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Nov 2, 2012 04:40 PM

What great ethnic food in Miami won't I find in NYC?

Later this month I'll be visiting for a week, for the first time in many years. More-casual fare preferred; atmosphere not so important; any neighborhood OK, at least while I'm chowing solo.

I've explored New York's multinational foodways in depth, but I'm sure that Miami (and vicinity) has much to offer that's less familiar to me. Nicaraguan, Cuban that's not hybridized by Chinese, and American Southern are three possible avenues of chow. What else would you suggest? Thanks in advance.

Dave Cook

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  1. The array of great Peruvian spots in Miami has always delight me. Ceviche, causa, tiradito, cilantro soup, anticucho, y mucho mas. I have just scratched the surface. Places range from working class to flashy in terms of atmosphere. Here are a few:

    Farolito (Coral Way)
    Ceviche 105 (downtown)
    Pollos y Jarras (downtown)
    Limon y Sabor (Biscayne)
    El Gran Inka (Brickell Ave.)

    This is by no means the best of list. I am sure others will weigh in,

    There are also some good Haitian Spots, which I can't remember finding much of in New York.
    Tap Tap (Miami Beach) $$
    Chef Creole (Little Haiti)
    Chez Le Bebe (Little Haiti). Haven't been. Heard mixed reviews.

    1. In general, we do central and south american and carribean food better than NYC does -- except mexican.

      1. There's plenty of Cuban here that has nothing to do with Chinese food (indeed, Cuban-Chinese hybrids aren't really too much of a "thing" in Miami). You'll find several threads on Cuban food on this board, most are older but not much changes on that front, and for a quick breakdown, here's a good summary:

        There's is Nicaraguan - Andrew Zimmern loved Fritanga Montelimar when he was here, I hear good things about Fritanga Monimbo too - and indeed much of Central and South America is well represented here.

        American Southern is not really a great option in Miami. What many people don't understand is that for the most part, the "South" pretty much ends, and Latin America begins, at the northern end of the Miami-Dade County border. We don't really have good Southern food here, and we don't have great BBQ either.

        Instead I'd suggest focusing on Latin America and the Caribbean. Aside from Cuban and Nicaraguan:

        Uruguay - go to El Rey del Chivito and order the chivito sandwich, which is great. Or get a slice of pizza topped with faina (a chickpea fritter type thing), which is only OK, but authentically Uruguayan.

        Argentina - go to Graziano's, which is best of breed here, or Las Vacas Gordas, which is my local haunt, and order a parrillada. For baked goods, especially sweet stuff, I like Buenos Aires Bakery.

        Colombia - not to underestimate an entire country's cuisine, but it's kind of mostly late night drunk food to me; still, a hot dog doused in a bunch of toppings at La Perrada de Edgar or La Moon is an experience.

        Venezuela - I've had some very satisfying lunches lately at Doggi's Churrasqueria in Coral Gables: good stuffed arepas and I really like the cachapa with asado negro. Also, Moises Bakery does great baked goods - Argentine and Venezuelan style empanadas, tequeños, cachitos are all very good there.

        Peru - aside from the places mentioned in the earlier post, Francesco in Coral Gables has nice ceviches and an excellent arroz negro. Peruvian rotisserie chicken can also be excellent, but I've still not yet found anything to replace my favorite, Edy's, which closed a couple years ago.

        Haiti - for a slightly more upscale, cleaned-up experience, go to Tap Tap on the Beach. For the real deal, there's a stretch of places along NE 2nd Ave. in the blocks between the 50s and 70s which mostly seem to change names every six months. Chez Le Bebe on 54th St. has been around a while but doesn't always get the greatest marks from the health inspectors. I've heard good things about Naomi's. Chez Rosie had been operating out of the space on Biscayne Blvd. and 67th St. lately known, somewhat confusingly, as "Who at 67th" - and was very good - but I'm not sure it's there anymore, haven't seen the sign lately (which I suppose raises the question - "Who at 67th?").

        Jamaica - I've had good curried goat from B&M Market, wished their jerk chicken was spicier. There are several other places around town I've not tried.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Frodnesor

          Brooklyn definitely beats Miami in the Jamaican and Trini department, although there are some spots in Broward. In Miami, Clive's is my favorite, at North Miami Ave. and 29th St. It a little family-run lunch counter spot, with great oxtail, curry goat, jerk chicken, etc. It's more of a lunch than dinner spot, so go early.

        2. I was also going to suggest El Rey del Chivito. I'm not sure how many Uruguayan places you have up there. I've also gotten some pretty good Venezuelan stuffed arepas from the Los Chamos food truck, so you might jump on that if you see it around.

          La Camaronera might be another place to check out for Cuban fried seafood.

          Also, while not necessarily "ethnic," if I had friends coming from NYC to Miami at the end of November, I might suggest getting some stone crabs to go from Joe's and eating them in South Point Park for sunset. That's probably something you couldn't do up north. Their fried chicken and lobster reuben are great too.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Nick

            Good call on La Camaronera.

            Mr. Good Stuff truck for stuffed arepas too.

          2. Now that others have chimed in that know this stuff better than I do, I will add my two cents.

            Pappo Llega y Pon - pork sandwich
            El Mago de Las Fritas -- you must get a frita, it is pretty much unique to miami.

            If you decide to do Grazianos, go to the one on Bird Rd. It is the original and the best one. It is the only one that cooks their meat out of a pit as opposed to a gas grill.

            3 Replies
            1. re: tpigeon

              Might as well add My Ceviche to the list.

              1. re: tpigeon

                I totally forgot to mention fritas! Good call. Not to totally derail this discussion, but do you like El Mago over El Rey de las Fritas? I've only tried El Rey.

                1. re: Nick

                  El Mago is my favorite. Tried El Ray once but like El Mago more so it is my go to.