Lists

The Five Best Places for Mofongo in Miami

Miami has beaches, babes, booze-filled nights, and the best Latin-based comida you’ll find in the nation. However, the Magic City's shine is dulled by its lack of Puerto Rican offerings. In comparison to Miami’s lengthy list of superlative Cuban joints, restos catering to all things boricua fall short.

It’s not as if Miamians can roam the cobblestone streets of Old San Juan, past the city of Fajardo and the far reaches of Culebra to find multiple restaurants — really good restaurants — all within arm's reach. To find abuela-approved Puerto Rican fare in the 305, you have to search deep within the trenches of places like Calle Ocho and Hialeah to discover gems that remain true to their roots by using a combination of Spanish, West African, Caribbean, and American influences in their cooking. And there’s no other plato that encompasses all of that and more than mofongo, a sizable mashed mound of fried green plantains mixed with vegetables, seafood or meat, garlic, and other bold flavors.

Below are five of the best restaurants that proudly boast Puerto Rico’s unofficial national dish. No low-carb, heart-healthy options here. Just unforgettable variations of meaty, fatty, salty, and crunchy goodness you wish you had tried sooner. 
5. Pubbelly
Pubbelly has effortlessly brought the flavors and sensibility of Asia to Miami, but one of its shining items isn’t even Asian in origin; it’s Puerto Rican. The Pubbelly boys throw down a hearty serving of mofongo ($11) with huge chunks of (you guessed it) pork belly, splashed — more like dunked — in shoyu broth. It’s every bit as satisfying as it is flavorful. Complete your cross-cultural culinary experience by washing the dish down with a sake-infused cocktail.
4. Benny's Seafood
Served in small or large pilones (wooden mortars), the mofongo at Benny’s Seafood has people talking – even Guy Fieri. The celeb has featured the classic Puerto Rican restaurant on his show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and raved about Benny’s mofongo on The Best Thing I’ve Ever Ate. And it may very well be the best mofongo in Doral. Ranging from $8.95 to $25.95 depending upon size and combination, the signature dish is served with variations of seafood, fried chicken, fried pork, or beef steak. You can order it plain, but why be plain if you can be bold?
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Maureen Aimee Mariano is a freelance food writer for Miami New Times. She earned a bachelor of science in journalism from the University of Florida before making her way back to the 305, the city that first fueled her insatiable appetite.