When ordering tapas, or small plates, a couple delicious bites can leave a lasting impression. It’s not quite a dinner entrée, but it doesn’t cost as much as one either. With that in mind, here are great tapas in Miami – small plates that make the mark both on price and portion – that deserve a taste.
Tapas & Tintos Restaurant
448 Espanola Way
Miami Beach, FL 33139
Ham and cheese takes on a completely new meaning at this Miami Beach locale. Tapas & Tintos has Spanish cured ham, but $40 gets you ham from free-range, acorn-fed Iberico pigs. The Manchego cheese plate features Spanish cheese made from the milk of Spain’s sheep, and it sure is tasty. If that’s too heavy for your liking, take the conservative route with the gazpacho (veggie) soup. The Andalusian region of Spain knows how to do veggies right, creating a fresh and zesty soup that will make your taste buds and waistline happy.
3555 SW 8th St
Miami, FL 33135
Versailles is Miami’s landmark Cuban restaurant. Anything you order will taste good – and the small plates are no exception. The crowd favorite is the Versailles Combo – a combination of ham and beef empanadas, ham and chicken croquettes, yuca fries and cilantro sauce to dip everything in. Oh, and its only $7.65. This dish provides a little taste of all things Spanish. The stuffed green plantains will have you “stuffed” too: packed with shrimp, pineapple and cilantro. However, the mariquitas with mojo is Versailles’ specialty, served as green plantain chips, providing a sweeter version of your typical potato chip.
Related: Best Nuevo Latino Food in Miami
3105 Commodore Plaza
Coconut Grove, FL 33133
Looking at the small-plates menu at Lulu will have you feeling overwhelmed. Why? The variety of choices include lamb ribs, bacon-wrapped dates and even skirt steak. Not to mention the fried green tomatoes or goat cheese croquettes. The best part? It’s all less than 10 bucks a plate, so you don’t have to decide on only one. Order them all. Even the sweet-and-spicy ginger chicken wings sound good – there really isn’t a bad choice to be had.
3470 N Miami Ave
Miami, FL 33127
No no, that terrible movie with Jennifer Lopez is called “Gigli.” This is Gigi. Now you can eat like a hipster without paying the hipster price at the Design District’s Gigi. Snacks include cornbread with luxurious honey-bacon butter, grilled squash with balsamic and shiso, and green onion drumsticks. Or keep it simple with the garlic house pickles. There is also fresh local fruit available, and for the vegetable lovers – Brussels sprouts with bacon and soy. Whatever your taste, it will be satisfied at this restaurant. Cover all bases and order a plate of each. This noodle bar also serves plenty of large plates, if any dining companions aren’t looking to share.
Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill
3250 NE 1st Ave
Miami, FL 33137
When in doubt, order it (or Google it first) at Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill. The menu is undoubtedly quirky – items include duck and waffles or Serrano-wrapped monkfish – but the taste combinations are unparalleled. The monkfish dish is pureed with celery root and has wilted greens served alongside. Come during happy hour Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., and you can also get the Kobe beef sliders or the Brussels sprouts with orange and sweet soy for only five bucks.
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Anthony Cave is a freelance journalist based in North Miami Beach, Fla. He has written for The Miami Herald, Broward/Palm Beach New Times, CruiseCritic.com and he also interns at WLRN-Miami Herald News. His work can be found at Examiner.com.