Florida Dining: Versailles


Versailles Restaurant
3555 SW 8th St Miami, FL 33135
(305) 444-0240

Web Site: http://www.versaillesrestaurant.com

Full-size photo gallery available on Flickr

If there’s one iconic Cuban restaurant in Miami, and if you ask anyone where the center of activity is for food on Calle Ocho past 9PM, then that place is Versailles.

Like the French palace from which it gets its name, Versailles is a HUGE restaurant. On weekends and in prime dining hours the place gets absolutely packed with people, including large number of out of towners looking for authentic Cuban food.

This is where Cuban food gets real in Miami. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

This is what the dining room looked like on 9PM on a Sunday night. The 384-seat restaurant was absolutely PACKED with people. Yes, a lot of non-Cubans go there, but I like to think of it as like the “Katz’s Deli” or the “Carnegie” of Cuban food. Just because the place is really popular does not mean the food is not authentic and not good, it’s excellent and consistently good.

Versailles’ menu is massive. It covers the full spectrum of Cuban cuisine, and has something for everyone. It’s the Cuban equivalent to a Diner menu. I was handed a menu in Spanish but they have one in English as well.  Click on the photo to enlarge.

Garlic Bread made with fresh-baked pan de agua. Be careful not to fill up on this stuff.

I typically like to start off with a Presidente, a Pilsener-style beer from the Dominican Republic.

One time, after just getting off the plane, and absolutely starving since breakfast, I decided to hit the heavy duty stuff. This is the “Versailles Especial” which is a Cuban Sandwich with ham, pork loin and sliced Chorizo sausage. Not what the doctor ordered but what my stomach WANTED.

This is a “Fufu”  (Mashed fried green plantain) appetizer with fried pork chunks. In Puerto Rican and Dominican parlance this same dish is called “Mofongo”.

Cuban Black Bean Soup with raw onion.

Caldo Gallego, Spanish White Bean soup.

Here’s the Versailles dessert menu.

I opted for the Tocinillo del Cielo, which is a double egg yolk, super rich custard flan with caramel sauce, as if a regular flan wasn’t rich enough. I needed to enlist the help of a few Cuban grandmas sitting next to me to help me finish it.

What Cuban meal would be complete without a Cafecito? This is a double decaf — otherwise I’d never be able to fall asleep. Versailles also has its own bakery store and a walk-up cafe where you can get Cafecitos in little foam demitasse cups along with various Cuban munchies.

On weekends, Spanish troubadours arrive to serenade you. You might need to shoo them away with a single or two.

Which is not that easy.

By contrast here is what Versailles looks like at 11PM on a Monday night. The restaurant is open until 2AM.

Jupina is a pineapple flavored soda that comes in regular and diet versions. Cuban-style diet soft drinks utterly blow away their American counterparts.

The time I took this photo a few years ago I was recovering from a pretty lousy bronchitis from the week before so I decided to go with some of their chicken soup, which is excellent. Cuban Penicillin.

Here is the “Criollo” combination plate, which has Ropa Vieja, a croquetta, a tamale, fried pork chunks, platanos maduros and yuca. I had trouble finishing the entire thing because my gut was about to explode.

Cuban Dried Beef (Tasajo). Similar preparation to Ropa Vieja, but the texture is totally different. This is more of beef jerky that has been cooked in a tomato/sofrito sauce.

Ripe Plantain Pie topped with melted mozzarella cheese (left) with Picadillo and Arroz Moro (right)

Cortadito, a Cuban Coffee with milk.

Apple Pie.

If you’re still hungry for dessert, or want to bring home some tasty stuff, Versailles has a bakery attached to the restaurant.

And you can get your Cortadito to go.

Along with pastries of all types…

And this Dulce de Leche napoleon…

And fresh bread and sandwiches of all kinds, not to mention various types of empanadas as well.

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