Snackdown: Little Havana vs. Coral Gables

Over the next few weeks, Short Order will pair eight Miami-Dade neighborhoods in a "Snackdown". This is the third entry. Today pits Little Havana against Coral Gables. Which one is the better neighborhood for dining?

Read our arguments and VOTE! Tweet it. Facebook it. Google+ it. Comment.

For north of the county line, visit our sister blog, Clean Plate Charlie, and vote for your favorites during its Food Town Throwdown.

Little Havana

One of the best things about Little Havana is that you won't find many tourists outside Domino Park. Rough around the edges, sure, but restauranteurs of the area know exactly how to keep us coming back.

It offers tons of regional cuisine variety (that's right, I said it, you skeptics). One may immediately think our first argument would include a place offering Latin food - but no. Hy Vong, the Thai Vietnamese joint smack in the middle of Latino City, has a loyal following that's close to cult status. Never mind about the cult though - it's the dining we're interested in here. Bitch about waiting in line if you dare but rest assured that pho and ginger tongue you're about to order will settle all your bitchy problems from here on out.

A Miami favorite, Catharis, calls Little Havana home, too. Be it the homemade croquetas or the churassco a la parilla with caramelized onions... hot damn... our mouth is watering right now. It's a lunch and dinner spot that can't beat your Latin (and a splash of Italian) cravings.

Could there really be a king of the frita out there? No need to ponder further because one exists and he cooks at El Rey de Las Fritas everyday of the week. The sweet crunchy decadence of a Cuban "burger" washed down with a batido de mamey... ay ay ayy... somebody get us some oxygen stat!

And don't forget the classics, El Pub, Versailles, and La Carreta. You want Cuban food? Oye, you want Miami. Deliciousness (and parking!) on the cheap... it doesn't get better than home sweet Little Havana.

Coral Gables

It's time to pull out the big guns. We mentioned it first in our Mid Beach vs. Downtown snackdown, but we're gonna bring it back, and bring it back with vengeance.

Hey, Little Havana, do you have a Chopped Champion running around nearby? No need to respond, we all know the answer. 'Tis right folks, Coral Gables is home (albeit temporary) to its most recent addition, Eating House. The bangin' pop-up has pleased just about every lost soul that's strolled in. It's said their dishes are if not comparable, far better than sex. One of our very own from the Short Order team even caught a woman romancing her bone marrow there one night. Excuse us, we think we need a personal break.

Sex aside, there's much more to The Gables than meets the eye. An all-time favorite among many our residents, Randazzo's offers solid, homey Italian food right off of Miracle Mile. With a sizable parking lot across the street and Sunday Gravy Pasta (don't get grossed out, they just mean tomato sauce), we don't mind the longish haul it takes to get to The Gables just for this.

Outstanding [far beyond] notable mentions for The Gables won't stop there, though. Route 9, Patagonia, Pascal's on Ponce, and Caffe Abracci are spots we'd be silly to leave out.

Coral Gables may seem like it's an area for pricier nights out, and while that statement isn't entirely false, who wouldn't want to spend a little extra on spectacular food far off the beaten path of the typical Miami scene?

Follow Short Order on Facebook and Twitter @Short_Order.

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