A summer vacation without the beach is like a cookie without sugar: pointless. Luckily our beautiful neighbor to the south, Miami, has yet to be affected by the negligence of BP. The city is as vibrant as ever with its glitz, glam and ever-present Latin flair. Whether you're in the mood of celebrity sightings or just deliciously hearty Cuban cooking, here are some of the city's top dining picks:
Gilbert's Bakery (1511 SW 37th Ave.) Every morning in Miami should begin with a trip to this luscious Cuban panaderia. They have the freshest Cuban bread in town. Buy a few hot croquettes stuffed with chicken, ham, cod fish, cheese, or spinach and squish them between two flaky pieces of bread for a deliciously simple sandwich. Pair this with a sweet, milky café con leche for an outstanding brunch option. The refrigerated cases are also full of gorgeous cakes, an assortment of pastries filled with tropical fruits, stuffed potato balls and crispy, meaty empanadas.
Sushi Samba Dromo (600 Lincoln Rd) A trip to Miami is incomplete without at least a short visit to South Beach. As you walk along the Lincoln Street promenade, you get a real taste of the glitzy beach scene that many people associate with the city. The restaurants are too numerous to count, and eager greeters accost you as walk, shouting out drink and food specials. Even though Sushi Samba is part of a small chain, it is still one of the best restaurants in the area. The sushi selection is always fresh, original and well-executed, but what sets the menu apart are the Peruvian and Brazilian influences. You can nosh on miniature lobster tacos with spicy brown butter foam, velvety mashed potatoes, giant kernels of buttery Peruvian corn, or lemony sautéed shishito peppers. The possibilities are endless and always well turned out.
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Versailles (3555 SW 8th St) Located on the heavily Latin-influenced Calle Ocho, Versailles is the go-to place for all things Cuban. The servers really don't speak much English, but this doesn't seem to deter Gringos from flocking to the 24-hour eatery. The ambience is always lively and energetic, with people of all ages and races conversing in a multitude of languages while gathered in one of the many mirrored dining areas. The yuca frita con mojo makes a great appetizer to share with the table while you await your tender ropa vieja or medianoche. Finish things off with a smooth café cubano and a creamy flan for a truly authentic experience.