The Cuban sandwich. Just the mention la isla's one-time staple makes salivary glands go into overdrive. Its simple ingredients -- pork, ham, cheese, mustard, Cuban bread and pickles -- make for a surprisingly complex flavor.
But there is a plethora of ways to prepare
and serve the Cuban. Some prefer slices of ham, while others shred pork
legs to provide the literal meat of the sandwich. Some use the
traditional Swiss cheese, while others even top the sandwich with brie.
Miami, being basically an extension of Cuba, has plenty of
places that have added their own touch on the Cuban mainstay.
Here are some of the best this city has to offer.
5. Tinta y Cafe
The self-described "coffee house y mas" keeps patrons happy and coming
back with 13 different sandwiches de la patria, Tinta's
take on the traditional Cuban sandwich features the usual ingredients
of ham, pork, cheese, pickles and mustard. Selections vary according to
the meat -- usually ham, pork and/or turkey -- and type of bread. La noche
entera ($6.50 small, $8.50 regular) is served on sweet bread and the guajiro ($6.50, $8.75) features ham, Swiss
cheese and Tinta's special mojo de la casa sauce. Other than variations
on the Cuban, Tinta y Cafe also features a delectable sandwich called el
gallego ($6.50, $9.25), which includes cantimpalo (cured chorizo Spanish sausage) and
manchego, a cheese made in the La Mancha region of Spain from the milk
of Manchega sheep.4. Padrino's
story of the Padrino family reads much like the quintessential Cuban
exile success story, and their restaurant right on the Broward County line in Hallandale just a few blocks from the ocean oozes with the quintessential Cuban taste. First
opened in Hialeah at the height of the Cuban exodus in 1976, the restaurant eventually expanded to three Broward locations and a popular
Orlando bistro. Here the most popular variation on the Cuban sandwich is
the lechon asado ($6.95), a type of Cuban-style marinated roast pork with
grilled onions. They also have the traditional Cuban ($5.95), served with ham,
sliced roast pork, swiss cheese and pickles, and the media noche ($5.95) on a
golden egg roll.3. Versailles
into this well-known Calle Ocho hangout, you'd think they were giving
away food. Patrons -- tourists and locals alike -- pack it near full capacity at all times of the
day. Not much has changed here since this dineresque gathering place
became the social center for Cuban exiles in June of 1971. They
still serve a wide selection of sandwiches, omelets, salads and soups
that centers around the Cuban sandwich. What they proclaim as "our
famous Cuban Sandwich" ($5.95) is sweet ham, roast pork, Swiss cheese on a
toasted Cuban bread with mustard and pickles. The Calle Ocho special ($7.95)
adds turkey, bacon, lettuce and tomatoes and the "Versailles Especial" ($7.50)
tosses Spanish sausage into the mix. You can sit at one of the over 100
tables or just grab a bite at the lunch counter, which is often lined
with sociable patrons.
is no secret here -- most anyone who has even drives by Enriqueta's knows
it serves one of the best Cuban sandwiches not just in Miami, but on
the entire planet. Current owner, Jose Luis Pla, drew inspiration for
the menu from the cooking styles of his native Matanzas, Cuba. The Cuban
here ($5.75) features many variations Some folks order the midnight Cuban, which serves
ham & roast pork on a slightly sweeter bread and is topped with
papitas (shoestring potato fries) mustard, mozzarella, mayonnaise and a
thinly sliced pair of pickle strips. Enriqueta's is also known for its
delicious breakfast selections, which they serve all day.1. Bin No. 18
does Bin No. 18 top our list of highly esteemed Cuban sandwiches?
Simply nowhere does more go into the traditional Cuban staple for a mere $6.95.
Chef/owner Alfredo Patino, the former chef at the South Beach
Ritz-Carlton, opened this self-described "European roadside" cafe in 2004
and introduced what he called the deconstructed Cuban sandwich - an open face miracle on ciabatta bread called pan tumaca that originates in
northern Spain. The bread is prepared by toasting it, then rubbing
garlic, olive oil and fresh tomato on the inside. The front legs of the
pigs roast six hours in mojo sauce and onions before being shredded into
thin strips. The resulting meat is put on the tumaca with French triple
cream (creamy brie) and baked, served with a delectable fig and port wine
reduction sauce and dijon cream sauce. Customers often add sriracha. Known for its wine selection, Bin No. 18 also
features daily specials; Tuesday its 50 percent off wine bottles, Monday
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$6 mussels and Wednesday free champagne from 7 to 9 p.m. If you want to
avoid a wait, make sure nothing is happening at the nearby Adrienne Arsht