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La Camaronera, 1952 West Flagler in Little Havana (T.305-6423322) had been on my “to do” list for over a year. It was on my list not only because it’s supposed to be the “real Miami” and reasonably priced for seafood restaurants miami, but also, because I keep reading about it on eater.com’s “Essential Miami Dining” lists . It started out as a place for a quick bite with a stand up bar or for takeout ,but then Garcia’s seafood bought it, expanded it as well as the hours (formerly a lunch place, now open until 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday) and now it has table seating as well. It’s best known for its $8 fried shrimp, whole fried fish and $5- $7 fried fish sandwiches (grouper, snapper, seabass,  lobster, and when in season, mahi mahi). Among other dishes, there’s also rice with seafood, fried oysters,  soup, and sides of green plantains, rice, pico de gallo (salsa) and house salad. Forget any other greens. After all, this is Little Havana.

We split everything starting with the fried shrimp, crisply fried and fresh, served with tartar sauce, a “must”. For a main course we had a delicious pan fried mahi mahi, seasoned with a little olive oil and parsley that came with pico de gallo and plantains ($15). In the spirit of full disclosure, I didn’t order the fried fish because that morning I had had a sticky bun (William Sonoma‘s frozen variety, excellent) and miamicurated does have to watch calories, challenging in this line of work. No wine or even beer here, there are soft drinks, Malta India– a non alcoholic malt beverage, and bottled water. Key lime pie and coconut cream desserts are made in house . Lunch for two including a fish platter, order of fried shrimp and a house salad each ,including tax and tip was $40 (not cheap but then again, fresh seafood is pricey these days). And if you make it there, walk to the corner supermercado cafe and have a Cuban coffee. As far as the Havana born Mr.W. is concerned, it’s arguably the best Cuban coffee in Miami. You can tell it’s genuine when the default is evaporated milk and the waitress calls you “mi vida”. It’s all a fun thing to do on a weekend afternoon.

La Camaronera Restaurant & Fish Market on Urbanspoon

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