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Xixon Cafe - What have I been waiting for?

Frodnesor Dec 28, 2007 10:06 AM

For several months now I've wanted to try Xixon, a small Spanish tapas place and deli on Coral Way around 18th Ave. I've not had much of an excuse for not doing so, as it's less than 10 minutes from my office. I finally rounded up a group to go there for lunch, and am now kicking myself for not doing so sooner. It is quite simply the closest thing I've found to an authentic Spanish tapas bar in Miami.

It's a small place in a nondescript storefront, as you walk in there is a small wine shop and a few barrels with chairs around them, and a deli counter in front. To the side is a small seating area with no more than about 10-12 tables plus a tapas bar. In a glass case with several additional bar seats around it are a number of trays of tapas on display, just like the tapas bars in Spain and much like a sushi bar. All the tables were filled when we got there so the four of us took seats at the bar.

Not much English is heard or spoken here, but our initial server found another one who could speak some English and deal with us gringos. Our group did a good bit of pointng at the tapas on display and also ordered several items from the menu. We ended up with ->

- salpicon de mariscos - a refreshing cold seafood salad with shrimp, mussels, clams, octopus, chunks of red and green peppers and onion, all tossed in a light vinaigrette

- a garbanzo stew - hearty and redolent with bits of chorizo and morcilla

- patatas bravas - a classic dish of twice-fried chunks of potato with a spicy tomato sauce

- bunuelos de bacalao - nice light little codfish fritters with garlicky aioli for dipping

- sauteed mushrooms - simple and tasty

- chorizo en sidra - spicy chorizo sausages cooked in cider; one of our group described these as "like really good Slim Jims," which was intended as a compliment

- albondigas - nice spicy little meatballs

- bacalao w/ peppers - the only item that didn't really excite me, as the bacalao had a slightly rubbery texture (which would seem to indicate that they're using the traditional dried and rehydrated codfish rather than fresh)

There were a whole bunch of items we didn't try, plus an assortment of daily specials, plus a variety of bocadillos (sandwiches) made to order. They had a very nice selection of Spanish wines as well, though I stuck with beer (Spanish) instead.

I'm obviously late to the game here, as the place was packed for lunch, but I will be back soon to make up for lost time.

  1. dmo305 Dec 23, 2008 11:55 PM

    Had a great lunch here last week. With the recent opening of Sra. Martinez, I have been spending way too much time thinking about tapas and came here to feed that obsession a bit.
    Two of us ordered a traditional clams dish, a seafood soup, tortilla espanola, patatas bravas, gazpacho, and a bocadillo of lomo, manchego, and pimientos. The tortilla was great, moist, and served in a tall, fat slice. It was solid in the middle. The bravas were actually served with a bravas sauce (not spicy enough), an aioli, and a mojo picon (just right). They were great also. The bocadillo was very solid but not a standout. My GF loved the seafood soup which was filled with all kinds of goodies: fish, shrimp, clam, mussel, etc.
    This cuisine here is very traditional and authentic spanish, and very good. Coming back soon!

    1. dmo305 Oct 22, 2008 01:12 PM

      Dropped in here for the first time earlier this week. I have to agree that the ambiance definitely reminded me of some tapas bars from Spain, however, since I dropped in before 11 am, there was nobody there, so i couldn't check the scene.

      Had a simple bfast, two of the tapas del dia. We shared an order of Revueltos con Iberico (scrambled eggs with iberian ham) and an order of Huevos con Chistorras, which came as 2 fried eggs, patatas, and several pieces of chistorra, which is longer and thinner than chorizo and usually served at bfast. Had a nice cafe as well, and the bread was delicious.

      In sum, a delicious and filling breakfast. Can't wait to return here for dinner! This place is authentic.

      6 Replies
      1. re: dmo305
        f
        FoodDude2 Oct 23, 2008 12:55 PM

        Anyone know if they have baby eels on the menu?? Perhaps my favorite food I have ever had in Spain.

        1. re: FoodDude2
          Frodnesor Oct 23, 2008 02:24 PM

          Don't think I've ever seen angulas at Xixon. Casa Juancho may be a better bet, or maybe La Dorada in the Gables.

          1. re: Frodnesor
            Icantread Oct 23, 2008 02:36 PM

            Add Ideas in Coconut Grove, if it's still open. Haven't been back since the front of the house changed, but they did have angulas on the menu.

          2. re: FoodDude2
            Suzie Jan 1, 2009 08:53 AM

            I had Angulas this past Friday at I.M. Tapas in Naples. It was a special that night but if you are ever on this coast give them a call ahead of time and see if they are on the menu. They were delicious!

          3. re: dmo305
            scubadoo97 Oct 23, 2008 04:28 PM

            I was eating baby squid at 11 am last time I was there. I love the non scene. We were the only ones there. Did a lot of pointing and eating.

            1. re: scubadoo97
              Frodnesor Oct 23, 2008 04:48 PM

              Baby squid are a lot cheaper than baby eels.
              http://www.markys.com/caviar/customer/product.php?productid=17679&cat=660&page=1
              http://www.tienda.com/food/products/s...

          4. Icantread May 5, 2008 10:23 AM

            Just wanted to put my 2cents in, for what they're worth. I'm even later making it here (finally!). strolled in on a late Saturday afternoon. Mrs. I commented that it felt like being transported to a tapas bar in Barcelona. Simple decor, at the same time cozy and minimalistic. Small market, wine bottles for sale (or for the meal) and some cold food, prepared and not, behind a glass counter connected to the cashier. We looked at some of the wines and prices were a little scattered, some above and some below prices I've seen before, most I did not recognize. We let the server pick our bottle given a price point and were treated to a nice little rioja that got better and better as we went along. For the meal we chose patatas bravas, manchego marinated in olive oil with rosemary and olives, chorizo en sidra, and a steak in a cabrales sauce (also served with patatas). The food overall was great and fairly priced, the quality of the chorizo being one of the better ones I remember having in SFla, the cubed manchego being a huge portion we had to take home. Desserts were great. We had their almond cake and a homemade turron ice cream. Additionally, while the wine prices were both up and down, if they have a corking fee, they did not apply it to us. Even their highest markups were reasonable in that light. Needless to say, we will be revisiting there a lot. For us, it's one of the IT places in Miami, unpretentious, great food, nice ambiance and a meal you can tailor to be as small or large as you want.

            1. j
              jessicam29 Mar 15, 2008 07:55 PM

              I went to Xixon tonight, and as expected, it was great. Our waiter was new and quite slow, but the spanish lady that usually takes care of us was on top of things. We had the lamb chops with fried diced potatoes, really delicious. We also had the piquillo peppers stuffed with bacalao. Again, delicious, and the sauce left on the plate quickly disappeared because I kept dipping bread into it! Also had the tabla of manchego, jamon serrano and chorizo. I can live off of bread, olive oil, manchego and serrano!

              We shared a ribera del duero, but the name escapes me. It had a green modern-looking label, and at $14.99 was very decent.

              The best part about Xixon is that we always buy a frozen loaf of bread to bring home. i don't know if a lot of people do this, but the "pan gallego" is shipped frozen from spain and you can buy it for $1. it makes a great breakfast the next morning! We also brought home a couple of deserts and a vaccum packed "fabada" to make at home.....the beans, jamon, morcilla, chorizo and i guess a few other ingredients are measured for about 4 servings, then vaccum packed. i'll let you guys know how it turns out!

              1. scubadoo97 Jan 10, 2008 06:30 PM

                I was in Coral Gables for a conference last year and Xixons was on my list of places to try. My wife and I drove up and down Coral Way and never found it until the last day of our trip. At 11:00 AM we walked in and I knew this was going to be good. We ate white anchovies, stuffed baby squid as well as a couple of other tapas. Baby squid for breakfast. They were fantastic. We ordered a couple of sandwiches for the road and took the long way back across via US 41. Glad to know I wasn't the only one doing a lot of pointing since there was virtually no English spoken in the place. A family run business were everything was freshly made. I can't wait to go back. Outside of a visit to Michys it was a highlight of the trip. I highly recommend it to anyone in the area.

                1. s
                  sobeb Jan 9, 2008 12:39 PM

                  Since you're near coral way, have you tried La Bodeguita Del Media? I passed by and it looks stylish and appealing, but don't know about the food yet.
                  Also, Bin 18, on Biscayne and NE18th St has good tapas, and has a reasonably priced wine of the day. Fun, loft like style.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: sobeb
                    Frodnesor Jan 10, 2008 06:26 AM

                    Have not tried La Bodeguita del Media, and also curious.

                    1. re: sobeb
                      Icantread May 5, 2008 10:24 AM

                      I've heard only horror stories about the place.

                    2. d
                      dimsumfan Dec 28, 2007 04:02 PM

                      Thanks for this posting. What you've described and their online menu look good. No prices online, though. Can anyone give a sampling of their prices? And what kind of food would I find if I went right at the 10am opening?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: dimsumfan
                        Frodnesor Dec 28, 2007 06:34 PM

                        I can't recall item by item, but 4 of us ate pretty well (probably at least 2 dishes each) plus beer or sangria for each of us for about $75 before tip.

                      2. eatnbmerry Dec 28, 2007 01:22 PM

                        Sounds right on. I would go just for the salpicon de mariscos and bunuelos de bacalao if not everything else!

                        Ty Frod.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: eatnbmerry
                          Frodnesor Dec 28, 2007 01:51 PM

                          The bacalaitos are actually better at Taberna Giralda - though I prefer the aioli at Xixon to Taberna's tartar sauce.

                          1. re: Frodnesor
                            eatnbmerry Dec 28, 2007 02:07 PM

                            TY,
                            Yes the aioli stirred my juices too!

                        2. Frodnesor Dec 28, 2007 10:08 AM

                          Place link isn't working, here's the address:

                          1801 SW 22nd Street (Coral Way), Miami, FL 33145

                          Note, website says they're only open till 8pm Mon-Wed, open till 10pm Thu-Sat, and closed Sunday.

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