The best Cuban food in Miami

Sample the delights of Florida’s closest culinary neighbor—find out why, with our guide to Miami Cuban restaurants and cafés

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El Clásico at Versailles

El Clásico at Versailles | Powered by Foodspotting.com

Puerto Sagua

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

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.

  1. 700 Collins Avenue, at 7th Street
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Ola

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 3/4

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.

  1. Sanctuary, at 17th Street, (1745 James Avenue)
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La Carreta

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4

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.

  1. 3632 Calle Ocho (SW 8th Street), at SW 36th Avenue
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Versailles

  • Rated as: 3/5
  • Price band: 2/4

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.

  1. 3555 Calle Ocho (SW 8th Street), at SW 35th Avenue
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