Chispa or Versailles
For more of a casual style of dining with a strong doze of Cuba, Versailles
is the place to try. You have your traditional Cuban fare with a seriously
strong Cuban vibe (note the older Cuban gentlemen standing in front of the
take out window, Colada in hand, talking politics. Classic. :o) ) The
restaurant is huge and so there are plenty of tables available. You'll be
greeted with a basket of Buttered Tostadas, which is Cuban bread liberally
slathered in butter and pressed into a crisp flattened toast. The menu is
pretty extensive so ordering one of those sampler platters would give you a
chance to try a little bit of everything. Prices are very inexpensive
whatever you choose. Good place to go for lunch.
Chispa on the other hand, has more of a trendy supper club feel to it.
Interior is red with good music overhead...it transports you to an era of
years past. It has a nice bar to have drinks beforehand as well. As for the food,
there is more of a modern, designer twist to the traditional Latin fare. Concept
is generalized among different Latin countries, not solely focused on Cuban
cuisine. Nevertheless, food is well done and nicely presented. I'd recommend going
to Chispa for dinner as a prelude to a night of fun in Miami. Hope you enjoy your
They are quite different places. Versailles is old-fashioned Cuban. Food is decent not great, the place is a hoot, with candelabras and mirrors everywhere. Chispa is a contemporary place with updated, "nuevo" Cuban, Spanich and other Latin American-influenced dishes. I think the food at Chispa is quite good. Can get quite noisy.
Really depends whether you want upscale or old-school.
Versailles has both Spanish and English menus and servers. The key is to greet the hostess with the word "hello." Saying "hola" might make you feel like you're soaking up Little Havana spirit, but it will only land you Spanish menus and seated in the Spanish-speaking servers' sections.
I've never been to Chispa, but to me Versailles is the quintessential Miami Cuban family experience. Don't have your dessert and cafe con leche at the table; get it at the counter outside instead. :-)