Florida Dining: Latin American Cafeteria Restaurant


Latin American Cafeteria
9606 SW 72nd St (Sunset St), Miami, FL
(305) 279-4353

Many thanks this week to 3 Guys From Miami for their comprehensive and authoritative Cuban and Miami food recommendations!

Have you ever gone to a place, try one of their signature items, and have it be so good that when you have that particular dish anywhere else, it will never live up to your expectations ever again? Such a place is the Latin American Cafeteria in Miami, perhaps where the best Cuban Sandwich can be found in the entire world. In fact, I would go on to say that Latin American Cafeteria is to the Sandwich Cubano what Katz’s Deli in NYC is to the Pastrami on Rye.

The Latin American Restaurant Cafeteria on Sunset Street (72nd) in Miami.

Say hello to my little friend, the Cuban Sandwich. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below.

Piles of freshly sliced Lechon (Cuban Slow Roasted Pork)

Ham, Cheese and other sandwich accoutriments

Stacks of Cuban Sandwiches ready for the press.

The sandwich man is a true artist.

Heavy-Duty Hobart sandwich presses.

As you can see, compared to most other Cuban restaurants you may have been to, Latin American Restaurant stuffs its sandwiches pretty full. Also, the Sandwich Cubano here is strictly ham, lechon, pickle, and Swiss cheese — there’s no mustard or other condiment on them other than butter to help grill the bread. If there was anything else in there, it wasn’t obvious — this sandwich is an exercise in simplicity, letting the high quality ingredients speak for themselves.

Sandwich Cubano as it appears on the plate. Note the distinctive bisection cut, which helps make this big sandwich easier to eat.

Pan de Agua, or creole bread, which is very light and airy and is a staple of any Cuban meal.

Picadillo, one of the daily specials. This is seasoned ground meat and potatoes in a light tomato/onion sauce flavored with green olives/capers/pimientos (alcaparrado) accompanied by Cuban black beans and rice. Probably the best version of this dish I have ever had.

Maduros, overripe sweet plantains cooked in butter until they become caramelized. Unbelievably good.

Sugar Cane juice.

One of the patrons that we became friendly with let us take a photo of his Bistec Milanesa, pan fried steak topped with ham and cheese, cooked under the broiler.

Salad accompaniment to the Bistec Milanesa.

Cortadito, or sweet Cuban espresso coffee with milk. Excellent.

15 Responses to Florida Dining: Latin American Cafeteria Restaurant

  1. daisy says:

    great! now i’m in the mood for Cubano sandwiches, and I’m still trying to recuperate from Thanksgiving!

  2. DonClark says:

    It’s amazing to me this food is not more mainstream. America doesn’t know what it’s missing.

  3. Yeah, but even in Florida its a problem. Plenty of the Non-Cubans don’t touch the stuff or are even aware of the food gems in Little Havana. Just across the street from the Latin American Cafeteria is a McDonald’s. I don’t know why the hell anyone would eat at a McD’s when this kind of place is right next to it.

    BTW, this place needs a 12-banger Tostobueno, for sure.

  4. =R= says:

    Looks terrific! I love sandwiches Cubanos but good ones are hard to come by here in Chicago. That milanesa also looks great — though I see those more often here in town. BTW, what kind of cheese is that on the Cubanos? Or, what kind is typically used?

  5. Bux says:

    That’s one hell of a tall Sandwich Cubano. It certainly looks like a NY Katz’s or Stage deli sandwich–at least as much as any ham, pork and cheese sandwich could. That angle cut is a nice touch. It almost makes it look dainty. If I’m not mistaken, pernil is not just roast pork, but roast fresh ham (leg of pork). That picadillo with potatoes looks as if it was influenced by corned beef hash. I mean that in a good way. It looks appealing. I’m not much of a fan of Pan Criollo, except of course when it’s reduced to almost nothing in a Sandwich Cubano.

  6. =R=, they use regular ‘ol Swiss cheese, but there’s a good amount of it on this particular sandwich.

    Bux: It’s definitely a big sandwich, big enough to share.

  7. Randi says:

    omg, we are so going there when we go to Ft. Lauderdale in March.

  8. Roberto says:

    Very nicely done page! I feel like I’m back home… By the way, a Cuban would never call roast pork “pernil”, that is a Puerto Rican term. The roast pork (fresh ham) is referred to as “lechon” in Cuban-speak. The cheese, by the way, is swiss. Also, I have never heard the bread called “pan criollo”, the term I know it by is “pan de agua.”

    Saludos,

    Roberto

  9. Thanks Roberto, I need to get my local terminology straight. I think Pan Criollo is also a Puerto Rican term for the same thing.

  10. […] and I’d like to say I’ve probably had the best one on that planet, that being at the Latin American Cafeteria Restaurant in Miami.  I figured that if we had any chance of finding Sandwich Cubanos anywhere near that […]

  11. Jim Wagner says:

    Great INFO !! I am going to retire back in S. Florida and I was looking for that good Cubano Especial that I used to get at the Latin American in Hialeah( NW 122nd/W 68th of the Palmetto) I was down for Super Bowl and went there, it was closed. How can that be it was always packed! Also the pictures are great!!!

  12. BC says:

    Just a note. There seem to be several different Miami-area businesses operating with a similar name. They’ve got different signs and different atmosphere. I went to one (near Florida International University) where English was barely spoken, but the food was otherworldly.

  13. Sharri says:

    The sandwiches a Latin America are the best ! With an order of mariquitas and a batido mamey you think you died and went to heaven!!

  14. The King of the Cuban Sandwich says:

    The Cuban Sandwich as you all know in the pictures above were brought to you by Mr. Raul Galindo. He is the founder and originator of this concept. Unfortunately a lot of restaurants have opened and claimed to be the real thing, but they are far from it. This will no longer be a problem as there is good news coming down the pike…

    We will fill you in as soon as we have some news!

  15. Peter Joseph- Zelaya says:

    To my surprice — Your review on Cuban Sandwiches was tremendous!!!

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