Jamon Jamon Jamon Brings Tapas Back to Spain

The ground floor of the Miami River's trendy Neo Lofts is not where you would expect to find a traditional Spanish restaurant. But just when you are about to give up on this city, Miami pulls through with a low-key, genuine eatery.

The recently opened Jamón Jamón Jamón is no Design District take on tapas. It's simply Spanish tapas. There are no bacon-wrapped dates on the limited menu -- simply uncomplicated plates such as the Manchego cheese and serrano ham platter.

The Spanish authenticity begins the moment you enter. Pigs' legs hang from the ceiling like ornaments. They add to the romantic ambiance created by the wooden furniture and burgundy hues. The space smells of meat and wine. And the oversize high tables are perfect for sharing meals as well as stories. After diners are seated, the chef pops out of the kitchen to welcome everyone. And Short Order is pretty sure the small mustached chef is the man portrayed as a cartoon on the front door and the menu's cover.

Freshly baked bread slices and olive oil are served immediately. The server recommended the croquetas de bacalao (cod croquettes), which arrived with a sweet marinara dipping sauce, and the chorizo platter. Both dishes were comparable to tapas served in Barcelona. We then ordered the cochinillo (roast suckling pig), lamb chops, and calamari paella made with arroz negro (black rice prepared with squid ink). We split the entrées among the guests at the table. Every plate was scraped clean in minutes. And the best part of meal: Six people dined in the city of Miami and shared a bottle of

Cabernet Sauvignon for $150. And no, Jamón Jamón Jamón is not

participating in Miami Spice.

Patrons can bring in their own wine bottles. There is a $15 corkage fee.

Jamón Jamón Jamón has attentive and friendly servers and traditionally prepared, tasty, and

reasonably priced food. Hurry and visit before Miami's

trendsetters mark their territory and velvet ropes pop up outside.

Jamón Jamón Jamón

10 SW South River Dr., Miami

305- 324-1111

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