November 10, 2017Posted by Bethany Larson Bloch
One of the most frequent requests The HUNT Miami writer, Margarita Wells, get from readers of her blog is for dishes they can eat only here. When she first started fielding these requests, her default response was to send them to the closest place with a decent Cuban sandwich and colada, and that was that. But, after a while, she realized they weren’t asking for her expertise in identifying the items they already knew they had to try. Rather, they needed her help in finding these less-obvious meals that exhibit Miami’s coveted Latin flair. Because she prides herself in being a valuable resource, she revised her list accordingly.
Worthy venues are spots like Miami Smokers, an urban smokehouse and deli in Little Havana that serves pork-heavy variations on Cuban standards including bacon-wrapped plantains, an El Cubano sandwich and a
Havana Club sandwich that includes lechón (suckling pig) and avocado, with the usual suspects. Likewise, Sakaya Kitchen in Midtown serves up an Asian twist to the popular croquetas by filling them with housemade dae ji (marinated spicy pork) instead of the conventional ham. Also on my list is
Eating House Miami in Coral Gables, where chef Giorgio Rapicavoli combines local ingredients for one-of-a-kind items like the Calentado wrap of pork, maduros (fried plantains) and congri (black beans and rice). Across the bridge in the Beach, My Ceviche blends ceviche-based bites with Mexican touches in menu offerings like rare tuna tacos with tomatillo salsa and octopus burritos with spicy jalapeño mayo. Don’t be fooled by their miniscule venue — after all, big things come in small packages.
If you’re more of a traditionalist, ultra-relaxed and less-hipster joint Yambo Restaurant reminds us that our cuisine is not only about Cuban food, with homestyle Nicaraguan fare like carne asada (grilled beef) platters and queso frito (fried cheese) that are absolutely delish. Similarly, Jimmy’z Kitchen in Wynwood has won over the hearts of Puerto Ricans and non-Puerto Ricans alike with one of the top mofongos (mashed fried plantains) in town despite looking like your run-of-the-mill café. So, take Margarita’s recommendations and savor these before you leave her hometown.
About The HUNT Miami Writer: Margarita Wells moved to Florida from Mexico City at the age of 12, and while she’s never stopped pining for the taco paradise where she was born, she fell hard for the palm tree-lined heaven of her adopted city. A marine scientist, Margarita loves Miami’s interconnectedness with the sea, its tropical vibes and ability to cater to both a metropolitan beach town and suburban lifestyle. When she’s not protecting the local environment, you can find her bumming around her coastal backyard, skateboarding around her neighborhood, or checking out the newest hot spots for her blog, thankyoumiami.com.