Coral Way Brings the Flavors of the World to Miami, Part Three
Barrel-top tables at Bocaito
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
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
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
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
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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