Located in West Little Havana, Morro Castle serves fast-casual Cuban food. The menu includes the classic Cuban breakfast of scrambled eggs with ham, toast, café con leche and fries; Cuban burgers (known as fritas) with potato strings, onions and buttered buns; and churros with hot chocolate. Of course, this being a fully-operational mom and pop shop, there’s the endlessly rotating selection of daily specials, along with side dishes like rice and beans. Despite its small size and somewhat unloved features, Morro Castle continues to deliver fresh food, keep prices low for the neighborhood and somehow manage to impress with their portion size.
The family-owned La Rosa Restaurant has been treating diners to upscale Cuban fare for more than four decades. House specialties run the gamut from stuffed beef tenderloin to Valencian paella, and the menu offers more than a dozen fresh seafood dishes, including crab-stuffed snapper, lobster Creole, and mahi mahi in savory garlic sauce. Meat-lovers can fill up on pork churrasco, baby filet mignon, or rack of lamb, while Cuban-style sandwiches and croquettes make for lighter options. To accompany these savory dishes, the staff prepares mango pie and cream cheese custard and fills glasses with Spanish, Italian, and Australian wines.
Bongos Cuban Café is known for its delectable food—the eatery won the Pat LaFrieda award for Best Lechon at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival Swine & Wine Event in 2013. It's also known for its famous mojitos made with fresh mint and sugarcane. At Bongos Cuban Café, the energy of Old Havana pulses through the air with Latin music and aromas of authentic Cuban dishes. Vaca Frita with grilled onions, Ropa Vieja, Arroz con pollo, and Paella with fresh scallops, lobster, chorizo, chicken, and mussels are a few specialties.
At Forty Four Cafe, chefs create a daily spread of Latin American street fare and fresh-baked French pastries. Each morning, chefs set to work to layer bread with ham, mustard, and pickles for Cuban sandwiches, stuff yucas for yuca rellena, and create savory empanadas. On the sweeter side, they create both French and Latin American desserts. Fresh, flaky croissants can be paired with a wealth of toppings, and guava tarts showcase the flavors of the tropics without dousing baked goods in every scent of sunscreen.
Tinta Y Café is a traditional Cuban café that serves its Little Havana neighborhood well. Centrally located on Calle Ocho, this diminutive eatery offers little in the way of parking or seating, but doesn’t skimp on flavor. The café con leche – offered warm or on ice – is a must, and the rest of the menu isn’t far behind. Look for classic Cuban sandwiches, empanadas and flan, plus sought-after croquettes offered with ham, spinach and bacalao (cod). The interior mimics a library and patrons are encouraged to take down a Spanish-language book and enjoy with their coffee, though the volume is much higher than you’d expect at a quiet place of reading. Thanks to its location in the heart of Little Havana, Tinta y Café offers a nice spot to savor a cup and do some great people watching.
Inside Lisboa-Habana Restaurant, sunlight pours in through floor-to-ceiling windows flanked by thick palm fronds. The atmosphere reflects the Latin-Caribbean flair that's so integral to the eatery's diverse menu. A collaboration between two seasoned restaurateurs, Lisboa-Habana Restaurant serves up a fusion of Cuban and Portuguese cuisine. Favorites include stewed codfish, lobster fettuccine, and Habana-style sirloin. There are also vegetarian options, including stuffed eggplant. Peruse the lengthy wine list for imported wines and champagnes to complement your meal.