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|Now, that's a meal. To-go platter from West Flagler's El Palacio de los Jugos. |
Miami is a city of exceptional things. It's where early-morning coladas are delivered through a ventanita
. It's where birthday parties are incomplete without a platter of croquetas de jamón and empanadas de queso. It's where drivers cut each other off by rolling down their car windows and signaling with their hands. Because then, and only then, do Miamians think it's OK to creep up on somebody else's lane.
In other cities, folks are repeating the old adage: Don't discuss religion or politics. In Miami, it's best to keep your thoughts about the best frita to yourself. And if you ever feel like starting a heated argument over a game of dominos, just ask who serves the best moro in town. Or the creamiest batido de trigo.
We don't mind squabbling over preferences for the best pan con bistec. What follows is our list of Miami's top ten Cuban restaurants. (This list includes only restaurants. Joints serving only sandwiches, such as Papo Llega y Pon, El Mago de Las Fritas, and others, did not qualify.) If you take offense to our omissions -- or dislike our inclusions -- let us know. We can always discuss it over a cafecito.
10. Villa Habana. L
|Inside Coral Way's Villa Habana|
ocated on Coral Way, Villa Habana has many respectable attributes. Consider, for example, its fast service, cheap lunch specials, rowdy regulars, and classic Cuban dishes. The menu features old standbys, like ropa vieja, vaca frita, and chicharrón de pollo. So what if they aren't doing anything too special? This mom-and-pop eatery makes the list because it's just downright charming, affordable, and all-around consistent.
9. Chico's Restaurant.
|Chico's Restaurant via Facebook|
|Croquetitas at Chico's: 25 for $4.50. Believe it.|
Chico's gets a spot in the top ten for several reasons. First, the Hialeah joint sells 25 croquetitas for $4.50. That alone deserves some serious recognition. Then there are other factors. For more than 30 years, this eatery has served chuletas, lechón asado, and, on the weekends, rabo encendido. It also serves a damn good arroz frito. Think a Cuban version of fried rice. It works. Trust us.
4070 W. 12th Ave., Hialeah, FL
1201 W. 44th Place, Hialeah, FL
700 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, FL
12727 Biscayne Blvd., Sunny Isles Beach, FL
5721 W. Flagler St., Miami, FL