Cuban cuisine is widely popular in Miami which works in my favor since I LOVE Latin food. Prior to heading to Miami, I found that Florida has it's own cuisine known as Floribbean which has a significant amount of Latin influence. Unfortunately I wasn't able to find or dine at any Floribbean restaurants, perhaps next time.
Having dined in quite a few Cuban restaurants in Manhattan, I found the cost of Cuban food in South Beach to be a little more expensive than Manhattan, roughly each dish was a couple dollars more. Although the Cuban restaurants offered authentic food, the ambience didn't measure up to the Cuban restaurants in Manhattan, hence why I was surprised they were slightly more expensive. Additionally, they added an 18% to 20% tip on every bill, even at the normal restaurants, even if I wasn't with a group of people. Well, it's safe to say that South Beach is more expensive than Manhattan, at least in terms of dining out.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the food in Miami, it's just one of those places where you really can't go wrong with the food if you do some research ahead of time. Everything was so full of flavor, so authentic, and it's no surprise there is an annual SoBe Food and Wine Festival which I would absolutely love to attend someday. To share with you are a few places I enjoyed for brunch and lunch.
1. Puerto Sagua (lunch)
Authentic and delicious Cuban food on Collins Ave, the black beans and tostones with that mojo garlic sauce were to die for. Café con Leche is a cup of heaven! A must-do!
We started with complimentary bread and a pitcher of Sangria.
Enchilado de Camarones (top) – My dish… shrimp enchilado Cuban style. The sauce was so flavorsome, superb dish. My dish came with a side of tostones and a mojo garlic sauce, so well seasoned and loaded with flavor… the tostones were the highlight of my meal.
Filete de Pollo Salteado (bottom) – Hubby’s dish… sauteed chicken filet with peppers and onions, I loved my hubby’s dish, but he just liked it. The black beans were fantastic.
Tortilla de Papas O Platanos (right) – A plantain omelette that my vegetarian friend ordered. It was a combo of sweet and savory, but personally I didn’t like this dish.
Tilapia a la Planche (left) – Grilled tilapia with a side of salad. My friend’s hub ordered this dish, I really liked his tilapia, but a side of black beans would have helped since there is no gravy.
Of course, no Cuban meal is complete with a cup of Café con Leche… I love that we can control the amount of café (coffee) we add to the leche (milk). The best café con leche... mild, creamy, and frothy.
LOCATION: 700 Collins Ave @ 7th Street, Miami Beach, FL.
MENU: Puerto Sagua menu
VERDICT: 4.5 / 5
Puerto Sagua has delicious and authentic Cuban food, and it is a must-do when visiting Miami Beach. The standouts here are the black beans and tostones, both are out of this world. Also, both the shrimp and chicken dishes are fabulous, and while the tilapia was good, it is grilled and didn't quite go with the rice. Generally speaking, when dining at Cuban joints, order dishes that come with sides, and stick to items with gravies, you just won’t go wrong. If you eat beef, you must order the Ropa Vieja which is their #1 dish. Unfortunately, Puerto Sagua doesn’t cater to vegetarians much, but if you are okay eating delicious vegetarian sides, definitely dine here. This was my favorite Cuban place in Miami Beach!
Food: Excellent | Drinks: Excellent | Décor: Average | Service: Excellent | Value: Good
2. Burger & Beer Joint (lunch)
A burger and beer joint with good wings and big portions. Slightly off the beaten path, hence it's a good place to check out if you have time.
My husband started with a beer, and we both shared the Octane Buffalo Chicken Wings. The wings were very good, but I didn’t care for the Blue Cheese dressing here, the wings paired better with the Ranch dressing.
Between the 2 of us, we split a chicken burger (only half displayed) since they are so huge… The Rooster… chicken burger with turkey bacon, jalapeno jack, beer battered onion ring all on a sesame bun. This came with a side of bourbon bbq sauce, skinny fries, and lettuce, tomato & red onion. The chicken burger was tender, juicy, and meaty, and I could tell it was freshly made, it wasn’t just a patty out of the freezer. Really good!
LOCATION: 1766 Bay Rd., Miami Beach, FL.
MENU: Burger & Beer Joint menu
VERDICT: 4 / 5
B&B is a Travellers Choice 2012 Winner on TripAdvisor and my husband loves his burger and fries, hence why I decided to check out this all American joint. B&B offers a variety of beer from countries all over the world, in addition to a wide range of burgers, including build your own burger. Specifically speaking, I would have loved to try the Portobello Mushroom burger, but since my husband hates mushrooms and I wanted to share, I had to pass on this. An appetizer and a burger is more than enough for 2 people, this is definitely a sharing type of place. Overall, I really liked this restaurant, but I don’t think it’s worth the trek all the way up to Bay Road unless you are a local, staying close by, or in Miami Beach for a week or so.
Food: Good | Drinks: Good | Décor: Good | Service: Excellent | Value: Excellent
3. Yardbird Southern Table & Bar (brunch)
All American Southern cuisine, the kind of food your Grandma would make. The Mac & Cheese here is outstanding and worth every artery clogging bite, you may die, but you’ll die happy!
My friend, Anu, and I started with a Strawberry Lemonade. It was most definitely made with fresh strawberries, but painfully sweet. Our group of 4 also split the warm and buttery Buttermilk Biscuits served with a side of jam. So mouthwatering and delicious. YUM!
Both Anu and I ordered a Mac & Cheese as our main. Although the portion looks small, it was extremely filling given that it was made with butter, cream, cheese, and then topped with crunchy bread crumbs… it really doesn’t get any better than that. Outstanding!!!
My husband and Anu’s husband split the Llewellyn’s Fine Fried Chicken that can be shared between 2 people. A 1/2 free range bird, a “27 hour” recipe served with sweet & spicy Tabasco sauce. Considering this was supposedly a “27 hour” recipe, I’m not quite sure why it didn't measure up. The chicken could have been seasoned better, and I didn’t like the Tabasco sauce on the side which was sweet & spicy, I would have much rather preferred a spicy & tangy sauce with the chicken. Bummer!
LOCATION: 1600 Lenox Ave, Miami Beach, FL.
MENU: Yardbird Southern Table & Bar menu
VERDICT: 4 / 5
My blogger friend, Parita (myInnerShakti) recommended Yardbird to me, in addition to the fact this place has rave reviews on Yelp. Being a lover of fried chicken and mac and cheese, I couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to try good ol’ Southern Comfort food. Despite the chicken being a letdown, the mac and cheese and buttermilk biscuits were both outstanding, not to mention everyone else’s dish at the restaurant looked so good. Yardbird is so close to Lincoln Road, hence after a 1000 calorie meal, stroll east on Lincoln towards the beach and burn those calories off ~ my jokes are lame, I know!
Food: Good | Drinks: Average| Décor: Very Good | Service: Excellent | Value: Good
4. Havana 1957 (lunch)
A fun, charming, and lively restaurant with so much character, and my hubby’s favorite restaurant on the entire trip. Fantastic Cuban food, I'm still dreaming about those maduros.
My husband ordered the White Sangria which was so light, fruity, and refreshing. Loved that it was served in a Mason Jar – so cute. Here I am posing with his sangria.
Complimentary plantain chips (left).
And I ordered a side of tostones (right)… I felt they weren’t seasoned well enough, and the sauce tasted very olive oily rather than buttery & garlicky. Big letdown!
Again, I ordered the Enchilado de Camarones, shrimp in criolla sauce, onions, and peppers served with rice and maduros (sweet plantains). Everything was delicious, especially the madruos, however I felt the shrimp dish tasted a teeny bit better at Puerto Sagua (mentioned above).
My husband ordered the Fricase de Pollo, chicken pieces marinated in citrus juice, garlic cloves, onions, and bell peppers all cooked in a delicious criolla sauce, raisins, and green olives. This dish was also served with rice and maduros (sweet plantains). He loved and devoured his dish and said it tasted like “Chicken Curry,”… SIGH… why does everything taste Indian to him? He amuses me at times.
We ended our meal with Tres Leches which tasted like Coconut Tres Leches – phenomenal.
I ordered a Café con Leche with condensed milk… it was way too sweet and strong for me, next time I’ll have to try it with Evaporated Milk instead.
LOCATION: 405 Espanola Way, Miami Beach, FL.
MENU: Havana 1957 menu
VERDICT: 4 / 5
Havana 1957 was my husband’s favorite restaurant on the entire trip, and our last meal in Miami Beach, and thus I’m glad he at least enjoyed one meal from start to finish. He loved the similarity between his chicken dish and an Indian chicken curry dish. I enjoyed my meal here, however I believe the food at Puerto Sagua is just slightly better. The tostones at Havana 1957 were a huge letdown, especially the olive oil sauce, so not what I expected. Having said that, the rest of the items… sangria, maduros, shrimp, and chicken were very good! Also, there are 2 locations of Havana 1957 in Miami Beach, the reviews for the Espanola Way location exceeded the other which is on Lincoln Road.
Food: Very Good | Drinks: Excellent | Décor: Very Good | Service: Excellent | Value: Good
Other Dining Recommendations:
Larios on the Beach - Cuban
David's Cafe - Cuban
Cafe Charlotte & Charlotte Bakery - Argentine, Italian & Bakery
Otentic - French Crepes
TELL ME: Have you been to Miami Beach? What are some of your favorite brunch/lunch places?