Dinner at Versailles: May 21, 2014
Dinner at Versailles is a must when you are in Miami. It is “the World’s Most Famous Cuban Restaurant”, claims their Website. I would have to agree, although I haven’t been to many Cuban restaurants to begin with. Versailles was about a 15 minute drive from downtown-of course construction and the lack of cell coverage hampered with our ability to navigate. It is located on Calle Oche in the Little Havana District.
As we pulled up to the restaurant it was a bit confusing as they had two parking lots and various sections of the restaurant. One for the bakery with a walk-up window and the other for the sit-down restaurant. We pulled into the side closer to the bakery and I noticed there were a lot of well-dressed older folks drinking coffee and having a chat at the window. Apparently this was the spot where exiled Cubans meet.
The mood of the restaurant still emits a 70s vibe but it didn’t feel old inside. It was nice seeing a wide range of locals and tourist come together to sample Cuban Cuisine. The Menu was pretty expansive I had difficulty selecting which dish.
We started with the appetizer sampler called the Versailles Combo. It had ham and beef empanadas, ham and chicken croquettes and yucca fries served with a cilantro aoili. The Yucca fries were starchy, but dipped in the cilantro aioli they were great. Actually everything went well with the aoili. The empandas reminded me of mini hot pockets, with more flavor. One was stuffed with ham and cheese while the other was stuffed with ground beef and vegetables. My favorite of the platter were the chicken croquettes. they were nice and crispy but still moist in the inside.
For the main course I selected the Paella Versailles.
Unlike the Spanish Paella it was less Saffron like and i think more dominated with tomato base. It was defiantly smothered in seafood – Shrimps, Mussels, Squid and Fish. They also threw in some chicken as well not to mentioned it came with a side of plantains. I manage to eat about half of their serving. The seafood was cooked just right and you will find the other types of seafood mentioned above the more you dig in with your spoon- it was like a little surprise.
I had a couple of Mojitos. I think they were one of the best Mojitos I’ve tasted, not to mention the prettiest. The drink wasn’t overly sweeten like some I’ve had. It was also a nice treat to stick a splice of a sugar cane in the drink. You know what would even be better? if the sugar cane was infuse in rum! but that would just be over the top… or would it.
This is Tom, the reason we were in Miami in the first place. Behind him you can see the wooden panels that surround the columns and walls along with the hunter green accent paint. Tom had the Versailles Cuban Sampler Platter – The Criollo, recommended by the server. It included Yellow Rice, Black Beans, “Ropa Vieja” Shredded Beef in Tomato Sauce, Fried Pork Chunks, Ham Croquette, Sweet Plantains, Cuban Tamale, and Cassava with Cuban Mojo.
Thank you Versailles, you were wonderful.