pork chunks) and vaca frita de pollo (fried shredded chicken). They have great breakfast options as well, with tasty ham and cheese empanadas just waiting for you to indulge. The desserts are equally as delicious, as your taste buds will delight at the milkshakes on offer, stacked with ice cream, cookies, chunks of cake, Nutella and dulce de leche.
Even though it has multiple locations throughout South Florida, La Carreta is still a favorite for its consistent Cuban cuisine and “abuela” grandma-style cooking. A classic go-to location for your cafecito and croqueta cravings, the Little Havana location is famous for its colorful rooster statue that sits outside. You’ll find all the classics on their menu, with plenty of specials throughout the week that offer heaping portions on its plates.