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Jan 7, 2013 10:04 PM

Visiting from Los Angeles, what to eat for 5 days ?

We are a group of 6 adults will stay in the North Beach area for 5 days after a cruise. What should we try that we can't find in Southern California ? Cuban ? South America or Caribbean food ? We do not want to spend much money, cheap to moderately priced but interesting food preffered.

Little Havana ? We will stay in a home rental therefore may be able to cook too. Appreciate any suggestions of where to buy groceries or fresh seafood that we can cook ourself. We will stay around 84th and Collins Avenue. Thank !

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  1. North Beach is a great home base as there are plenty of places right around there.

    El Rey del Chivito (Uruguayan) - get the chivito sandwich piled with steak, ham, cheese, fried egg, bacon, mayo, lettuce & onion; or a slice of pizza topped with faina (a sort of chickpea cake) - not exactly earth-shattering, but authentic.

    La Perrada de Edgar (Colombian) - Colombians will put just about anything on hot dogs apparently, and they have about 20 different combinations, ranging from pretty typical (potato sticks, pink sauce, mozzarella cheese) to unusual (whipped cream, pineapples?)

    Buenos Aires Bakery (Argentinian) - very nice Argentine bakery, I like their churros much better than Manolo down the street (which is supposed to be famous for them), plus a full breakfast & lunch menu.

    Moises Bakery (Venezuelan) - great tequeños, cachitos, different kinds of empanadas, both baked and fried, arepas.

    Mixtura (Peruvian) - I actually haven't tried this one but did go to the sister restaurant in Coral Gables - decent ceviches and a variety of other stuff too.

    Sazon (Cuban) - maybe it's not the best Cuban in Miami but it's better than serviceable - I like their garbanzos fritos and the vaca frita de pollo.

    Las Vacas Gordas (Argentinian) - solid parrillada, anything off the grill is good, but I especially like their chorizo and morcilla and the entraña (skirt steak).

    That should give you a good head start.

    For groceries, there's a new Publix at 69th & Collins that is actually pretty well stocked (as Publix stores go, which is not great). Their seafood selection is not good though and I've yet to find anything close by that is. When we buy fish we'll usually go to Casablanca or Whole Foods.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Frodnesor

      Thank Frodnesor, we will rent a van therefore we can travel farther. We plan to visit Little Havana and Fort Lauderdale, where should we eat there ? Also any places that are good eat and a must to visit in Miami please share your expertise.

      1. re: collegedad35

        There's a great "taxonomy" of Miami Cuban restaurants (many of which, as you might suspect, in Little Havana) here:

        There's some more info in this post too:

        FTL is mostly outside my jurisdiction, so I'll defer to others on that front. As for "good eats" there are many, and "must to visit" depends on your taste and budget, but you'll find much info just doing some browsing on this board I'm sure.

        1. re: Frodnesor

          For best experience....go to where Frod or Tpigeon direct you to go....period....end of story....

          Ft. Pierce, FL

        2. re: collegedad35

          Cuban food is obviously everywhere here and it's all about the same. I've taken most of my friends that visit from Cali to Havana Harry's and they love it. It's not in Little Havana but not incredibly far and it'll take you into Coral Gables which you may want to see.

          I'd add these guys to Frod's recs in the NB area:

          - Lou's Beer Garden at the New Hotel for a very chill evening. They have a small, changing menu, reasonably priced and although it's on Harding feels very out of the way.

          - Broken Shaker @ the Freehand: a pop-up bar turned permanent. Good cocktails and occasional BBQs on Saturdays. Nothing groundbreaking but a great way to spend an afternoon or evening.

          Remember you're also close to South Beach which opens up a large # of establishments in a small area. If you're looking for cheap to moderate:

          - Tap Tap: a Haitian restaurant that's been around forever. Probably won't find this in SoCal.

          - Joe's take-out: Joe's stone crab is an institution, and you pay for it. The take out area serves the same food, but counter service. You can eat it there or walk a couple of blocks to the beach or park and have a picnic.

          - My Ceviche: Near Joe's and an even smaller take-out place for ceviches and stone crabs (stone crabs aren't cheap, but heck, you're on vacation).

          Also, if there is a Wallcast at the New World Symphony during your stay you should definitely try to go. They project whatever concert is going on inside the building onto a giant wall outside in front of a lawn enveloped by an incredible sound system. Grab take-out at one of the two places I mentioned, buy a cheap blanket and watch a great concert under the stars (where else can you do that in the middle of January?).