It seems like every month another taco place opens in Miami. Many are very similar in menu and décor, as in rustic, with an open kitchen, and not much in style. Not so with the very successful Mexican born and bred La Cerveceria de Barrio which opened in late August. I can easily see why it’s so successful – a seafood slant, original menu items which hail from seven regions in Mexico, very good service, and a casual décor that’s “alegre” (joyful) and fun. Plus, for my taste, the guac is the best in town, which you can team up with housemade corn tortillas.
Billed as a Mexican seafood cantina, La Cerveceria de Barrio, is the group’s first outpost in the U.S. With its bright neon lights the colors of the Mexican flag, you can’t miss it on Lincoln Road. Plus, you can look through the window onto a guacamole making station where chefs mash the prized fruit on an authentic piedra de molcajete made of lava rock.
The ocean-focused menu features a wide variety of seafood dishes, including up to five different types of fish and 15 varieties of shellfish, which can all be cooked al carbon (over wood fire). But there’s much more, as in 12 menu categories including empanadas, guac, classic appetizers, raw bar appetizers, aguachiles, tostadas, tacos, burgers and tortas, salads, main course, sides and desserts. And soon as you sit down you’re brought three different types of tostadas with six to eight different salsas and lime. True to its name, La Cerveceria de Barrio also serves more than 100 different beers, 300 types of tequila, 100 types of mezcal and a variety of cocktails including the restaurant’s signature clamatos, a traditional Mexican drink made with orange juice, beer and choice of oysters, shrimp or clams.
We started with the traditional guacamole which has just the right amount of hot pepper. Made of the prized haas avocados, it was chunky and laced with tomato, white onions, serrano peppers and cilantro. Then it was on to a signature dish, the tuna loin tostada. A crispy round corn tortilla with chipotle mayo, onion, olive oil, tomato is topped with dill crusted tuna loin, avocado and crispy leeks. A true crowd pleaser. Next up was my hands down favorite, and one of the best dishes of the year – gulf shrimp enfrijoladas. Shrimp are cooked with onion, jalapeno and tomato, served in corn tortillas, and then the piece de resistance, smothered in black bean sauce and topped with onions and cilantro.
Mr. W was curious about the Mexican take on a Caesar salad, so we opted for that, a delicious riff on the traditional, with pumpkin seeds, telera bread croutons infused with cheese, Mexican white cotija cheese and a light flavorful cilantro dressing. We loved it. This being a seafood cantina, we had to try the charcoal grilled Guerrero styled snapper fillet, a staple of the Mexican coast. It was marinated in a chile ancho and roasted garlic sauce, and served with rice, black beans and another one of those salads with the dressing we so enjoyed.
Julio, our superb waiter (be sure to ask for him), advised us to try the corn cake which I’ve never had before. It’s a very moist round cake serving one or two surrounded by a light rum sauce and garnished with slivered almonds. A keeper.
The restaurant also has a merchandise station that sells the same máscaras de los luchadores (wrestling masks) that are hung on the restaurant’s walls, as well as other branded items with La Cerveceria de Barrio’s iconic logo.
The menu is divided into dishes ranging from $8-28. A glass of wine starts at $10 and bottles at $38. There’s also a happy hour from 3 pm to 7 pm Monday through Friday. Cocktails are $6; bottled beer $5; and draft beer $4.
The restaurant offers a 20% discount to Miami-Dade county residents with proof of ID. This offer cannot be added to existing promotions and specials and may not be available during holidays.
La Cerveceria de Barrio, 836 Lincoln Road Mall, T.305-535-7400.