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Upscale Cuban restaurant in Miami or Miami Beach?

Visiting Miami for a few days, and I'm interested in Cuban food for dinner, but I'm sure most of the best food comes from hole-in-the-wall type places.

I'm looking for a nice dinner, nice ambiance, good service, decent wine list, white tablecloth type place. Cost isn't a factor, I don't mind if it's expensive or even "over-priced".

So, are there any good upscale Cuban places like that in either Miami or Miami Beach? I don't mind if it's not the most authentic Cuban food in the city, as long as it's good and meets the above criteria.

Thanks!

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  1. Maybe Bongos/Larios on South Beach. Food at Larios has always been good and the location speaks for itself, I don't do the club scene.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Veggo

      Ha, I don't do the club scene either!

      1. re: Veggo

        Having had the pleasure of actually dining many times in Havana (the real one, not the Little One), I would not recommend Bongos. I'm new to the area and will report back when I find something suitable.

        1. re: El Chevere

          I have dined numerous times in the Miramar and Vedado sections of Havana, plus the Marina, and it was rarely a pleasure. There is better Cuban food on Calle Ocho than in Cuba.

          1. re: Veggo

            Did you dine at La Cocina de Lilliam, La Guarida, El Aljibe, Doctor Cafe, the restaurants at Club Hemingway and La Casa--to name a few?...to me, Bongos is commercialized, Sysco supplied, Americanized Cuban cuisine...I am definitely open minded to trying better places in other area, perhaps in the area you mentioned. I was a bit underwhelmed at Bongos--at least the one at the AA Arena, where I ate.

            Open to other suggestions.

            Thanks

            1. re: El Chevere

              Unfortunately, some of the best Cuban food is not in fancy upscale locations, which is what the OP is looking for. Equally true in Palm Beach County. Larios is at least a great location and was quite good in its early days, especially Sunday dinners with lamb shanks. I have not been in a while as I have outgrown the SoBe scene.

      2. I really like what they're doing at Bread & Butter in Coral Gables. I've only been for lunch, and they have a somewhat more expansive dinner menu. It's not super fancy - more gastropub than white tablecloth - but it's modern and contemporary in style (both atmosphere and food) but still very much grounded in Cuban cuisine.

        Otherwise, I've not been in ages, but there was a time that Ola on Miami Beach would fit the bill.

        1 Reply
        1. The only place that comes to mind is the longstanding Yuca on Lincoln Road but I have no clue who is in the kitchen.

          I've heard good things about Catharsis on Calle Ocho but I don't think it's 100% Cuban

          1. I second Bread + Butter but if you're on the Beach and want a Cuban restaurant with food along the lines of what you might find in Little Havana, try Sazon on 73rd and Collins.

            1. Is Versailles still around? When we were there probably 20 years ago, it was the place for Cuban-Americans to see and be seen. And we liked the food also.

              3 Replies
              1. re: c oliver

                Yes they are around but they are certainly not upscale...

                1. re: tpigeon

                  But it's not divey either. We thought the vibe and the food were good.

                  1. re: tpigeon

                    And that's Calle Ocho, heart of little Havana.
                    Probably the best Cuban restaurant in Palm Beach county is Havana, but with it's location on the Dixie highway, some of my friends' wives will not go there after dark, to my disappointment. Upscale Cuban is a tough one.
                    I'm wantin' my Sunday braised lamb shanks!