Coral Way Brings the Flavors of the World to Miami, Part Three

Barrel-top tables at Bocaito
Barrel-top tables at Bocaito
Laurie Charles

See also Coral Way Brings the Flavors of the World to Miami, Part 1 and Coral Way Brings the Flavors of the World to Miami, Part 2.

You don't have to go far from the Uruguayan Zuperpollo to reach the neighboring Bistro 1401, about two blocks west, for an Argentine culinary experience.

You can sit outside beneath a red awning and watch cars drive along one of the oldest streets in Miami as you enjoy dishes like provoleta, melted gratin Provolone cheese; milanesa, breaded meat; and entraña Argentina, skirt steak.

Across the street from Bistro 1401, those looking for a Caribbean delight can enjoy classic Cuban dishes like congri, black beans and rice; tostones, fried green plantains; and bistec de palomilla, thinly cut steak, at Latin American.

About one block west, you can experience the flavors of Italy at Piccola Italia. The green, red and white sign greets customers into the small restaurant that serves typical Italian dishes including pizza, pasta alfredo, chicken pargmigiana, and Cesar salad.

Piccola Italia and the temporarily Closed Old Lisbon
Piccola Italia and the temporarily Closed Old Lisbon
Laurie Charles

For the tastes of Portugal, those on a food journey have

to walk just a few feet from Piccola Italia right next door to Old

Lisbon. Although the restaurant is currently closed due to a fire that

took place on September 11, 2011, you can take a detour to its second location on Sunset Drive and 58th Avenue.

There you can enjoy Portuguese dishes like balcalhau asado na brasa, grilled Norwegian codfish served with steamed potatoes, olive oil, garlic and onions, or camarão ao alho, shrimp in garlic sauce.


finished experiencing the flavors of Portugal, take an excursion back

to Coral Way and have dessert at Middle East Best Food.


the street from Piccola Italia and the temporarily closed Old Lisbon, Middle East Best Food is known for its sweet creations like baklava, layered philo dough with nuts and honey.


not a dine-in restaurant, Middle East Best Food offers catering

services that serve typical Middle Eastern foods like falafel, chick pea

fritters, lamb, hummus, and tabouleh, tomato, parsley and bulgar salad, all made by owner Aziz Ali himself.

Signs claiming "No deposit, no lamb" and images of Israel at Middle East Best Market
Signs claiming "No deposit, no lamb" and images of Israel at Middle East Best Market
Laurie Charles



a few yards west, past Jorge's Pharmacy and Work of Art Gallery, you

will quickly be transported from the Middle East back to South America.

Chanchamayo Peruvian Restaurant, named after the Peruvian village, offers authentic dishes including papa a la huancaina, sliced potatoes covered with cream of cheese milk, lomo salteado, fried beef mixed with onion, tomato, and French fries, and ceviche, seafood marinated in lemon and red chili.

About one block from Chanchamayo is the Spanish restaurant Bocaito.


is one of the many Spanish restaurants in the area in addition to Xixon

and Meson Ria de Vigo that reflect Spanish influence in Miami.


large wine barrels with high-top stools serve as tables; framed

portraits of Spain scatter the burgundy wall that faces the entrance

door. Bottles of wine and olive oil decorate the refrigerated glass

display of Spanish desserts including crema Catalana, pudding topped with burnt sugar and flan.

A marble-top tapas bar showcases the collection of croquetas de bacalado, cod croquettes, piquillos relleños con bacalado, peppers stuffed with codfish, patatas relleñas con atun, potatoes stuffed with tuna, and Manchego cheese.

The concept of the restaurant is tapas," said Diego Castilla in Spanish, the owner of Bocaito.

Tapas bar at Bocaito
Tapas bar at Bocaito
Laurie Charles


Bocaito is only two years old, Castilla has been in the restaurant

business over 30 years. Originally from Andalucía, Spain, Castilla lived

in New York for 15 years where he opened four Italian restaurants. He

moved to Miami 15 years ago and also owns Casa Mia Trattoria in North Miami.

It's [been] a sacrifice," Castilla said.

Castilla said the restaurant's small atmosphere gives him the chance to get to know his customers well.


Further west on Coral Way, past Our Lady of Lebanon Church and small mom-and-pop shops, is Monserrate Restaurant.


restaurant is reminiscent of a Colombian tavern with mahogany tables,

two wooden full liquor bars and Spanish music playing in the background.

Abdel Morales manages the restaurant.

"This was the first Colombian restaurant in Miami," Morales said in Spanish.


its debut, Arturo and Clara Lopez, Morales's in-laws and the restaurant

owners, branched out to Doral and moved the original Monserrate from

Little Havana to their current location in Coral Way almost two years



Monserrate has been in business for almost 40 years, Morales is new to

the industry. He left a 25-year directing career at Telemundo and

Univision to help his in-laws manage the restaurant.

"My career was very hectic," Morales said.

His father-in-law advised him to leave television and take on the restaurant business.

"I left it all for the kids," Morales said.

Morales's dedication to his kids is a characteristic the restaurant prides itself in: family.


wife, Clara Morales, was born the same year the restaurant opened,"

Morales said. "She grew up in the restaurant. Clients would bring their

kids to the restaurant [whom were his wife's age at the time] and now

those kids bring their kids."

Wine selection at Monserrate
Wine selection at Monserrate
Laurie Charles

In addition to serving Colombian food, such as ajiaco santafereño,

a Colombian style chicken soup that Morales said clients solely come in

for. Moserrate also serves the community; the restaurant is a member of

the Lions Club International, a community service organization.

We have donated food to religious retreats," Morales said. "We are in the transition of becoming more than just a restaurant."

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Use Current Location

Related Locations

Xixon Spanish Cuisine

2101 SW 22 St.
Coral Gables, FL 33145


Old Lisbon Restaurant

1698 Coral Way
Miami, FL 33145


Middle East Best Food

1715 SW Coral Way
Coral Gables, FL 33145


Restaurante Monserrate

2093 Coral Way
Coral Gables, FL 33145


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