Wife (New Orleans) and I (Santiago) rendezvoused in Miami. She came in with some recommendations from Big Easy Chefs. Tried them, but settled into Talvera on our own - and it became home. Our favorites - unique cilantro lemonade, great drinks (the spicy mescal one is my favorite), tortilla soup (cilantro), Coloradito mole, huaraches, and steak "Don Guillermo" with huitlacoche (OK, I ate there a lot). She returned to New Orleans with a recommendation for the chefs there (go to Talvera) and I returned to Santiago with plans to go back to Talavera!
Best Mexican Restaurant Miami 2010 - Talavera Cocina Mexicana
2299 Ponce de Leon Blvd.
Coral Gables, FL 33134
Talavera is newer, prettier, and more refined than the sort of Mexican dives we like to think of as authentic. But partners Eduardo "Lalo" Durazo, Martin Moreno, and chef Oscar Del Rivero (the Jaguar Ceviche Spoon Bar & Latam Grill team) come from Mexico City, and many of the recipes used here derive directly from family and country — though they are a bit more polished in presentation. Like the guacamole: a mash of ripe avocados with cilantro, lime juice, and Serrano chilies, topped with queso fresco crumbles and fried pork rinds (and served with homemade flour tortillas). As we say, a little gussied up, but good. So is the signature huarache grill: sandal-shaped corn masa cakes capped with black beans, goat cheese, salsa verde, and choice of grilled steak, chicken, or fish marinated with guajillo chili rub. There are enchiladas, chiles rellenos, tacos, tortas, ceviches, moles, and more, all defined by fresh, bright flavors; just about everything is under $20. Weekday lunch specials bring a choice of more than a dozen selections for $12. Margaritas are an affordable $8. Other beverages to consider are Mexican beers, lime-spruced michaladas, eclectic wines (most bottles $18 to $34), and a scintillating lemonade sparkling with cilantro. Service sparkles as well. Talavera is an authentically wonderful Mexican restaurant from head to huarache.