For culinary landmarks of the Latin variety head to the best restaurants in Little Havana, Miami. The neighborhood encompassing Calle Ocho and surrounding areas is chock-full of good eats, including Miami’s finest Cubanos, plus more surprising fare like Asian street food and Spanish tapas. But you didn’t trek all the way out there just for food, did you? After dinner, sidle up at one of Miami’s best bars for a cocktail before making your way to one of the ’hood’s Latin music venues to salsa the night (and calories) away.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Little Havana
Best Little Havana restaurants
What is it? A quaint, 25-seat restaurant with an edited menu of classic Cuban sandwiches and made-to-order batidos (Cuban milkshakes, for the uninitiated).
Why go? The best Cubano in Miami resides here. It consists of mostly housemade ingredients—cured ham, pork brined in-house, fresh pickles and artisanal mustard—plus crusty Cuban bread made specifically to Sanguich's specifications.
What is it? Chef Bas’ ode to his native Thailand is a compact restaurant serving above-average curries you will most definitely have to stand in line for to try. But every single one is worth it.
Why go? Part of the shtick here is that you’re only allowed to order once, so make sure the pad see ew with beef and khao soi gai find their way to your table. One’s a noodle dish and the other is a golden curry, and both will blow you away.
What is it? Little Havana's—and we'd argue Miami—most famous ice cream parlor sells all sorts of irresistible, only-in-Miami flavors.
Why go? The Abuela Maria with crumbled Maria crackers and guava and cream cheese, the flan ice cream with heaps of Cuban rum, the Knaus Berry Farm with bourbon-soaked chunks of those hard-to-get-your-hands-on cinnamon rolls... we could wax poetic all day on Suzy Batlle's flavors but we'll let you go and decide for yourself.
What is it? Michelle Bernstein and Julio Cabrera’s just-opened cafe and lounge transports you from Little Havana to old-world Cuba with classic cocktails and elevated small plates and bar snacks.
Why go? The inimitable pairing of Bernstein and Cabrera is nothing short of magic manifested in mouthwatering paella croquetas, the Instagrammable chancleta cocktail and so much more contained in a beautifully evocative space.
What is it? The most famous Cuban restaurant in the world. Really, it says so on the sign.
Why go? If you didn’t try a Cubano at Versailles, were you even in Miami at all. Hardly. The Little Havana institution also has the most famous coffee window in the city, swarming with ex-pats and adorable octogenarians sipping their daily cafecito.
What is it? A kempt Cuban fish shack doling out all sorts of fried items from the sea, from lobster poppers and fish fingers to popcorn shrimp.
Why go? It’s been featured on the Food Network and nearly every person in Miami has tried it and vouch for its greatness: the pan con minuta. Fried snapper on a lightly toasted Cuban roll is the holy grail of fish sandwiches.
What is it? This bilevel gastropub is the place for traditional Venezuelan dishes for the modern palate—think vegan arepas, wine cocktails and other curve balls, like the hangover-curing Miami poutine.
Why go? It’s one of the few decent places grab a craft beer and a bite near Marlins Park. Although, we’d still travel to Little Havana for Edukos’ tequeños no matter the distance.
What is it? One of the city’s main purveyors of juicy Cuban burgers—whose name translates to mean King of the Fritas— reigns supreme in these parts.
Why go? A consistently delicious sandwich made up of a chorizo-beer patty between toasted Cuban bread and topped with shoestring fries. It’s simple yet simply outstanding.
What is it? A neat little fish shack who prefer seafood of the raw, sauced and sauteed variety. Its expansive bar comes alive during weekday happy hour when oysters and crisp white wine are just a few bucks each.
Why go? Dishes like the surf-and-turf frita and the lobster roll on media noche bread are the kind of Miami-style, New-England-inspired specialties you won’t find anywhere else.
What is it? This gritty gastropub decked in graffiti has all the makings of a hip Wynwood restaurant, but you’ll find it deep in Little Havana. Fittingly, its playful menu skews largely on the Cuban side.
Why go? If you’re sick of the same Cubano and rice-and-bean combo, trust Doce to spice things up with Asian flavors. Get your lechón in a bun, your maduros fried in the style of tostones, your croquetas with chorizo and more.