Muy Picante! The 10 Best Cuban Restaurants In Miami Revealed!

UPDATE: We're giving you permission to chow down on some of these must-trys this weekend. Again. This story originally ran April 10, 2012.
There are a lot of reasons to live in Miami. The culture. The climate. That whole thing where you're surrounded by endless skies and blue ocean as far as the eye can see. But that all pales in comparison to the food. With Latin American flavors and world-class chefs, we've got some of the best grub in the US of A. So, with all the Cubanos in the city, it's safe to say you won't find better Cuban cuisine without a short, illegal (for now) boat trip. To save you time and legal fees, we’ve rounded up 10 of our favorite Cuban specialties, sorted by your craving and needs, and all available right here in your own hometown. Prepare to drool, and let us know what we might have missed out below (your abuelitas' sopa china doesn't count, either).
Photo: Courtesy of Las Culebrinas
1 of 10
Best Goods on the Go: Bocaditos Micro-Sandwiches

When we think of Cuban sandwiches, we usually picture a giant hunk of cheesy, meaty goodness between two pieces of pressed, buttered bread. Amazing, obviously. But, perhaps not the wisest lunch option. Calories aside, you need a nap after that sucker. That’s why we’re huge fans of this recent addition to the local food truck posse. Using only humane-raised meats and organic cheeses and produce, these truckers offer up a plethora of mini-meals that make up for in flavor what they lack in size (and saturated fat).

Bocaditos, various locations, 305-965-1872.

Photo: Courtesy Bocaditos
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Best Seafood Indulgence: Langosta Termidar at Bella Cuba

Okay. Maybe a better description would be indulgence — period. This shell is stuffed with spices, vegetables, butter, sauce, fresh herbs, and, oh yeah, some succulent lobster, too. There’s more to Cuban food than sandwiches, people. Sometimes you need a splurge.

Bella Cuba, 1659 Washington Avenue (at Lincoln Lane North); 305-672-7466.

Photo: Courtesy of Bella Cuba
3 of 10
Best Light Bite: Marcelo's Ceviche

But sometimes you don’t need a splurge. Sometimes you need to wear a bikini tomorrow. Marcelo tools around town in his big white truck, serving up the goods to devoted fans. Each dish is made to order, right away and just to your liking. Go nuts with your combo, but for our money you can’t beat his ceviche de corvine: white fish and red onion in a splash of fresh citrus and his personal blend of spices.

Marcelo's Ceviche, various locations.

Photo: Courtesy of Marcelo's
4 of 10
Best Café Cubano: David's Cafe

Perhaps it’s less specialty than staple, but seriously – what in this universe is more important than coffee. Along with authentic Cuban cuisine, locals have been counting on David’s for their favorite morning brew for over thirty years. And this is no ordinary cup o' joe. We'd argue that the sweet, strong flavor of Café Cubano is perhaps the greatest cultural import since democracy. Sound extreme? Get back to us tomorrow morning, around 7:45 a.m..

David's Cafe, 1058 Collins Avenue (at 11th Street); 305-534-8736.

Photo: Courtesy David's of Cafe
5 of 10
Best Dinner for Under $10: Havana Harry's

There's roasting a chicken, then there’s roasting a chicken. This special from Harry’s serves up a whole half, slowly cooked in the juice of fresh limes and oranges. Accompanied by black beans, rice, and sweet plantains, their signature herb sauce tops the whole dish. All that comes for less than a movie ticket. Not that you were going to see American Reunion, anyway.

Havana Harry's, 9525 North Kendall Drive (between Southwest 92nd and Southwest 97th Streets); 305-595-1116.

Photo: Courtesy of Havana Harry's
6 of 10
Best Croquetas: Islas Canarias

Like the legendary flan and coffee, croquetas are a Cuban delicacy you just can’t leave off the list. Yes, they’re fried. Okay, they’re essentially stuffed with cholesterol. But when presented with one of these golden little goodies (especially the hand-rolled specialties of Islas Canarias), it’s difficult to remember all that. Plus, they do all the portion control for you. So just get one, and then run away really fast before you buy fifteen more.

Islas Canarias, 13695 Southwest 26th Street (at Southwest 137th Avenue); 305-559-6666.

Photo: Courtesy of Islas Canarias
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Best Mojito: Asia de Cuba

Of all the Cuban culinary specialties, this may be our favorite (or at least it’s in stiff competition with the coffee). The mixology team at Asia de Cuba took a great thing and made it even greater; with mango, berry and a handful of other twists. Head over to The Mondrian and you could spend an evening sampling their spins on the basic rum & mint medley. Non-traditional? Yes. Do we care? Not so much.

Asia de Cuba, 1100 West Avenue (between 11th and 12th Streets); 305-514-1940.

Photo: Courtesy of Asia de Cuba
8 of 10
Best Dish to Share: Paella at Las Culebrinas

We could rave about this local legend for any number of dishes. But, holy shellfish, Batman — that’s some serious paella. Packed with fresh selections of just about every available seafood variety, each bite is a new experience. Though their signature recipe has been attempted by several food blogs and cooking shows, it seems no one has quite captured the magic made in Las Culebrinas's kitchen. Why bother? Just go.

Las Culebrinas, 12257 South Dixie Highway (between Montgomery Drive and Southwest 124th Street); 305-969-3995.

Photo: Courtesy of Las Culebrinas
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Best Empanadas: Tinta y Café

There’s nothing much better in this world than a good empanada. It’s a baked good, it’s a protein, and it’s easy to eat while finishing a text at a stoplight, (not that you do that, ever). Tinta y Café, though known for their coffee house vibe, happens to stock some of the finest stuffed savories in all of So Flo. You’ll stop in for a coffee, but try one of these babies and you may never leave.

Tinta y Café, 276 Southwest 8th Street (at Southwest 3rd Avenue); 305-285-0101.

Photo: Courtesy of Tinta y Café
10 of 10
Best Flan: Versailles

When talking about Versailles, it's impossible not to delve into its time-honored legacy as the flash point of Cuban-American culture, cuisine, and politics. But we’re not going to. We’re here to talk about flan. Flan Cubano is a simple enough dessert – like, three-ingredients-simple – but Versailles manages to put those three ingredients together better than anyone. With coconut on top.

Versailles, 3555 Southwest 8th Street (at Southwest 36th Avenue); 305-444-0240.

Photo: Courtesy of Versaille