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Jul 17, 2006 09:58 PM

Good meal near Miami airport

I've got a long, 8-hour layover in Miami next month. I figure this would be a good time to leave the airport to do a couple errands and grab a bite to eat. Are there any good eating options near the airport? I'm hoping for a place that serves great food that is hard to find outside of Miami. That probably means something ethnic, but I'm open to anything and all. Thanks...

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  1. Please see this recent discussion:

    By "something ethnic" I assume you mean Cuban? If so, IMO the iconic place to go is Versailles, on 8th St (Calle Ocho) and 36th Street, 305-444-0240 (open 8 am to 2am).

    Will you have a car or be cabbing it? Basically all of Miami is open to you, but very little in/close to the airport.

    1. Yes, most eating areas are not within walking distance from the airport, but there are buses that regularly travel up and down LeJeune (42nd street). I think its the 42 bus that will take you right in the area of the good eating locations that you are requesting, such as Little Havana and Miracle Mile in Coral Gables.

      1. Versailles is an institution and a damned fine people-watching spot. One of its virtues is that you can do everything from croquetas and coffee, or a Cuban sandwich, on up to a very wide range of full-blown entrees. It's also got character in a 1970s timeless way.

        Better food and a more upscale (think late-Spanish Colonial) setting also a fairly short cab ride from the airport can be found at Las Culebrinas. It's white-tablecloth Cuban, not a place for snacks and sandwiches. Some more interesting and ambitious dishes.

        Also in Little Havana, if you're a street-food hound, you might want to seek out El Rey De Las Fritas, which is about as only-in-Miami as it gets. An old lunch-counter-style setup, they deal in appallingly greasy, appallingly tasty Cuban-style burgers, which are heavily seasoned meat topped with potato sticks and whatever else.

        Shoot, what's that good Nicaraguan place?

        With an 8-hour layover, though, you should have more than enough time to hit anything in Miami or Miami Beach. You may want to go to South Beach or Coral Gables with some recent recs from this board in hand. Both are generally more pleasant places to while away a few hours than Little Havana or most other parts of Miami, more walkable and with more street life and more to see.

        1. 3 hours isn't as long as you think, but the closest authentic Cuban is just south of the airport on NW 57th.

          I've eaten here many times, very family, tasty and very cheap. I get a huge kick out of the 80yo Cuban grannies doing Cortados at the coffee stand out front.

          Juan Casa Restaurant
          5755 Nw 7th St , Miami, FL
          Phone - (305) 265-7595

          A taxi can get you there in less than ten minutes. You can even cheat and take the Hampton Inn Blue Lagoon shuttle, it's across the street from the hotel and just south of the bridge in the shopping center. There's also a pretty comprehensive Cuban market in the center as well as a bakery.

          If you're stuck at the airport the in-terminal cuban resto is surprisingly good.

          1. You will be surprised by the excellent Peruvian food at "El Pollo Inca". Cheap and excellent food. Start with a "Ceviche" (raw fish {corvina} in lemon juice), then order a "Lomo Saltado".
            If you are not used to Latin american food, you'll never forget this meal.
            El Pollo Inca is in a shopping center at NW 36 St. between 72 Av. & Palmetto Expressway. It is next to La Quinta Inn hotel. This is about 10 minutes in a cab from the airport.

            Another option is mediterranean food. Zeitoune at 87 Av. (red Road) with NW 25 St. in the shopping center of blue tiles, just in front of the Intercontinental Hotel of West airport or Doral Area. A 15 minute cab ride. Try fried quibbe, humus, labne, the fish in tahini sauce, evrything is wonderful and moderately priced, excellent food.

            Good luck and bon apetite.