Fish lovers will be happy to hear there’s a new restaurant in Little Havana that specializes in delicious fresh seafood, and it’s from the owners of Old Havana Cuban Car and Cocina, a popular “go to” place a few blocks away. And then there’s the nightly live music and happening bar, a new spot for their four hour happy hour.
This being Little Havana, Sala’o Cuban Bar and Pescaderia was born from an Ernest Hemingway Novel, The Old Man and the Sea. Hemingway spent many years in Cuba and kept his boat in the small fishing village of Cojimar which inspired the menu. The décor takes off on the 1940’s, seeking to recreate the feel of Hemingway’s home. The restaurant is small, just 85 seats, and then there’s a 30 foot bar seating 15. For happy hour and watching the people go by, there are two comfy sofas and upholstered chairs, a nice touch. The menu is divided into raw bar, salads, appetizers, sandwiches, seafood, rices, poultry and steaks, sides, desserts and coffee. There’s also a small kids menu.
We started with the tiraito, a creative and delicious take on what is now almost a menu staple. The good size portion (could be an entrée or def an appetizer for two) was mahi mahi with compressed pineapple, coconut lime, puffed sasona’o rice and herbal oil. ($13) It tasted of the Caribbean. My son who’s a foodie and knows his croquetas, proclaimed the fish croquetas crispy, delicate, and perfectly seasoned (5 to a portion – $8).
For entrees we had the whole fried fish with herbs, drizzled with pickled sauce and salsa verde. It, too, was expertly fried and very fresh. I ordered the langosta en su salsa. The Caribbean lobster was presented in small pieces in a rich broth made with salsa criolla, vegetables and rum (both dishes were market price which was $35 each). We ordered sides of roasted vegetables ($4) and fried sweet plantains ($3.50).
For those who aren’t fish lovers, there’s chicken guajiro (half roasted chicken with sour orange and garlic), pork chop, and 20 hour sous vide flank steak with Cuban mojo ($14-$16).
Dessert was a timba, fried cheese empanada with guava rum marmalade, a perfect complement to the dinner ($5).
There’s a special cocktail menu with Cuban and international classics.
Prices are very reasonable as you can see. Cocktails start at $11. A glass of wine starts at $9; bottles at $34. Take note that the noise level is energetic. After all, it’s Little Havana.
Happy Hour is Monday through Friday 4pm – 8 pm with live music and daily food specials . The restaurant is open Sunday through Wednesday from 11:00AM – 11:00PM, Thursday through Saturday 11:00 AM – 12:00 AM. Note, reservations are not accepted on weekends.
Sala’o Cuban Bar and Pescaderia, 1642 SW 8 St, T. 305-642-8989. Street parking only.