As you drive on SW Eighth Street toward the hub of Calle Ocho, there's one building in particular that lets you know you're almost at the epicenter of Miami's Cuban culture. On your left-hand side near Sixth Avenue stands a structure with a white roof and orange walls. Its towering sign featuring a prominent palm tree attracts the eye. La Palma Restaurant (not to be confused with one by the same name in Coral Gables) is a 37-year-old establishment that serves your abuela's homestyle Cuban cooking. Try the lechón asado. It comes with rice and beans as well as yuca for $8.50. Every day features three specials. Favorites are Monday's carne con papas ($8.95), Wednesday's tamal en cazuela con maduro ($5.99), and Sunday's chicken and rice ($8.50). For the most popular dessert, check out the churro y chocolate ($2). While other restaurants remodel their menus or interior designs, La Palma keeps things classic and homey. It even serves food in red plastic baskets. The coffees and hot chocolates come in thick white ceramic mugs that are just warm enough to the touch. Hipster cutting boards and Mason jars, get outta here.
Readers' choice: Versailles Restaurant