Miami’s Cuban heritage runs deep — between Calle Ocho, Little Havana and its close proximity to the island nation, it’s difficult to live in the city without experiencing Cuban culture.
What better way to taste the island than through some of Miami’s best Cuban cuisine? Below, check out seven restaurants that both Miami natives and tourists enjoy.
Located right here in Coral Gables, Havana Harry’s is a favorite among locals and tourists alike. UM students flock to this local delight for its large portions and reasonable prices.
The warm lighting, Cuban tiles and comforting fragrances give this restaurant a home-like feel. With authentic, affordable Cuban cuisine and a large menu perfect for picky eaters, Havana Harry’s deserves a spot on your Miami bucket list.
This glamorous restaurant prides itself on being authentically Cuban. Inside, you’ll listen to classic Cuban artists like Celia Cruz and Benny More while eating in a dining room decorated from floor to ceiling with vintage memorabilia, Havana’s biggest legends and famous prints.
Try entrees ranging from seafood plates, sandwiches, soups and the house specialty “Pollo Havana 1957,” which includes traditional roasted chicken in a savory Cuban gravy served with white rice, black beans, salad and sweet plantains. Appetizers like croquetas and tostones rellenos or desserts like guava cheesecake will have you leaving with a full stomach and a box of leftovers.
Their closest location to UM lies on Lincoln Road, but their three Miami Beach restaurants are ideal spots to grab Cuban food after a beach day.
Inspired by 1950s European architecture, the interior design of Isla Canarias boasts a casual, but elegant atmosphere coupled with friendly personnel. The family-owned restaurant welcomes customers online with this greeting: “The Andrade family invites you to have a seat at their table because your time at Islas Canarias Restaurant is a time spent with family.”
Isla Canarias is known as the “Home of Miami’s Favorite Croqueta,” which are deep-fried rolls with a creamy filling. Appetizers include ham, chicken and fish croquetas, and several meals like the chicken salad and Cuban sandwich also come with a croqueta. Aside from croquetas, you’ll find typical Cuban dishes here at an affordable price, with most options under $20.
One of Miami’s most renowned Cuban food chains, La Carreta lies across the street from Versailles. While La Carreta is less popular than its sister store Versailles, both restaurants are owned by the same family and serve similar dishes like classic picadillo and empanadas with cilantro cream sauce.
Outside the restaurant you’ll find convenient parking, open tables and a huge chicken statue decorated in the colors of the Cuban flag. Does it get Miami more than that?
La Capital de los Jugos
It’s in the name — the “juice capital” offers nearly 20 natural juices including pineapple, guava, blackberry and passion fruit, among others. If you’re looking for more substance, this chain offers breakfast food, appetizers, sandwiches and wraps. To end your meal on a sweet note, try one of their numerous dessert selections like shakes, ice cream and cake.
Before heading in, make sure to scan the online menu for the daily specials, which offer meals at a discounted rate.
With 14 different locations across Miami, this women-founded, third-generation family business has made a name for itself in South Florida. Stop by the closest stores on Bird Road or Coral Way to experience their popular Cuban-American fusion dishes like chicken or ham and cheese empanadas, palomilla steak, shredded chicken or beef, and desserts like tres leches, arroz con leche or flan.
How could this list exist without the iconic Versailles? Deemed as “The World’s Most Famous Cuban Restaurant,” this beloved spot is a landmark of Little Havana and Cuban culture. A hotspot amongst celebrities, politicians and media outlets, don’t be surprised if your lunch is disrupted by a presidential visit or Beyoncé herself.
Whether you’re in the mood for ropa vieja or the classic arroz con pollo, Versailles’ menu will not disappoint. At the center of Versailles lies “La Ventanita,” a walk-up coffee window known for its cafecito, pastries and for inspiring a host of restaurants throughout Miami to adopt the same fixture.