BEST CUBAN RESTAURANT - 2004
Readers' Choice: Versailles
The best Cuban restaurant should feature the best Cuban food, right? But that's not so easy to determine in a town with as many Cuban eateries as Miami. A judge could spend a lifetime sampling a million dishes. Most would agree, though, that the fare at Versailles ranks near the top. Cuban specialties hit the spot every time, from the bocaditos to dishes with generous portions of arroz con frijoles negros accompanying any meat, fish, or poultry. They make all their own bread and desserts at the bakery next door. And the price is right. You can manage a full meal for about ten bucks. However, it's the cultural experience that draws so many locals and tourists to this icon of Little Havana. Example: One day last summer Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Cuban American National Foundation executive director Joe Garcia happened to be there for lunch. Not at the same table, of course. (To call them el exilio rivals would be an understatement.) Without warning or provocation, and in front of about 100 awed but not surprised diners, Diaz-Balart unleashed a very loud tirade from across the dining room. Garcia, he shouted, was a "traitor" to the exile cause. Witnesses say Garcia responded to Diaz-Balart's finger-pointing outburst by sharing a laugh with his tablemates and digging back into his plate. Diaz-Balart and his entourage then stormed out. Only in Miami? Sure. But at Versailles? Often.