Sala'o Cuban Bar & Pescadería Channels Ernest Hemingway in Little Havana
Sala'o Cuban Bar & Pescadería

Sala'o Cuban Bar & Pescadería Channels Ernest Hemingway in Little Havana

Fans of Ernest Hemingway and Cuban fare can have both when Sala'o Cuban Bar & Pescadería opens this month in Little Havana. It comes courtesy of the founders of Old Havana Cuban Bar & Cocina, a neighborhood staple located a few blocks away.

Eliesteban Mena and Oscar Rodriguez say the 2,300-square-foot restaurant has been designed to transport guests to 1940s Cuba while channeling Hemingway's home. Cozy yet opulent, the eatery is adorned with crystal chandeliers, marble accents, and wood finishes.

The name "Sala’o" comes from the classic novel The Old Man and the Sea. Hemingway spent many years in Cuba, which inspired Mena and Rodriguez to create an eatery that pays homage to the writer.

Sala’o is set to open this month. For their Cuban bar and pescadería, Mena and Rodriguez searched for a chef who could fuse Caribbean seafood flavors with modern, homestyle cooking. They found Cuban chef Jorge Mas.

"We want our dishes to bring memories," Mena says. "The menu is inspired by a small fishing village in Cojímar, Cuba, where Ernest Hemingway used to keep his boat."

Living up to its name, the pescadería will offer a raw bar, where fresh fish will be delivered daily from the Florida Keys. Offerings include familiar dishes such as oysters and ceviche, while more traditional items can be found in the salpicón de mar, a seafood salad with onions, peppers, and capers; and the swordfish escabeche, a dish of pickled fried fish flavored with pimentón de la vera, onions, and bell pepper ($4 to $13.50).

The menu also offers appetizers, salads, rice dishes, and a dozen seafood and meat entrées. Don't miss the harina con cangrejo — a Cuban cornmeal stew prepared enchiliada'o, or enchilada-style, where fresh crabmeat is added to a peppery sofrito with a touch of hot sauce, sprinkled with lime juice, and poured over creamy cornmeal porridge ($19).

A 30-foot bar will specialize in classic Cuban cocktails and offer 15 seats, where guests can enjoy the restaurant's live Cuban-inspired modern music on an elevated wooden stage.

Sala’o Cuban Bar & Pescadería. 1642 SW Eighth St., Miami; salaorestaurant.com. Opening late April 2019.

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