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3 nights in Fort L. and Miami -- suggestions?

Hi! I've got three nights to spend over Labor Day w/e in Fort Lauderdale (where we're staying) and Miami (where I want to eat). I'd like to hit one really good Cuban place and one semi-upscale place. Suggestions? Thanks in advance!

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  1. Lario's on Ocean Drive in South Beach is the place for Cuban. Pollo Milanesa, Boliche, Vaca Frita are all good choices. Get the mixed rice and beans or moro aka congri, otherwise they hit you up extra for the side of beans. It's insulting seeing how they are already quite a bit more expensive than all other Cuban joints in town. I guess you got to pay extra for that Ocean Drive location...it's well worth it and is still one of the least expensive restaurants on the strip.

    Semi-upscale places? I'm not sure where to send you. Check out the post on Top South Beach Restaurants.

    1. There are hundreds of Cuban restaurants in Miami, but I always recommend Versailles in Little Havana as the one to go to. It really is an institution and definitely gives you a real feel for Cuban here in South Florida. The food is very good and the "show" is fun. As far as other recs for Ft. Lauderdale, I'm not sure what semi-upscale means. Maybe if you are more specific what you are looking for we can help you out. There are so many good restaurants to choose from, so help us help you. Enjoy your visit!

      1. Thanks folks! I guess by semi-upscale I meant a really nice restaurant that isn't VERY expensive. I live in NYC, so I'm willing to pay... :) ... but not exorbitant prices.

        p.s. is Versailles the same chain that exists in L.A.?

        1 Reply
        1. re: dagnabbit

          For semi-upscale in Ft. Lauderdale, Casa D'Angelo for wonderful Italian, Eduardo San Angel for excellent gourmet over-the-top Mexican, Chima for the amazing meat experience and the list goes on. I'm not a fan of Johnny V's, but other people really seem to like it. There are so many restaurants in Ft. Lauderdale, but these are the standouts that come readily to mind. Hope you have a great visit!

        2. The Versailles chain in L.A. is not related ot the original in Miami. The L.A. owners just swiped the name. The Miami location is an institution, but it's not necessarily the best Cuban in the city. Lario's in Miami Beach is decent and has a good location, but it's pricey. There's also David's Cafe in Miami Beach, which is a block off of Lincoln Rd. which, if you're a tourist, you'll end up at anyway so it might be a good choice. My favorite Cuban is still Las Culebrinas, but the location doesn't merit a trek if you're only here a couple of days.

          Also, since you're here during that time, you can take advantage of Miami Spice Restaurant month (similar to Restaurant Week in NYC). A bunch of restaurants offer prix fixe menues ($20 for lunch, $30 for dinner) through August and September so you can actually go to lunch or dinner at an upscale place for a semi-upscale price. A few of the places are nuevo latino-type restaurants so you can get your Cuban food fix as well as getting a good value (try OLA in Miami Beach and OLA Steak in Coral Gables).

          See miamirestaurantmonth.com for a list. Unfortunately, this is only in Miami and Fort Lauderdale doesn't participate.

          1. Many thanks lax2mia! I've now heard a bunch of good things about Lario's, so it looks like it's worth the price.