BEST PLACE TO SAVOR THE FLAVOR OF MIAMI - 2003
Is it the cakes in the bakery display cases, which look like a quince?era's dress on steroids? Is it the crowd outside the to-go window sipping café cubano from thimble-size plastic cups while vigorously debating the topic du jour? Is it the muckety-mucks working the room in the main restaurant while the hoi polloi -- and some tourists -- consume gargantuan portions of Cuban fare surrounded by mirrors and chandeliers? The combination of all the above, plus a certain je ne sais quoi, make this Calle Ocho fixture the place to soak up the city's atmosphere, along with hearty eats.