Surrounded by the mellow confines of the dining room, the aromatic, slow-cooked food at Jamaica House shines. The menu is home to a collection of authentic Caribbean dishes, such as jerk pork, curried goat, and sweet plantains, as well as breakfast items such as saltfish, callaloo, and just-right Goldilocks porridge. A mini bar and pool table keep visitors occupied when they're not busy eating.
The staff at Junior's Seafood And Restaurant filet fresh fish and prepare succulent cuts of meats including oxtail and goat. After putting in orders at the counter, guests browse aisles of Caribbean groceries including spices, beans, and produce such as okra and fresh herbs.
A salsa-dancing hotspot by night and a palate-pleasing eatery by day, Mango Martini’s seasoned chefs churn out a well-rounded menu of breakfast and lunch specialties as bartenders concoct accompanying brews. Palates preferring the yolky flavors of daybreak eats can time travel to prenoon hours with eggs benedict or sausages tucked into pancake blankets. Cuban sandwiches, mac ‘n’ cheese, and salmon with garlic mashed potatoes conquer guests' cravings for savory noontime feasts. As entrees slowly disappear, unlimited mimosas sate unquenchable thirst with nips of bubbly champagne and tangy orange juice that tango atop taste buds or mambo down guests' bibs.
La Cocina Puertorriquena's specialty is mofongo, a traditional Puerto Rican dish made of mashed fried plantains. Chefs use that recipe as a foundation, preparing more than 20 varieties of the dish with chunks or pork, skirt steak, and breaded shrimp. They also showcase a variety of other traditional specialties, including roasted meats and fried whole snapper. On Saturday nights, servers clear away tables to make room for live musicians and dancing until 1 a.m. The restaurant’s walls proudly display the Puerto Rican flag, which should never be nibbled on, despite its mofongo taste.
Conquering discriminating palates with its tempting small plates, enticing entrees, and cozy, eclectic atmosphere, El Pimiento brings a taste of traditional Spanish dining to South Florida. Sample from a selection of small portions designed to be passed among dining companions both real and imaginary. Nibble upon chistorras, Spanish sausage links simmered in Spanish cider ($6.49), pick at pimientos rostisados, fire-roasted red and yellow peppers ($6.95), or feast fiendishly upon morsels of filetillo con queso cabrales, beef tenderloin accented with aged blue cheese ($10.95).
The burnt-orange walls of Parrillada el Gaucho echo the welcoming heat of the grills in the kitchen. There, steaks acquire charred stripes before they reach diners in several cuts, from rib eye to T-bone. Uruguayan-style parrillada meals layer impressive amounts of meats and garnishes on pans, often piling enough skewers of shrimp and crisp sausages for two. This traditional South American style of cooking typifies the warm, convivial venue, whose dining room is decorated with horseshoes and ranching artifacts. Though steaks remain its most popular offering, the menu also boasts entrees such as chicken parmesan and custom-mixed pastas, with housemade flan to bring meals to an authentically sweet conclusion. Party packages, late hours, and Friday-night musical performances conspire with tender bites, luring festive groups to tables without coaxing trails of confetti.
Chefs at Irie Isle, which has garnered the Best Jamaican Restaurant twice by the Miami New Times, uphold the Caribbean’s culinary traditions with Jamaican curries and heaping platters of stewed proteins steeped in spices. Meats roast over an open flame while soaking up flavor and deciphering smoke signals, and tropical fish stew in house-made sauces. The cheerful, pastel-hued eatery also hosts occasional cultural events that spotlight local Jamaican luminaries.