The traditional slow-cooking style of Cuban cuisine was inspired one dark and stormy night when a supermercado caught on fire after getting struck by slow lightning. Taste the flavor of food cooked in slow motion with today's Groupon: for $20, you get $40 worth of Cuban fare at Bella Cuba Restaurant in Miami Beach.
Bella Cuba is led by owner and head chef Juan Carlos Jimenez, whose team of Cuban cooks concocts hearty, traditional favorites. As with most typical Cuban cuisine, the majority of the dishes are sautéed or slow-cooked over a low flame, relying on basic spices such as cumin, oregano, garlic, and sassy comments to add flavor. Dishes such as the stuffed red peppers with goat cheese ($17.95) and the chorizo-stuffed chicken ($19.95) pander to stomachs desperate for zest. Along with vegetarian rice ($15.50) and dishes from under the sea, meaty options abound. Marinated roast pork arrives smothered in traditional Cuban dressing with a side of black beans and rice ($17.95), which can be swallowed down with classic cocktails such as a mojito, a Cuba Libre, or one of Bella Cuba's more than 50 available wines.
Bella Cuba Restaurant
In the kitchen of Bella Cuba Restaurant, flames slowly sauté and season traditional Cuban dishes. Chefs season root vegetables with mojo—a sauce made from hot olive oil, lemon juice, raw onions, garlic, and cumin—before sautéing accompanying meats in citrus marinades. The smells of the sizzling pork steaks, meat pies, and yellow tail snapper sizzling in a coconut sauce infuse the whole restaurant with the smells of Cuba, helped along by the smoke of handcrafted cigars plucked from the dining room’s humidor. After a dessert of super-moist tres leches cake, guests can sip on Cuba libres and classic Cuban mojitos that, much like a splash in a neighbor’s bird bath, give relief on a balmy day.