The Brazilian diaspora is all over town now, but its most marvelous manifestations are often hiding in places off the beaten path. Like that ultrasmooth Rio de Janeiro-style wax job inside your new girlfriend's old jeans. Or singer Rose Max's euphoria-inducing sets in candlelit bars, beyond the glare of thumping nightclubs. Cypo Café is also tucked away, although its purpose is to bring you pleasure in broad daylight. The owners, from the state of Minas Gerais in Brazil's heartland, moved into the heart of a Shell gas station at 71st Street and Abbott Avenue in North Beach about two years ago, where they set up culinary shop. The cramped café has only a few tables, which is why customers tend to call in and carry out the variety of platos tipicos on the Cypo menu. A daily special rotation includes muqueca de peixe (fish in a coconut, tomato, and pepper sauce); bobo de camarao (shrimp in a coconut, tomato, and creamed yuca sauce), frango com quiabo (chicken with okra, served with cornmeal purée), feijoada (black beans with pork, served with rice collard greens and fresh orange), and meat and mushroom stroganoff. Plates are a very reasonable $7 to $10 each.

Cypo Cafe
The Brazilian diaspora is all over town now, but its most marvelous manifestations are often hiding in places off the beaten path. Like that ultrasmooth Rio de Janeiro-style wax job inside your new girlfriend's old jeans. Or singer Rose Max's euphoria-inducing sets in candlelit bars, beyond the glare of thumping nightclubs. Cypo Café is also tucked away, although its purpose is to bring you pleasure in broad daylight. The owners, from the state of Minas Gerais in Brazil's heartland, moved into the heart of a Shell gas station at 71st Street and Abbott Avenue in North Beach about two years ago, where they set up culinary shop. The cramped café has only a few tables, which is why customers tend to call in and carry out the variety of platos tipicos on the Cypo menu. A daily special rotation includes muqueca de peixe (fish in a coconut, tomato, and pepper sauce); bobo de camarao (shrimp in a coconut, tomato, and creamed yuca sauce), frango com quiabo (chicken with okra, served with cornmeal purée), feijoada (black beans with pork, served with rice collard greens and fresh orange), and meat and mushroom stroganoff. Plates are a very reasonable $7 to $10 each.

There's not a molten chocolate cake (the tired dessert that has been erupting on restaurant tables since the late 1990s) anywhere in sight here. Just an inventive variety of goodies including a giant cloud of cotton candy accompanied by truffle-filled popcorn balls; pints of handmade ice cream and bowls of hot fudge, nuts, and cherries to make your own sundae; an Eiffel Tower-tall chocolate layer cake; and the one retro-style sweet that is rarely seen on any menu but begs for a comeback: baked Alaska. At Barton G, though, the toasted meringue and ice cream concoction is called the Freedom Chimp, a nod to the restaurateur's beloved late pet Sabrina and to the sparkling chocolate simian that cheerfully announces the dessert's arrival at your table.

Barton G. the Restaurant
Max Shapovalov
There's not a molten chocolate cake (the tired dessert that has been erupting on restaurant tables since the late 1990s) anywhere in sight here. Just an inventive variety of goodies including a giant cloud of cotton candy accompanied by truffle-filled popcorn balls; pints of handmade ice cream and bowls of hot fudge, nuts, and cherries to make your own sundae; an Eiffel Tower-tall chocolate layer cake; and the one retro-style sweet that is rarely seen on any menu but begs for a comeback: baked Alaska. At Barton G, though, the toasted meringue and ice cream concoction is called the Freedom Chimp, a nod to the restaurateur's beloved late pet Sabrina and to the sparkling chocolate simian that cheerfully announces the dessert's arrival at your table.

BEST PLACE TO DINE DURING A HURRICANE

S&S Diner

The chatty waitress with the raspberry rinse brags to whomever will listen that she made $385 working her shift during Hurricane Andrew. Yolanda may be full of stories but we know she doesn't lie. The classic diner that reaches back to the Thirties recently won historic designation, so you can count on the walls to withstand yet another wailing gale from the tropics. Every day they withstand the blustery tales told over breakfasts that originate with the classic diner's very own storm -- the feisty and lovable Hurricane Yoli.

BEST PLACE TO DINE DURING A HURRICANE

S&S Diner

S&S Diner
The chatty waitress with the raspberry rinse brags to whomever will listen that she made $385 working her shift during Hurricane Andrew. Yolanda may be full of stories but we know she doesn't lie. The classic diner that reaches back to the Thirties recently won historic designation, so you can count on the walls to withstand yet another wailing gale from the tropics. Every day they withstand the blustery tales told over breakfasts that originate with the classic diner's very own storm -- the feisty and lovable Hurricane Yoli.

In addition to an expansive, stylish sit-down restaurant, Norman Van Aken's new Latin-influenced global brasserie Mundo has a sort of secret space: Tucked to one side is a limited but growing take-out market. Van Aken is, of course, the recipe mastermind. But the hands-on magician in the Mercado's kitchen is manager Marsha Orosco -- and her daily changing selection of prepared savories and sweets, while small, is simply scrumptious. Since the Mercado closes at 7:30 p.m., however, well before the restaurant, it is wise to shop before dinner even though schlepping a bulging grocery bag to your table may not be glam. The slight loss of cool will seem like nothing when lunch the next day is a sandwich of ham painted with a tangy/sweet guava and black pepper glaze, accompanied by smoky charred corn salad; or perhaps a container of vatapa, a nutty Brazilian stew packed with seafood, enriched with coconut milk, and enlivened by citrus.

In addition to an expansive, stylish sit-down restaurant, Norman Van Aken's new Latin-influenced global brasserie Mundo has a sort of secret space: Tucked to one side is a limited but growing take-out market. Van Aken is, of course, the recipe mastermind. But the hands-on magician in the Mercado's kitchen is manager Marsha Orosco -- and her daily changing selection of prepared savories and sweets, while small, is simply scrumptious. Since the Mercado closes at 7:30 p.m., however, well before the restaurant, it is wise to shop before dinner even though schlepping a bulging grocery bag to your table may not be glam. The slight loss of cool will seem like nothing when lunch the next day is a sandwich of ham painted with a tangy/sweet guava and black pepper glaze, accompanied by smoky charred corn salad; or perhaps a container of vatapa, a nutty Brazilian stew packed with seafood, enriched with coconut milk, and enlivened by citrus.

A couple of croquetas from Sergio's are a meal all by themselves. They're not the bite-size variety found at typical Spanish bakeries. But that's not what makes them the best. To begin with, let's acknowledge that a wiener-shaped conglomerate of ground, breaded, fried ham byproduct isn't the most complicated dish within the culinary arts, though simple things often yield the greatest pleasures. So the only trick is to not screw it up, which Sergio's never does. First they grind the cooking ham to its finest consistency; this is so the meat mix inside forms a smooth paste, no chunks. Then ingredients such as grated onions, peppers, and most important, plenty of garlic are added. Finally the croquetas are deep-fried in virgin olive oil. And if you have a midnight craving during the weekend, you don't have to wait till the next day to enjoy them. Sergio's is open 24 hours from Friday to Sunday.

Sergio's
A couple of croquetas from Sergio's are a meal all by themselves. They're not the bite-size variety found at typical Spanish bakeries. But that's not what makes them the best. To begin with, let's acknowledge that a wiener-shaped conglomerate of ground, breaded, fried ham byproduct isn't the most complicated dish within the culinary arts, though simple things often yield the greatest pleasures. So the only trick is to not screw it up, which Sergio's never does. First they grind the cooking ham to its finest consistency; this is so the meat mix inside forms a smooth paste, no chunks. Then ingredients such as grated onions, peppers, and most important, plenty of garlic are added. Finally the croquetas are deep-fried in virgin olive oil. And if you have a midnight craving during the weekend, you don't have to wait till the next day to enjoy them. Sergio's is open 24 hours from Friday to Sunday.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®