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Molina's Ranch Restaurant

So you're tired of all those Little Havana joints where the tourists go? Try Molina's, with branches in West Dade and Hialeah — the real Cuban Miami. This place feels like old Havana with a touch of Miami cool. The day we were there recently, nobody spoke English. It was ungodly clean and perfect. The food was hot, the batidos cold, and the cafecitos clearly some mix of rocket jet fuel and bilge water -- just the way we like it. A quarter chicken with plantains, fluffy rice, and hearty black beans is affordable, as is the picadillo, the ground-beef brilliance you must eat to get the full experience. But the reason you'll love Molina's isn't the food. It's how you'll feel after downing that last spoonful. Here, at the American version of la isla, is a cool out-of-country experience available nowhere else in the world. La Cuba de su alma — the Cuba of your soul.

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