If you’re craving heat, then pack up your suitcase and head to Miami - no, not for the weather, but for the Cuban cuisine! In this Cuban-influenced city, the flavor of Havana can be tasted through an authentic plate of ropa vieja, or a classic dish of mojo. Though in Miami, the most sought out cuisine is the Cuban sandwich.
Served as somewhat of a variation of a ham and cheese club, the Cuban sandwich marks its territory by adding a hint of roasted pork, ham, pickles, Swiss cheese, and mustard, all delivered on Cuban bread. Since there are many shops in town that serve incredible sandwiches, listed below are only a few places to visit when searching for the best Cuban sandwich in Miami, Florida:
Enriqueta's Sandwich Shop
Where: 186 NE 29th Street
Price: An average of $5.00 USD for their sandwiches
Why: The traditional Cuban sandwich is quite simple: meat, cheese, pickles, and mustard (in Tampa, they add some sausage due to the influence of the large Italian population, but we're not in Tampa). While these elements muster up a tasteful dish, Enriqueta, a small restaurant in Wynwood, offers an overwhelming addition: crispy, golden croquetas. That's right, croquetas - those delicious breadcrumbed fried rolls that contain a surprise of flavor inside. Operating as a small under-the-radar eatery, Enriqueta's version of the Cuban sandwich has been known to change lives, making it one of the many restaurants to visit if you want a guaranteed Cuban cuisine experience.
Where: 3555 SW Eighth Street
Price: An average of $7.00 USD for their sandwiches
Why: Like its namesake, the Versailles restaurant in Miami has become a work of art. Located in Little Havana, this stylish restaurant opened its doors in 1971 and became quite the hot spot for Miami’s Cuban immigrants to gather. Their famous Cuban sandwich is only $6.50 USD, and features the regular ingredients of sweet ham, roast pork, Swiss cheese, mustard, and pickles - all served on a crunchy, pressed Cuban bread. So savor the taste of one of Miami's most well-established Cuban restaurants, and experience the true art that is food.
While the sandwich is said to have first appeared in Cuba during the 1800s, it didn’t enter American culture until about a century later. At first, it appeared in cafeterias catering to Cuban workers in Key West and Tampa, where the Cuban immigrant communities were large. By the 1960s, the sandwich had entered the Miami spotlight, made popular by the large influence the culture had entranced on the city and Fidel Castro’s recent rise to power.
Currently, while Miami may serve the best Cuban sandwiches in the States, other destinations - such as Chicago, New York City, and Puerto Rico - also deliver their own variation of the fare. When in the city, one must also check out the traditional dish at El Exquisto or the super-sized Cuban sandwiches at Sarussi Cafeteria and Restaurant. The influence of the classic has certainly increased since its origin, and Miami knows exactly how to honor it.