Experience Cuban food and culture in Miami

Cuba is just a few hundred miles off shore from Miami and the culture of its people has enriched the city and blessed it with some of the best food you will ever eat. After spending a month in the Miami area, here are the best Cuban restaurants in the city and what to order:

Breakfast at Puerto Sagua, South Beach
This is a family tradition of mine. My grandparents had a place in Miami and every morning on our way to the beach we would stop for breakfast here. For me it is absolutely nostalgic, but returning two decades later thankfully nothing had changed. Not the old school décor or the quality of the food, everything was just how I had left it. What you need to get: café con leche, Cuban bread and grits, some eggs with whatever you like scrambled in.

700 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139

*Street parking only

A frita at El Mago de las Fritas, Little Havana
I stepped in the door and was greeted with a ‘welcome home.’ You can’t feel any more comfortable than that, the service here is like you’re with family. Everything is homemade, what you need to get: a frita! A frita is a Cuban hamburger with shoestring fries, you can get a veggie or chicken variation too. From the crispy bread to the wispy potato strips, the seasoning on the meat the tang of the raw onion, and the special sauce – holy incredible goodness. You’ll need to order two of these. And get a watermelon agua fresca. This is my FIRST stop next time I’m in Miami.

5828 SW 8th St West Miami, FL 33144

*Private parking lot

Lunch or Dinner at El Palacio de los Jugos, Little Havana
The mecca of Cuban food, this is a small franchise with absurdly delicious food. It can be a bit confusing a first because it’s a little market with multiple places to order from. Little English spoken here more of a point and pay. Roasted chicken melted off the bone, pulled pork was like nothing you’ve ever tasted…this is very cheap authentic food and there is WAY too much of it for one sitting. You will have leftovers. You can also stock up on fruits, grocery items and desserts. Grabbed a box of two different kinds of cookies from local bakeries they were some of the best I’ve ever had.
Don’t forget to order a drink! This is of course the palace of the juice.

5721 W Flagler St Miami, FL 33144

*Private parking lot

Lunch or Dinner at Las Olas Café, South Beach

Your fix for cheap authentic mouthwatering Cuban food by the beach. We went just before closing and they were all out of chicken or fish, so I opted to eat pork (which I rarely do) – loved every minute of it. Got one meal to split between two people and it was enough food, a little two much with the two tamales we got on the side. Also ordered some more tasty juices, try the soursop!

644 6th St, Miami Beach, FL 33139

*Street parking only

Seafood at La Camaronera, Little Havana

What you need to get: the pan con minuta. It’s a fried snapper sandwich tail on with a slathering of ketchup, tartar sauce, and raw onion on a fluffy Cuban roll. Be aware, it comes out scorching hot and fresh. This little sandwich is made simple, yet has a divine satisfying summery flavor profile. You may also want to try the fried grouper cheeks and the grouper soup, which were also very tasty. Cash only!

1952 W Flagler St, Miami, FL 33135

*Private parking lot

Pastries at Karla Bakery, Little Havana

You can get sandwiches, empanadas, cakes, really anything you are hungry for here. However, I came with a specific intention. What you need to get: guava and cheese pastelitos. These sweet and savory pastries are so indulgent, reminding me of a Cuban Danish. Best thing? The bakery is open 24 hours a day, so you can get your fix at any time.

6474 W Flagler St Miami, FL 33144

*Private parking lot

Ice cream at Azucar Ice Cream Company, Little Havana

Who doesn’t want some cold ice cream on a hot Miami day? You can’t miss this signature dessert spot in the heart of the Cuban community, right across the way from Domino Park. The ice cream is made with local and natural ingredients. You will find a dizzying amount of flavors begging you to come back to try them all. What you need to get: the Abuela Maria – vanilla ice cream mixed with guava, cream cheese, and galletas Maria. What other flavors do they have? Café con Leche (Cuban Coffee & Oreo), Platano Maduro (Sweet Plantain), Sweet Potato Ancho Chile Chocolate Chip, and tropical fruit flavors like passion fruit and mamey. It is really delicious and made with love, be ready to wait on line!

1503 SW 8th St Miami, FL 33135

*Street parking

Do you want to learn more about the Cuban culture in Miami?

+Visit the Bay of Pigs Museum [1821 SW 9th St, Miami, FL 33135] to better understand the failed invasion.

+Follow the clinking sounds to Domino Park [801 SW 15th Ave, Miami, FL 33135], where a Cuban man was standing by the entrance with a huge welcoming smile, beckoning us to come on in and take a look at the game of his culture.

+Walk down Calle Ocho in Little Havana and count the roosters, watch workers hand roll cigars, and pop into the galleries.

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3 Responses to Experience Cuban food and culture in Miami

  1. Brad Nixon says:

    A primary reason to be in Miami! Thanks.

  2. julieovaltrades says:

    Awesome to know there is a Cuban scene in NJ. I have a few spots I want to check out over the border – so I’ll have to look into that! Thanks.

  3. You can also get all of these things closer to home right in Union City, NJ! Although the neighborhood isn’t home to as many Cubans as it once was. I have some family in Miami and visit often and think I have been to at least a couple of these places, just wish I was better remembering names of restaurants. Thanks for the write up!

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