The best Cuban food in Miami

Sample the edible delights of Florida’s closest culinary neighbor with our guide to the best restaurants for Cuban food in Miami

© Kobako

When it comes to authentic Cuban food in Miami—and its Little Havana neighborhood—these restaurants are the real deal. The city’s large Cuban population has made Miami a mecca of Cuban dining, with local spots like Puerto Sagua serving up regional favorites (think paella and ham croquettes), and higher-end restaurants such as Ola offering inventive new spins on traditional Cuban fare.

Puerto Sagua

Critics' pick

The best place for breakfast on Collins is this trad (as in authentically old, rather than retro) Cuban diner. Choose from a long list of set combinations, many of which give change from six bucks. Later in the day, an entertaining mix of old-time Cubanos, hip-hop kids and beach bums drop by for paella-style chicken and rice, ham croquettes and fried pork chops.

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South Beach

Ola

Back in the 1980s, chef Douglas Rodriguez started the nouveau Cuban craze in Miami and then moved to New York, where he became a huge star. After returning to Miami, he opened Ola. The trendy minimalist decor feels dated, but the food is sophisticated and imaginative. Ceviche is a forte: the wahoo with watermelon jalapeño juice and cucumber sorbet is sublime. Dishes such as braised pork with black bean broth and steamed yucca remind smug foodies that Miami, not Manhattan, was first in the nuevo Latino scene. And the deconstructed key lime pie (served with meringue, vanilla bean ice-cream and toasted cinnamon walnut tuile) puts the original in the shade. Be warned: you’ll need to knock back a few mojitos to digest the Manhattan-style bill.

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South Beach

La Carreta

This Cuban chain offers large doses of the usual local nostalgia for Batista-era Cuba. You can’t miss the massive sugarcane plants growing on the front lawn. Expect large portions on the plates and a backroom café for strong Cuban coffee, sweet pastries and strange sugarcane juice.

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Little Havana

Versailles

Almost as famous locally as its palatial namesake is in France, Versailles is a kitschy Cuban diner with wall-to-wall mirrors, a constant buzz and an unabridged menu featuring every dish going. Not to everybody’s taste, but a local legend and definitely worth a visit.

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Little Havana
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