Best Cuban Restaurant Miami 2010 - Las Culebrinas
4700 W. Flagler St.
Coral Gables, FL 33134
Readers' Choice: Versailles
Eat at a Cuban restaurant and expect big portions. It's never just a palomilla steak; it's always some kind of gazelle on a plate. In this respect, Las Culebrinas doesn't disappoint. You'll get enough to satisfy a recently arrived, starved balsero. But it's in the execution where you'll get your money's worth here. Cuban food is typically pedestrian; there's only so much you can do with beans and rice. Maybe add some capers to the beans, or get adventuresome with the seasoning; it'll taste good no matter your skill level in the kitchen. But this locally owned mesón — which has locations on SW 27th Avenue, on West Flagler, in Pinecrest, and in Hialeah — serves a staple like vaca frita ($12.95) over a bed of fufu, AKA mashed plantains. Or try something sticky such as pork chunks ($12.95) on a cool bed of avocado sauce. It's a mix of flavors that shouldn't work yet feels as homey as Cuban Spanglish. Las Culebrinas also serves tapas. These aren't bite-size meals, though. Tread carefully if you're a light eater, because these aren't your abuelita's tapas. Las Culebrinas is for all those times when you've finished your saucer of fried garbanzos (here sautéed over sliced ham) ($7.50) or that queso Manchego (in robust portions here) ($7.95). Leave it to Cubans to do justice to a Spanish tradition.