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Café La Trova
Photograph: Courtesy Café La Trova

The best Cuban restaurants in Miami

Get your fill of croquetas, media noches, cafecito and more at the best Cuban restaurants in Miami

Virginia Gil
Written by
Virginia Gil
&
Ryan Pfeffer
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If we had a dollar for every time someone asked us where to find the best Cuban restaurant in Miami, we might be somewhere off on our own private island instead of working here. We get the question a lot, along with who makes Miami’s best Cuban sandwich and where to find the best club in South Beach. Basically, the first thing people think about as soon as their plane lands at MIA International is where to go for Cuban food and where to find the best party. We get it. It’s like the tourists in Chicago going in search of the greatest deep-dish pizza. We’ve been there and we want to help. Below, the top Cuban restaurants in Miami whether you’re here visiting or a local craving Abuela-approved eats. 

Best of the city under one roof

  • Restaurants
  • South Beach
  • price 2 of 4

There’s Cuban food and then there’s Miami-made Cuban food, which is what you’ll find at the Local Cuban inside Time Out Market. Chef Alberto Cabrera challenges our perceptions of what traditional Cuban cuisine should be, wowing us with innovation and ingenuity at every bite. Try his fresh take on arroz imperial and crave-worthy crispy pork belly, plus Cabrera’s crave-worthy media noche croquetas. These poppable spheres are served with a mustard dipping sauce and are bursting with flavor.

Best Cuban restaurants in Miami

  • Restaurants
  • Cuban
  • Tamiami
  • price 2 of 4

Raining, on holidays, at rush hour—there isn’t a day or time when this family-owned restaurant isn’t slammed. The reason: food is inexpensive, the dining room inviting and the service authentically Latin—warm, welcoming and at times even affectionate. So, why should you venture west to Islas Canarias? One word: croquetas. Its mouthwatering ham croquettes have a huge local following—us included. Bring us a few, will ya?

  • Restaurants
  • Cuban
  • Midtown
  • price 1 of 4

This small sandwich shop has outlasted Wynwood’s condo boom and continues to be where working stiffs and Wynwood hipsters commiserate over straightforward Cuban fare, cafecito and fresh juices. Service is fast and friendly; speaking Spanish is a huge plus here. We ranked Enriqueta’s Cubano as one of the best in Miami, but you shouldn’t take our word for it. Go for a taste of the inexpensive sandwich, featuring buttery Cuban bread, roasted pork slices, ham and holey cheese.

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  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • East Little Havana
  • price 2 of 4

Little Havana’s thriving hotspot, where great cocktails, food and live music collide for one of the more lively Cuban eating experiences in Miami. Two awesome Miami minds combined for this: Michelle Bernstein on food and Julio Cabrera on drinks. These two have produced precisely the sort of concept Calle Ocho deserves—and one hell of a croqueta selection. Few places offer such a quality Cuban trifecta: awesome Cuban food, great tropical cocktails and live authentic Cuban music.

  • Restaurants
  • Cuban
  • Flagami
  • price 2 of 4

Find this family-owned restaurant tucked away at a nondescript strip mall on Flagler Street. With more than four decades in the biz, you can trust its namesake steaks, Cubanos, crispy plantains and other Cuban standards are solid. Now with the second-generation owner Alex Rodriguez at the helm, the once classic spot features a sizeable craft beer selection and a number of fresh, highly Instagrammable appetizers like the ropa vieja croquetas.

  

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  • Restaurants
  • Cuban
  • West Little Havana
  • price 2 of 4

The self-proclaimed most famous Cuban restaurant in the world lives up to the hype—even if its ornate, mirrored dining room seems at odds with the casual menu. Up for grabs is every dish to ever be cataloged as Cuban, plus a handful of salads for the health-conscious. The crowd is a mixed bag of camera-happy tourists, aging patrons from the neighborhood who treat Versailles as their commissary, and multigenerational Cuban families, all of whom make for fantastic people watching.

  • Restaurants
  • Cuban
  • Miami
  • price 2 of 4

One of the few Cuban restaurants in Miami that people still get dressed up for, Havana Harry is at once polished and rustic with lots of wood accents and cozy nooks that are perfect for celebrations, which you’ll see lots of on the weekends. It’s perennially busy for a reason: Harry’s serves extra-large portions of tasty Cuban eats at affordable prices. Simple as that.

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  • Restaurants
  • Cuban
  • Little Gables
  • price 2 of 4

This Coral Gables gem belongs to a small chain of Cuban restaurants owned and operated by the Vilariño family since the early 1980s. Its name means small house in Spanish and that’s just the feeling you get when you walk in—like you’re dining in someone’s home. With that, expect Abuela-sized portions: steaks the size of your head, garlicky yuca and more seafood options than what you’d find at other Cuban restaurants. The menu is large and suitable for a range of palates, so you won’t get any complaints from the picky eaters in your party.

  • Restaurants
  • Cuban
  • Flagami
  • price 2 of 4

Talk about nostalgia. Find this old-school Cuban restaurant in Flagami’s neighborhood, featuring a menu, design and crowd that hasn’t changed much since it opened in the late ’60s. It’s still the place for two-mojito lunches and fancy celebrations. La Rosa harkens back to a pre-Castro era when hospitality, white-table clothing dining and live music were the norm.

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  • Restaurants
  • Cuban
  • Coral Way
  • price 2 of 4

With outposts at more than two-dozen locations across South Florida, Sergio’s has the Cuban food market locked down. The casual spot caters to a new generation of Miamians that favors a more Americanized or Latin-inspired take on Cuban cuisine. Watching your waistline? Sergio’s La Flaca menu of low-calorie eats is a gift to any healthy eater with taste buds—think tasty, wholesome swaps like cauliflower rice, turkey picadillo and whole wheat grains.

 

  • Restaurants
  • West Little Havana
  • price 2 of 4

The city’s staple Cuban restaurant has locations across town, each one featuring a small counter, a rotating dessert display and a buzzy coffee window that doles out strong cafecito and flaky pastelitos. It’s certainly not award-winning Cuban food, but La Carreta’s small chain of restaurants are consistent in quality, service and flavors. They also make a mean club sandwich, which comes in their signature size—super-size.

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  • Restaurants
  • Cuban
  • Olympia Heights

If Little Havana is for tourists, the Bird Road area, where this Cuban diner is located, is strictly for locals. And that’s just who you’ll find here, tucking into extra-large portions of rice, black beans and more Cuban comfort food. Rio Cristal is known for its palomilla steak covered in a mountain of french fries, so get that. You won’t finish it, and you may not even like it, but you’ll avoid a serious case of food FOMO.

  • Restaurants
  • Cuban
  • Flagami
  • price 1 of 4

This no-frills Cuban restaurant in West Miami is known more for its coffee window and take-out hot chocolate than its Cuban food, which is actually decent. People line up here as soon as the temperature dips below 60 degrees. The reason for the crowds? La Palma’s thick hot chocolate and churros, neither of which do much to keep you warm but do taste delicious.

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Almost certainly always teeming with tourists, Puerto Sagua is about the only place to get your Cuban fix in South Beach. It’s held court on the same corner of Collins Avenue since the 1960s, serving Latin standards for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Grab a Cubano to enjoy on the sand (Puerto Sagua is two blocks from the beach) or look around at what everyone else is having and point—you can bet whatever’s on the table will satisfy the urge for Cuban food in Miami.

Are you on the hunt for the perfect Cuban sandwich?

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