The all-American chain offering the quintessential Cuban sandwich? If it's not quite as classic an oxymoron as "jumbo shrimp," it soon could be, provided it survives the taste test. General response we've heard from the general public is that hey, it ain't bad. The novelty quotient is high enough to keep sandwich cubano in stock at the drive-thru for now, but don't look for it to be dethroned by Big Macs at Versailles.
Forget about St. Pauli Girl. Switch to San Noy, which means young girl in English. This pilsner is not only more delicious but also "ring gold" in color and "morning fresh," according to the menu notes. It is one of six types of beer brewed at this miraculous eatery featuring indoor and outdoor seating. If you feel like a sweeter exotic taste, try the Thai Woman (Ying Thai), a brown rice bock that is "malty." Also on that side of the spectrum is a Cheers (Chai Yo), a light bock made from corn, and Flower (Dog Mai), an amber-colored wheat. Serious beer connoisseurs will delight in the copper-colored and hoppy Chang Mai, which is named after a city in northern Thailand, and the Rutting Elephant (Chang Baah), a dark bock. If you're feeling really heady, you can order one of the Orchid's beer cocktails, such as the Dancing Lady: brown bock mixed with orange juice and allspice. Taps run till 10:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 11:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Forget the goofy name. Roasters, as it's called by most customers, is hard-core, straight-up deli fare. Breakfast is an array of the basics: thick French toast, eggs (or egg whites, perhaps), toast, bagels, lox, and such, all accompanied by orange juice squeezed fresh. The lunch menu features meaty deli sandwiches and the best matzo-ball soup around. The restaurant's owners strive to make their deli a place where locals can gather and feel among friends, sort of what the late lamented Wolfie's was like in Miami Beach in its heyday 35 years ago. Roasters has succeeded spectacularly. It's where Kendall and Pinecrest come to nosh.
Despite the name, Hernandez looks like an old-fashioned neighborhood butcher shop, a mom-and-pop operation bordering an industrial neighborhood in Hialeah. Nothing very notable about the place. Except that the best roast pork on the planet can be had there. You have to call or visit ahead of time and tell them what kind of pig you want: A 40-pounder? 60-pounder? Bigger? A 100-pounder? No problem. Then tell them when you would like the pig to be ready: Next Saturday? Sunday? Fine. On that day, all you have to do is keep your eyes from popping out at the gorgeous, bronzed porker they'll slide out of their bread oven for you, drenched in mojo, face down, spread eagle on a large metal tray. Crackly, crunchy skin on the outside. Moist, piping-hot meat on the inside. Take it home. Feed a hundred people. Tell them you cooked it yourself. Squeal with delight.

Humble chickpeas are transformed by the application of secret spices, herbs, and the old Khoury family magic. But don't ask chef/owner Maroun Khoury for the recipe. Over his many years in the business he's developed a reputation in that regard for being a Lebanese version of the Soup Nazi. So just plunk down $3.99 for an appetizer order, maybe with some hummus on the side, and enjoy this crisply fried treat. Hours: 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday; till 11:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 1:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Sunday.
The empanada is to many South American countries what the cheeseburger is to heartland America: the most popular grab-and-go meal and a cultural icon. These fried or baked dough pockets stuffed with a variety of meat or vegetable fillings are abundant at bakeries all around Miami, but few establishments serve them as fresh and authentically Argentine as Confiteria Buenos Aires Bakery & Café. The fried, ground-beef version (jazzed up with bits of hard-boiled egg, green olive, and spices) is the winner. Its baked cousins -- available with chicken, spinach, or ham and cheese -- with their flaky crusts, are equally delectable. Take a dozen home for the family. Better yet, linger inside this warm and bustling café and have them with a Quilmes (Argentine beer) while enjoying the swirl of activity created by the Bonarense transplants who flock here for a taste of home. Open daily from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Maybe it's the seasoning that's developed from years of repeated cooking on the grill and in cast-iron pots that makes the food at Shorty's taste so good. If the crowds of hungry patrons lined up at all hours outside the log-cabin-looking Dadeland eatery are any indication, the restaurant, founded in 1951, continues to dish out the same lip-smacking chicken and ribs it always has. Various combinations of meat and poultry are offered, but for those not inclined to the juicy, Flintstone-size slabs, a selection of substantial sandwiches beckons. Barbecue beef or pork, chargrilled chicken breast, and tender beef brisket are served on a bun, accompanied by crinkle-cut French fries (creamy coleslaw dotted with zingy celery seed comes with the brisket). A sweetish red barbecue sauce or a smoky-brown homemade mixture provides embellishment. Baked beans, potatoes (sweet and white), garlic bread, and perfectly cooked ears of corn (plain or drenched in butter) are among the starchy sides. With courteous, efficient service and grub this good, Shorty's is bound to be around another half-century.
Fernando Lopez is an artist. He writes screenplays and sculpts, and he believes someday he'll make it as a filmmaker. But seven years ago his wife Belkis talked him into opening a juice shop, and that has provided a living for the couple and their three young children. Fernando's artistic sensibilities and Belkis's culinary talents have also made their little restaurant a popular stop for the work-week crowd that appreciates lunchtime specials such as turkey peccadillo and veggie lasagna. The storefront café gives off a time-capsuled Seventies vibe, thanks in part to Fernando's colorful artwork on the walls and the aroma of steaming vegetables and tamari. But also featured on the menu are luscious smoothies and vegetable-juice combos to cure every ill, from arthritis and acne to indigestion and impotence. And if you don't know what ails you or just what you need, Fernando is not shy about making an instant diagnosis. Open for breakfast and lunch, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

What's the most vital thing needed in a health-food store? Great cookies! Whole Foods' cookies are fashionably huge but also full of the natural ingredients natural women and men crave, like butter. Chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin are fab, but the chewy sugar cookies are especially addictive. Incidentally, the store's other stock is superior too: a mammoth selection of crisp fruits and veggies, including local and hard-to-find produce like frisee, plus organic seeds and herb plants, sparkling fresh fish, top-brand poultry, and meats both usual and unusual (buffalo burgers). There is kid-friendly health food such as Fran's fun frozen line of fish and chicken nibbles shaped like starfish and dinosaurs, and a selection of esoteric wines and beers that would do an upscale specialty liquor store proud. Also available: a huge choice of vitamins and natural cosmetics at very fair prices, as well as a prepared-foods department featuring dishes that not only look drop-dead gorgeous but taste great. Even the tofu! But really, it's the cookies that count.

Man does not live by bread alone. But if he did, he'd do it here. Rosemary bread. Onion rye. San Francisco sourdough. Sesame semolina. Raisin pecan. And more. Baked fresh every day and laid out in heaping piles on a metal rack for your perusing and consuming pleasure. Get thee to this bakery. Life is short.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®