The competition for Miami’s favorite fried food is nothing short of fierce. Seemingly endless variations and regional styles of the quintessential croqueta are sold from street carts, high-end restaurants, and beyond. They’re inescapable. Yet who would want to escape them?
Whether served for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack time, croquetas have long been an iconic fixture at meals. Forget having just one. After biting into the crisp golden-brown cylinder, stuffed with the perfect balance of protein and béchamel, you can't help but reach for another.
The 305 offers many celebrated croquetas in various flavors, shapes, sizes, textures, and methods of preparation, and all are worthy of recognition. But let's direct you to the very best. Hint: They're not all from Vicky Bakery.
The Bazaar by José Andrés1701 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
José Andrés is a humanitarian, a Nobel Prize nominee, and an author, but he's also one of the best chefs and restaurateurs alive today. Known for his whimsical and precise takes on classic dishes, Andrés offers two croquetas on the menu at his South Beach restaurant. The croqueta de pollo ($12) is creamy and addictive, but it's the croqueta de jamón ($13) that takes the prize. The chef uses Ibérico ham in his croquetas, which are fried to a golden hue.
Cafe La Trova971 SW Eighth St., Miami
At this celebration of Cuba, expect to find live music, cantineros shaking precision daiquiris, and chef Michelle Bernstein's paella croquetas. To make these delights, the kitchen prepares a full paella, complete with saffron, bomba rice, mussels, clams, and pink shrimp, all chopped finely enough to be tucked into two bites. A serving comes with a shot of seafood caldo and saffron aioli.
Chug's3444 Main Hwy., Miami
Chef Michael Beltran's Coconut Grove Cuban diner serves all manner of comfort food, but it's the croquetas ($1.99) that are the star of the show. Beltran doesn't reinvent the wheel with his classic ham croqueta — he just uses the best ingredients and makes every golden croqueta from scratch. Each one is made with freshly ground ham seasoned with the chef's personal blend of sazon completa made in-house. The croquetas are hand-rolled and breaded, and each batch takes four days to complete. That's a lot of work for the perfect bite.
Doce Provisions541 SW 12th Ave., Miami
Justin Sherrer’s Doce Provisions offers a tasty, locally sourced menu of Latin-style sandwiches and other gastropub fare. The shrimp po'boy tacos ($8) and lechón asado buns ($8) are indeed tempting, but you’re here for the chorizo croquetas ($6), packed until plump with Miami Smokers’ chorizo, mostaza, and queso fresco.
Dos Croquetas10505 Bird Rd., Miami
The beauty of Dos Croquetas is you don’t have to put much effort into procuring them. Let Miami’s first croqueta delivery company bring its handcrafted creations directly to your doorstep. The hard part comes in deciding which unconventional flavor you want: the 305, filled with Angus-style Cuban picadillo, plantains, and cheese; Mexican street corn; mac 'n' cheese and bacon; Buffalo crack chicken; Angus cheddar burger; or ham. If you can’t choose just one, Dame Mas ($13.49) lets you sample six flavors of the classic snack.
Enriqueta’s Sandwich Shop186 NE 29th St., Miami
The working crowds of Wynwood and midtown pile into this cafeteria for warm cups of café con leche and Miami’s best Cuban-style sandwiches. The famed cubano preparado con croquetas ($7) is one of them, which stuffs ham croquetas into a Cuban sandwich, made with ham, roast pork, melted Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard. However, Enriqueta’s deep-fried-to-order cylinders of goodness (80 cents each) can stand on their own. Insider tip: Ask for the croquetas made in-house.
Islas Canarias13695 SW 26th St., Miami
No croqueta joint is more worth standing in line for than the place that started it all in the '70s. Islas Canarias, which brought the croqueta revolution to Miami, is the expert at croqueta creation. The pinnacle is the classic ham croqueta ($1.06), a creamy mix of béchamel and smoky specks of pink ham covered in golden bread crumbs. Other croqueta options are chicken, fish, and beef.
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Palomilla Grill6890 W. Flagler St., Miami
Elevating this humble food is no easy feat. Leave it to the long-standing Palomilla Grill to show everyone how it's done. Crunch into mouthwatering ropa vieja ($6.95), goat cheese ($6.95), chorizo ($6.25), and ham ($4.95) croquetas for a taste of both tradition and evolution.
Sakaya Kitchen3401 N. Miami Ave., Miami
Traditionalists, beware. With every dish at Sakaya Kitchen, innovation is key. Enter specialties such as the spicy cheesy kalbi beef tater tots, a hot dog with kimchee, and the housemade dae ji spicy pork croquetas ($6). The Latin meal get an Asian twist, complete with a ginger-soy dipping sauce for optimal flavor.
Since 1975, Sergio’s has developed a following of croqueta fanatics across Miami-Dade and even Broward, with locations in Hialeah, Coral Gables, Doral, Kendall, Westchester, and Pembroke Pines. Its specialty is the ham croqueta (99 cents), deep-fried in extra-virgin olive oil. The result is a beautifully coated brown roll with the richest, creamiest, most flavorful filling.