Bernie's vs. David's: Who Makes The Better Cuban Sandwich?

Categories: Plato Royale
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David's Cuban sandwich.
We take the subject of Cuban sandwiches very seriously. If there is anywhere except maybe Havana, that should be able to deliver a classic Cubano, it's Miami. Yet we find that some of the most popular joints on South Beach serve up a surprisingly lackluster version. So we keep searching for a better version.

It seems so easy - pork, cheese, pickles, mustard, bread. Not so complicated, but it's the quality and quantity of those ingredients that can either make or break a "sandwich Cubano."

We've been to Bernie's, and we've been to David's...who makes the better Cuban sandwich?

Let's start with David's Cafe, a Miami historical landmark considering they have been in business for over thirty years. This is a skinny sandwich ($7.95), which would be okay, except for the fact that it's all ham. What happened to the slow roasted pork? There're a few thin layers of something dry that more resembles roast beef, but it is completely lost among the other flavors. They douse this thing in yellow mustard and/or mayo, depending on preference, and it makes the inside of the bread too moist, which is a shame since the bread is a highlight; sweet and crisp. There are plenty of pickles, which is great, and cheese oozes out the sides. Very appetizing on the plate.

Bernie's Cuban Sandwich 2.jpg
Lesley Elliott
Bernie's Cuban sandwich.
Now moving on to Bernie's LA Cafe. Clearly, they've overstuffed the sandwich here ($8.95), but it is pressed properly and tastes of the grill. There is one thick slice of ham, and a ton of melted cheese, which we applaud. The pork is tender, juicy, and piled high. A coarse grain mustard is non-traditional, but we like the texture. Pickles were a bit light on this one; we had to move them around a lot in order to ensure a salty bit in each bite. The bread is crisp and has more heft, stands up to the sandwich throughout the eating process. Very appetizing on the plate and on the tongue.

Winner: Sorry David, but it's Bernie, hands down. For only one additional dollar, you'll get a load of meat and cheese layered perfectly in proportion. David's sandwich satisfies the Cubano craving, but Bernie's makes you want more.

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Location Info

Bernie's L.A. Cafe - CLOSED

1570 Alton Road, Miami Beach, FL

Category: Restaurant

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12 comments
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Cubangirl
Cubangirl

Miami does not make real cuban sandwiches. The REAL cuban sandwich is in Tampa. It is made with lardo, not butter and rest of crap they put in here. Second, only in Tampa do they use the palm fronds on their bread (as it is illegal to transport particular palms from county to county you can only find in tampa) and last, the REAL cuban sandwich is made also with salame. Lots of articles when you google, authentic cuban sandwich, tampa, salami. Check them out. I have only tasted the best up there and I have been in Miami since the 70's!!! So what mariel also brought over is nothing compared to the cuban bread in tampa still today. 

But really, south beach?are you kidding? Go to westchester for some good ol cuban food if it still good, you have Wajiro's, el pueblito, habana vieja, villa habana, latin america, islas canarias, etc.. get out of south beach for gods sake!!! 

Bigmikesbbq
Bigmikesbbq

Yes (Cuban-Girl) Has the Facts! The Bakery In Tampa Has Been Baking that Bread Since 1915!!! Undisturbed,and Never Waivering. The "Columbia" Has Been there in Tampa (Ybor City) For 106 Years!!!!! Dont Knock this Sandwich, UNLESS you have had One???? The Flan, is Breathtaking also, followed by the Cuban Coffee...Ahhhhhhhhhh

Darbet72
Darbet72

That's the correct answer.

Mr. Miami Beach
Mr. Miami Beach

Most of the Latin restaurants in Miami suck, including the latest Latin American.  Bernie's makes some kick ass sandwiches not only the Cuban...

morgan
morgan

they both are terrible.  go find a real cuban sandwich and report back.  

clark
clark

Seriously...New Times' breadth of food reporting seems limited to 2 or 3 zip codes only. Serious Cuban cuisine on SoBe? This article is by (and for) the same suckers that would spend 9 bucks on a Cuban sandwich.

clark
clark

Next week: who makes the best pizza on Lincoln Road? <sigh> </sigh>

Eugene Buck
Eugene Buck

New Times has no idea of what a real Cuban Sandwich is, all they have to do is go down to Latin America and they will see

hector
hector

you need to get out of South Beach to get a real cubano

anon_e_m00se
anon_e_m00se

That's the correct answer. The only thing that's going to drive up the quality of your Cuban are Cuban/Cuban-American residents around the restaurant.[If you can find an old and grumpy Cuban populace... even better]. No restaurant catering to tourists from Iowa is going to have top notch Cuban food.

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