Small Bites

Roberto's Taco Shop, 405 W 49th St, Hialeah; 305-821-6717. Open 24 hours daily.A very good year for tacos was 1964. That's when Roberto and Dolores Robledo and family opened their original Mexican Taco Shop in San Diego. Their mission statement then has remained the same to this day; the far-flung Roberto's Taco Shop chain calls for "fresh, authentic, quality ingredients, simple food at modest prices, and satisfying portions." Roberto's tacos encapsulate these qualities within their hard little U-shaped shells and soft tortilla wraps. The grilled chicken and beef tacos will satisfy any case of the munchies, but grilled marinated fish, juicy carne asada, and plump pork carnitas in our preferred soft tortillas will have you shaking your head at how delicious fast-food tacos can be. Prices are more than modest: $1.95 to $2.25 for a generously sized shell, or three smaller tacos for $1.99 (a dollar more with guacamole or sour cream). A wide array of hot sauces is available.

Villa Havana, 3398 Coral Way, Miami; 305-446-7427. Open daily 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m."You go to Versailles for the people," said a friend of ours while tipping the last of his garlic shrimp from fork to mouth. "You come to Villa Havana for the food." It's true that the elemental, inexpensive Cuban fare is what has kept the lines running long for years at this restaurant -- for instance, a $4.95 lunch plate of tender ropa vieja (con arroz y maduros, claro!) is among the best in town, certainly at this price. But Villa Havana has other things going for it: The place is clean, unpretentious, and well lit. The vested and bow-tied waiters are fast, helpful, and occasionally flirtatious with the women. And if you are looking for something a bit more upscale than rice and beans, the menu includes several lobster dishes in the $15 to $19 range. "They have a ham shank that will bring tears to your eyes -- the best one outside Alabama," said that friend of ours while downing a working-class glass of sangria. "You come to Villa Havana for the food," he repeated.

Location Info

Map

Chuck Wagon Restaurant

7628 SW 117th Ave.
Kendale Lakes, FL 33183

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: South Dade

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18250 Collins Ave.
Sunny Isles Beach, FL 33160-2727

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: North Dade

IL Mundi

46 Curtiss Parkway
Miami Springs, FL 33166-5219

Category: Restaurant > Latin American

Region: Doral

Macaluso's Italian Cuisine

1747 Alton Road
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: South Beach

Maiko Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar

1255 Washington Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Category: Restaurant > Japanese

Region: South Beach

Raja's Indian Cuisine

33 N.E. 2nd Ave.
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Category: Restaurant > Indian

Region: Downtown/Overtown

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