Accompanying my husband on a business trip he took to Miami FL, I mentioned that I was very interested in experiencing authentic Cuban food. I had never experienced truly authentic Cuban food before. Having been to Miami in the past, he suggested we stop in at Versailles. The restaurant has been dishing up fine Cuban cuisine for nearly forty years. And they do not plan to be slowing down anytime soon. Positioned in the center of Miami’s Cuban community, and having become a symbol of accomplishment and integrity, this iconic family-owned establishment offers so much more than just a great cup of Cuban coffee. It was also fun to watch my husband order and converse with our waiter in Spanish! I love it when he does that, and seemingly, so did our waiter!
What better way to start our lunch at this popular Cuban establishment than with a couple of classic Mojitos? They were perfectly cold, minty and incredibly refreshing. In fact, we ordered two more to be brought out to us with our meals. This location seats up to 400 guests, which would explain their more than ample parking areas surrounding the eatery. Our waiter told us the restaurant and its three parking lots take up an entire block in Little Havanah! We were definitely in the right place for Cuban cuisine.
As we perused the menu for a minute, fresh bread from the in-house bakery arrived at our table. You may say, “Well…it’s just bread!” But it wasn’t at all ‘just bread’. It was beautiful to observe, artistic in design and nearly melted in our mouths when eaten. Slathered with a garlic olive oil after being removed from the oven, these crisp slices of perfectly bakes dough were really incredible and worth savoring slowly.
Versailles Bread Brushed With Garlic Olive Oil
I felt a bit perplexed at the multitude of items available on the menu. My husband noticed this and suggested two items. The first, a Cuban Sampler plate called, quite simply, The Classic. This dish was presented proudly by our waiter and included such fare as white rice and black beans, Picadillo (spiced ground beef), roast pork, sweet plantains, ham croquettes, yucca and a tamale. Definitely a hearty lunch. But very tasty.
The second dish suggested was the Chicken Versailles. Grilled marinated chicken with a Cuban Mojo, Moros rice, sweet plantains and ham croquettes. The grilled chicken was tender and cooked to perfection. The Moros rice in the photo below is sort of a Cuban version of rice and beans. Found throughout the Carribbean and Brazil, it is compiled of onions, garlic, bell peppers, oregano and other flavorsome ingredients. The darkened color comes from the rice and the black beans being cooked together. It is also commonly called “congri” in Miami.
To top off our enjoyable meal, my husband sipped on a cup of Cuban coffee. Our waiter laughingly called it “jet fuel”, and I discovered why after taking a sip of the powerful brew myself. It was a bit too strong for my taste, but then again, it is a type of espresso. I did, however, appreciate it’s potency. Cuban coffee originated in Cuba after espresso machines were first imported there from Italy. Drinking this type of coffee is known widely as a cultural and social activity within Cuba, South Florida and the Florida Keys. It’s a strong, yet memorable cup of joe!
Versailles Cuban Coffee
Noted as the “World’s Most Famous Cuban Restaurant”, the establishment also offers fresh-baked items at a walk-up service window outside that’s terrifically convenient for a quick cup of Cuban coffee and a few pastries from the in-house bakery. On your next trip to Miami, stop by Versailles. Even if you don’t have time for lunch, grab a cup of joe and some scrumptious bakery items such as their empanadas, pastries, their popular Tres Leches, or just a little something sweet to take on the plane ride home with you!
- ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: Towering floor-to-ceiling mirrors, classic feel inside, green and white checkered tiled flooring, dark green borders and panel highlights throughout the restaurant, varied seating areas, and LOTS of customers at all hours of the day.
- FOOD / DRINK: Quality Cuban cuisine that is flavorsome and authentic.
- LOCATION: Versailles is located at 3555 Southwest 8th Street in Miami FL 33135-4196.
- HOURS: Open Monday through Thursday from 8 AM – 2 AM, Fridays from 8 AM – 3:30 AM, Saturdays from 8 AM – 4:30 AM, and on Sundays from 9 Am – 2 AM.
- SERVICE / STAFF: Professional and punctual, helpful and entertaining.
- PRICE / VALUE: Reasonably priced for what you will get at Versailles of Miami.
- CORKAGE FEE: No outside bottles allowed at Versailles.
- CONTACT INFO: Phone: (305) 444-0240, Website:www.versaillesrestaurant.com
- PARKING: There is more than ample parking with three separate lots, making the entire property the size of an entire neighborhood block!
- TOTAL BILL: Four Mojitos, one Cuban Sampler (The Classic), the Chicken Versailles and a cup of Cuban coffee came in under $40, which was extremely reasonable in our opinion considering the quality and portion size of the food ordered.
* Menu and prices subject to change without notice.