Best Little Havana restaurants
If you are ready, both emotionally and physically, for one hell of a dining experience Lung Yai is your place. This hidden Little Havana gem is run by Chef Bas, who can be equal parts intimidating and insanely hospitable. With the chef's help, Lung Yai serves up some of the city’s best Thai food. Period. And it’s open on weekends until 2am. There are some rules to follow. You are to wait patiently for a table after signing your name on a list outside the door. Don’t loiter in the restaurant or waltz up to the bar to order a beer. But once you are seated, just go crazy. Everything is delicious.
Everything you need to know about visiting Versailles in Little Havana (3501 SW 8th St, Miami FL 33135). 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 ever cataloged as Cuban. The Little Havana institution is also the unofficial meeting place for the city’s Cuban community during times of political unrest. What to order Cuban food is, in a word, delicious. It’s usually hearty and filling and—more often than not—has something to do with pork or chicken. The Ropa Vieja is a classic dish of shredded beef cooked in garlic, onions, bell peppers, wine and tomato sauce. It, like many of the entrees, comes with a side of white rice, beans and sweet plantains. Cuba has a rich tradition of fishing as well, so the seafood portion of the menu takes up some decent real estate. If you’re feeling luxurious, go for the paella, a seafood and rice medley that requires a two person minimum and 45 minutes to order. The famous Cubano sandwich We’ll say it loud and proud: no one does sandwiches better than Cubans. They have perfected the toasty ratio of bread, meat and cheese. And the most iconic sandwich on the menu is easily the Cuban. In fact, the Cubano might be the most popular thing on the entire menu. The original (there’s a special version that’s slightly larger) meets all the basic requirements: toasted, filled with the right ingredien
Lobster poppers, fish fingers, popcorn shrimp—if it's found in the ocean, you'll find it fried on La Camaronera's menu. This neighborhood fish shack evolved from a counter service eatery (might we add one without chairs) into a full-blown restaurant that's been featured on Food Network and frequented by foodies near and far. A pan con minuta is what most everyone lines up for: a fried snapper sandwich on a lightly toasted Cuban roll (tail and all!) that clocks in at under $10 and keeps you satiated for hours. You might leave the place smelling like you spent the afternoon on a barge, but it's a small price to pay for some of the freshest seafood in town.
You don't go to Casa Juancho unless you're celebrating something or prepared to spend a lot. The ratio of price to fun is always favorable—with live music almost nightly, boisterous staff, interiors reminiscent of an ancient Spanish castle and delightful tableside presentations, you're guaranteed to have a good timed. The wine selection is stellar and boasts more than 450 Iberian varieties, including several vintages. Tapas, such as jamón serrano and croquetas, are suggested to start but diners should save room for Casa Juancho's award-winning seafood paella.
Azucar owner Suzy Batlle takes the best flavor combinations from her childhood and churns them into delicious “Cuban” ice cream, including the wildly popular Abuela Maria—vanilla ice cream, Maria crackers, guava and cream cheese. The dairy queen can often be found concocting new flavors from local ingredients, such as her recent creation with Knaus Berry Farm cinnamon buns soaked in bourbon.
If you thought a burger couldn’t get any better, then you’ve never tried a Cuban burger: known as fritas, they consist of a juicy patty loaded with sweet sauteed onions and then piled with thin, super-crispy shoestring fries—all sandwiched into a fluffy Cuban roll. El Rey de Las Fritas is a Miami institution with three brick-and-mortar locations, plus this roving truck.
Little Havana’s shiny new seafood shack will make you crave bivalves the next time you’re in the ’hood. The Miami-style New England–inspired eatery (got that?) offers six varieties of East, West and Gulf Coast oysters daily. From Prince Edward Island’s Cooke’s Cove Malpeque to Florida’s Apalachicola Bay, the day’s selection is written on the chalkboard menu. Plus, Ella’s raw bar is stocked with seasonal favorites like stone crab claws, local fish ceviche and a tostada starter.
There’s a reason why the bare-bones dining room of this Little Havana restaurant is always packed—the food. The heaping portions of delicious Mexican food served here are not just a bargain (you can easily feed a family of four for $20) but they’re also really tasty. The chorizo queso fundido, which comes bubbling to your table, is a cheesy, meet-filled dream of a starter. It should be noted that the nachos version of this dish is lighter, equally outstanding alternative. Mains are generous and recommended for sharing, especially the sizzling fajitas (chicken, steak, etc.) that you wrap yourself and the salad—which packs enough romaine to fill a garden. There’s a small altar near the entrance that’s dedicated to La Virgen de Guadalupe, to whom we pray for the bounty Mi Rinconcito bestows on all its hungry diners.
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 sugarcane juice. Though most of the ordering happens at the walk-up coffee window, serving up flaky pastelitosand espressos until the wee hours.
When you spend years creating gourmet dishes that can be easily eaten in the dark, you learn a thing or two about what makes a good handheld meal. Enter Justin Sherrer, Doce Provisions’ chef and co-owner, who spent nearly a decade as executive chef of Cinebistros across the country. These days you’ll find him and girlfriend/co-owner Lisetty Llampalla at their Little Havana restaurant, slinging Latin-style sandwiches inspired by current culinary trends—locally sourced ingredients, Asian preparations, gastropub-influenced. The sandwich portion of the menu, dubbed “Pan y Tostada,” which is Spanish for bread and toasts, features some names you might recognize but made with ingredients you wouldn’t necessarily expect. There’s a Cubano stuffed with Italian soppressata in addition to traditional pork loin and a steak sandwich (pan con bistec) smothered in truffle cheese and shallot marmalade.
Find more restaurants to add to your bucket list
When you’re in the mood for comfort food, no matter what part of town you’re in