It’s the world’s most famous Cuban restaurant!
And Travis and I saw how famous it was upon arrival. We thought that mid Sunday afternoon would be the ideal time to grab a late lunch – expecting fewer people, quick service, etc. Boy, were we wrong! The line to the restaurant was out the door (let alone their café and branded items window); we got on the seating list with an estimated 30 minute wait.
Don’t let that wait be a deterrent. Tables move fairly quickly and we were seated within ten minutes of getting in line. Like several other patrons commented as they stepped out, the wait is worth it!
We were seated by a window near the entrance, which gave us a full visual of the comings and goings of guests and servers. The dining area is much larger than it appeared from the outside, which explained why the turnaround time on the waitlist was so short.
Our server, Gretel, immediately handed us dining and beverage menus. To start, we both ordered Cuban coffee in the form of cafe con leche. We also placed an order for the Versailles Combo, an appetizer platter of ham and chicken croquettes, ham and cheese empanadas, and yuca fries, served with cilantro sauce for dipping. Yes, our normal diet took a backseat as we indulged in some comfort food. Empanadas and croquettes fried lightly, full of flavorful meat and cheese – a carnivore’s dream! Those yuca fries were an excellent accompaniment after we had devoured the main events in this platter.
When Gretel returned with our coffees, we placed our order for lunch – Paella Versailles and Churrasco Versailles, both with sides of sweet plantains.
Tender chicken, fish, shrimp, clams, mussels, and squid were served in a mixture of yellow rice and vegetables. Those colors and the symphony of flavors were a highlight of our short visit to Miami. The light broth at the bottom complemented the seafood and rice. Of course, I tried to fit as much of this dish into the rapidly declining space in my stomach.
Medium-rare is the way all steak should be prepared, and our order of the skirt steak was no exception to this rule. Served with moro rice and a garlicky chimichurri sauce, we devoured the entire piece of protein and left a few morsels of rice behind. The steak was cooked as we requested, with no signs of chewiness or gristle throughout. Beware of long-lasting garlic breath afterwards – we both had the misfortune of experiencing this while in enclosed spaces (think – elevators, rental car, bathroom).
We then ate the plaintains that came with both dishes as dessert. The ones served with the paella were cooked to my liking – lightly caramelized and sweet, while Travis enjoyed the ones that came with the steak, with a crispy surface from being cooked a little longer.
Travis ordered a Cortadito to enjoy with the plaintains and to keep the energy up for the rest of the day. Me? One cup of coffee is more than enough.
We were wired enough so that we ended up working out at 10PM that evening. Funny thing is, we ended up visiting Café Versailles again before we flew out to Curaçao. In addition to the croquettes and empanadas, we tried out a guava and cheese pastry – they were so tasty we didn’t even pause to take a photo. When we’re back in Miami, next on the menu to taste will be roast pork Cuban style and chicken “chicharrones”!
3555 SW 8th Street
Miami, FL 33135
(305) 444 0240