Best Cuban Sandwiches in Miami

If you are from Miami or a few of the other Cuban neighborhoods throughout the country, then you are most definitely familiar with the very famous “Cuban Sandwich”. Being Cuban-American, having grown up in a very Cuban area of NJ, and living in Miami for over 25 years, I have definitely had a “few” Cuban sandwiches in my life.  But as with most things, not all Cuban sandwiches are created equal.  Here in Miami, you can find Cuban sandwiches almost everywhere, but beware, there are big differences between the pre-made bargain sandwiches found at many lunch counters and coffee windows, and the delicious fresh made to order ones found at restaurants and cafes.

You will also come across places which like to experiment and add mayo, lettuce, tomatoes, pastrami, sauerkraut, salami, and even Thousand Island dressing, or their own version of a secret sauce. While some of these concoctions are really tasty with a twist on the original version, the classic Cuban typically consists of a toasted buttered Cuban roll, with fresh sliced pork, ham, Swiss cheese and pickles (some folks include mustard too).  So for those of you that may be clueless as to where to find the best Cuban sandwiches when you visit Miami, here is a quick list of some of my favorites:

Enriqueta’s Sandwich Shop
186 NE 29th St.
Miami, FL 33137
(305) 573-4681

You know this has to be a good pick when it’s the #1 place chosen by Zagat in Miami for Cuban sandwiches.  This little hole-in-the-wall, located in the Wynwood area, is a local favorite.  And if you’re looking for something really special, try the Cubano Preparado Con Croquetas, basically a version of their Cuban, stuffed with their yummy ham croquetas.

Cuban Sandwich at Enriqueta's

Cuban Sandwich at Enriqueta’s

Little Bread Cuban Sandwich Co.
541 SW 12th  Ave.
Miami, FL 33130
(786) 420-2672

This is probably my current favorite.  Owned by Alberto Cabrera, (whom I have blogged about before, with his amazingly delicious restaurant, Bread & Butter), at Little Bread, fresh-baked baguettes with a good crust get transformed into a Cubano with pork belly rillette, ham, salami, house pickles and red wine mustard. The restaurant’s culinary director, Richard Torres, explains that the secret is in the homemade bread that the restaurant uses and “not pressing the sandwich twice” like many places do.  The result, in my opinion, delicious!

The Cuban at Little Bread

The Cuban at Little Bread

Islas Canarias
Various Locations
(305) 649-0440

You know you’ve made it when Anthony Bourdain instagrams your sandwich (in this case another version of the Cuban, called Media Noche) with the hashtag #miami. The secret to their sandwiches is simple….they bake their bread fresh every day in their bakery.

Cuban sandwich at Islas Canarias

Cuban sandwich at Islas Canarias

Latin American Cafeteria & Restaurant
Various Locations
(305) 267-9995

Luis Galindo’s Latin American Cafeteria & Restaurant, named for the brother of Cuban sandwich patron Raúl Galindo, is owned by Elias G. Elias, a Lebanese-Syrian man raised in Cuba. It makes one of the city’s best Cubanos. The perfect press crisps the bread’s crust, slightly warms the interior, and compresses the whole thing without flattening it into a cracker. This place has been around forever, I remember eating Cuban sandwiches here, when I used to vacation in Miami as a young girl, before I even lived in Miami!

Cuban sandwiches at Latin American

Cuban sandwiches at Latin American

Ball & Chain
513 SW 8th St
Miami, FL 33135
(305) 643-7820

So, I have not actually eaten here…yet!  But a few friends have highly recommended this restaurant, and because their version of the Cuban is so original, I just had to include it on my list.  Ball & Chain serves Cuban Spring Rolls…a twist on the obvious sandwich.  They claim that being located on famous Calle Ocho (SW 8th Street), where there are numerous restaurants serving the traditional Cuban sandwich, they were needed to come up with something that would make their sandwich stand out among the rest.  The result…roasted pork, ham, and pickles wrapped in a spring roll with Swiss cheese, served alongside faintly spiced mustard aioli, perfect for dipping. I must try this one soon!

Cuban Sandwich Spring Roll at Ball & Chain

Cuban Sandwich Spring Roll at Ball & Chain

Well, as you can see there’s a Cuban for all tastes!  Have you ever tried a Cuban sandwich?  If you have, which one has been your favorite? I’d love to hear…

My Signature

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Pan Con Mantequilla

So it seems that now I’m finding tapas restaurants everywhere…you know what they say, when it rains it pours.  Recently, we came across Bread+Butter Counter… a “Cuban Gastropub”, in Coral Gables. In Miami, good Cuban food isn’t very hard to find, with historic restaurants such as La Carreta, Versailles and Sergio’s, as well as, hundreds of smaller mom and pop places, all featured in travel books. (This by the way, was one of the main things hubby and I missed when we lived in Raleigh, no Cuban restaurants around, and most locals would refer us to the nearest Taco Bell, yes you heard it folks, Taco Bell!)

Media Noche Croquetas & Pan Con Tomate

Media Noche Croquetas & Pan Con Tomate

At B+B, owner and chef Alberto Cabrera offers a creative menu using Cuban staples with a twist, to serve up innovative dishes. In addition to a complete list of tapas style remakes of Cuban traditional plates to share, there’s also medium-sized rice dishes and a few larger plates, including the Pollo Asado, which is my husband’s favorite!  I went for the Media Noche Croquetas served with aioli and soda crackers, and Pan Con Tomate, both very good.

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Platano en Tentacion

However, the dish we most enjoyed was the Platano en Tentacion…bacon-wrapped plantains, served with five-spice almibar and topped with sour cream, and chives…in one word, divine!

I also really liked the decor of this place, resembling an old-time diner or counter restaurant. The first thing I noticed when we sat down, were the tin can water cups on the table, very similar to the ones my sisters tell me we used in Cuba when we were little.  There are also many beautiful, vintage black-and-white images of the old Cuba my parents are always reminiscing about.  I must warn you though, as with many places in the Gables, parking for this place is tough, so if you’re trying to make your reservation, give yourself enough time to find a spot.

Tin water cups

Tin water cups

Once again, we didn’t make room for dessert. However, there were a few that caught our eye for our next visit, such as the Flan de Queso de Cabra (a goat cheese flan) and the Torrejas, a traditional dish similar to Cuban “French Toast”, served with guava maple syrup and cream cheese ice-cream.  I’m not sure they’ll be as incredible as my Abuela’s torrejas were, but I’m sure we’ll find out soon!

Bread + Butter Counter
2330 Salzedo Street
Coral Gables
http://www.breadandbuttercounter.com