Estefan Kitchen for Cuban food


By Jennifer Agress

Today more than ever, Miami is a foodie destination. But despite how much it has grown,  diners will still find that classic, local fare that has become part of its heritage: Latin cuisine. From Nicaraguan and Cuban restaurants, to Puerto Rican delicacies, Dominican flavors and Salvadoran plates—all in restaurants spread across Miami—here are our top five spots for a variety of  authentic Latin food in the Magic City. Love to hear from you about your favorites too!


El Palacio De Los Jugos
With locations all over Miami, but the prized original sitting on Flagler and SW 57th Avenue, this Cuban spot is part cafe, part BBQ pit, and part juice counter and fruit market. Known for its fresh-squeezed fruit juices, plates piled high with roasted pork, chilled sugar cane juice and fried pork rinds called “chicharones,” El Palacio de los Jugos is one of the most authentic, family-friendly Cuban eateries in town. El Palacio de los Jugos is located at 5721 West Flagler Street, Miami, FL 33144. It is open Monday through Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., and on Sunday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.


Milly’s Restaurant
Sitting in Little Havana, Milly’s is an affordable, hole-in-the-wall Dominican restaurant that’s so good it has become the official caterer for the Miami Marlins. While the menu is filled with traditional seafood and steak dishes and sandwiches, the real gem of this place is actually an entirely authentic Puerto Rican dish—Mofongo—that’s bursting with flavor. Sure to send you right into food coma, this dish tops a bed of lettuce with everything from fried garlic-mashed plantains, fried pork chunks, chicken and Spanish sausage, to shrimp, lobster, stewed conch and more. Milly’s Restaurant is located at 2742 SW 8th Street, Miami, FL 33135. It is open Sunday through Thursday, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., and on Fridays and Saturdays, from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m.


Las Mercedes Restaurant
This Nicaraguan spot is undeniably the best in Miami. A family-owned eatery run by Denise Paredes, go here for endless piles of beef and pork, moros, maduros, boiled plantains with garlic oil, and other traditional tastes of Central America. Denise’s baho is the main draw, however—and the proof is in its waiting list. Priced at just $10, this casserole tops a banana leaf and garlic-boiled yuca with mounds of beef brisket, ripe and unripe plantains, tomatoes, peppers, onions, and orange and lime juices. But like we said… as good as it is, you’ll have to wait for it. In addition to the week(s)-long waiting list, the whole process takes hours to make. Las Mercedes Restaurant is located at 8199 NW 54th Street, Doral, FL 33166. It is open Monday through Thursday, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.; on Friday, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and on Saturday, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.


La Pupusa Factory
Around for decades, La Pupusa Factory is one of MIami’s most popular (and consistent!) Salvadoran restaurants. Sitting in Hialeah, patrons go here for affordable plates of chicken cornmeal tamales, fried tacos, and Hondureñas—or pancake-like flour tortillas topped with fried beans, cheese and meat. For a sweet ending, there’s Atole de Elote (a sweet corn pudding), a popular Salvadoran dessert cake, Quesadilla (not to be confused with that Mexican cheese appetizer we all love so much), and more.  La Pupusa Factory is located at 1804 W. 68th Street, Hialeah, FL 33014. It is open daily from 8 a.m. to Midnight.


Estefan Kitchen
Tucked in the corner of Palm Court, this Cuban fine-dining spot is the brainchild of mega-superstars Gloria and Emilio Estefan. Walk in, and you’ll forget where you are—its blue and purple mood lighting, glittering white pillars, mirrored walls and star-studded tables makes you feel like you’re on South Beach; but the food makes you feel like you’re in Gloria and Emilio’s home kitchen. The menu includes tasty dishes like Award-Winning Lechón Asado, Bacon-Wrapped Maduros, and Handmade Croquetas with Serrano ham, creamy béchamel sauce and a balsamic guava reduction. And in true Estefan fashion, while you eat, prepare to be entertained. On any given night (or even during the day), there’s a live pianist, sultry lounge singers behind the bar, and weekly concerts in Palm Court. Estefan Kitchen is located at 140 NE 39th Street #133, Miami, FL 33137. It is open Sunday through Thursday, from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., and on Fridays and Saturdays, from 11:30 a.m. to Midnight. Happy hour too.



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