The best of Little Havana Miami, a food tour of Cuban cuisine

Little Havana just outside of the downtown Miami center is a very traditional Cuban neighborhood with a main road filled with Cuban inspired galleries, boutiques, eateries and bars. I was fortunate to have signed up for a lunch tour since I was already getting very hungry, having spent an hour earlier walking down through some of the interesting galleries and areas of interest in this historic neighborhood. I was eager to explore the area with Miami Culinary tours and taste some of the wonderful Cuban street food and other specialty products made locally in Florida.

Eating the best of Little Havana in Miami



Main thoroughfare at Little Havana Miami food tour

Little Havana Miami – Cuban street food and specialty drinks

The main area of Little Havana was originally a part of Miami where the new Cuban immigrants went to live and work especially with cheap rents and property in this part of the city. As a result, a variety of specialty shops and eateries were started to cater to the local crowds in this district.

First stop on the tour is one of the oldest restaurants in the area called El Pub. Filled with old photographs, posters and other Cuban Illustrations, this popular local eatery is where we got to sample the iconic empanada and Cuban sandwich, both typically street food takeaway food. The fried empanadas here are made with a peccadillo filling of ground beef, olives in a tomato based sauce. Cuban empanadas are not typically served with any sauce but the American Louisiana hot sauce offered, added a bit more vinegar and hot zing to the overall taste of the empanada. This was quickly followed with a plate of fries and a Cuban sandwich – a Panini like sandwich filled with ham, pork, melted cheese, pickles and mustard. I had to take some time to eat both of these dishes which could have easily filled you up right away.



Typical café eatery in Little Havana, Miami


Popular Cuban sandwiches served at El Pub



Cuban sandwich in Little Havana, Miami


Empanadas are very popular street food in Little Havana


Empanada starter in Little Havana, Miami

Little Havana Miami  – Cuban Coffee to go

After a nice first two bites at El Pub we walked outside to their street service window called a Ventanita were we sampled the typical Cuban coffee. Served in small cup size portion in a sugary sweet base, this intense espresso like coffee will definitely give you a shot of energy after a full meal. We find out from our guides that these popular Ventanitas sell Cuban coffees along with other popular street food and sweet delicacies for locals that want to take it to go.


Tasting some Cuban coffee in Little Havana, Miami

Little Havana Miami –  Cuban Cigar makers

Next on our visit to Little Havana is to one of the iconic Cigar makers called Bello Cigars which traces its roots to the 19th century. We walk inside to watch a worker roll their Cuban cigars which is later aged in cedar vaults. The entire places smells and oozes with musty cigar smoke and is charming right down to the family patriarch hanging out in the front door next to a large wooden chief in American flag regalia and waving to the crowds all day.


Little Havana cigar store in Miami food tour

Watching a cigar rolling demonstration in Little Havana



A cigar rolling demo in Little Havana

Little Havana Miami – takeaway snacks from a Ventanita

Ready to sample another quick bite we stop by another Ventanita to sample another popular street food – a Croqueta, which are crispy lightly breaded appetizer rolls filled with ham, eggs, spices and flour. It was just the right snack food and I ended up sampling more than a few of these fried snacks.



Croqueta snacks at a Ventanita in Little Havana


Fried snacks and sweets at a Ventanita


Takeaway snacks at a Ventanita in Little Havana


Little Havana Miami – action at Domino park

Playing dominoes is a very popular pastime in Cuba and this naturally spills over into Little Havana with the Domino park – a senior’s only club where domino playing is serious and heated. It’s a perfect spot to see and take some wonderful candid shots of locals playing a fast and furious game of dominoes.


Domino park in Little Havana, Miami

Little Havana Miami – Hemingway’s favorite watering hole

Along with Hemingway, many famous personalities and musicians have visited the Ball and Chain bar an iconic establishment in Little Havana. We drop by to hear a fantastic live band while downing the local favorite – a classic Mojito. Made Havana style with crushed mint leaves, a squeeze of lime and island rum served over ice in the end, it is refreshing and the perfect drink to imbibe with the cool tropical music and vibe inside. Make sure to check out the outdoor back area with the huge pineapple stage that is fun to take a photo souvenir like my shot below.


Ball and Chain bar in Little Havana, Miami


Little Havana Miami – Live music and cool vibes at Ball and Chain


Ball and Chain bar in Little Havana, Miami


Photo selfie with the giant Pineapple stage in the back


Pineapple stage at the Ball and Chain bar in Little Havana, Miami


The classic Mojito at the Ball and chain – Little Havana


Mojitos at the Ball and Chain bar in Miami

Trying a guayaba pastelito

If you like pastries then the Guava pastry at Yisil bakery is where to go for delicious baked goods. You can sample many Cuban baked goods but the Guayaba pastelito we tried was spot on flaky with a fruity middle of gooey guava goodness inside. I’m glade we were only offered one of the big pastries since we still had a desert finale coming up soon.


Pastries at Yisil bakery Little Havana Miami food tour


A nice and flaky Guayaba pastelito


Guayaba pastelito at Yisil bakery in Little Havana

Little Havana Miami – Los Pinaderos Fruteria

No visit to Little Havana is complete without dropping by the local fruit stand and Los Pinaderos Fruteria is where you can get any of the in season fruits from Florida and other imported fruits not grown in the area. We sampled some freshly squeezed cane juice and it was refreshing and just sweet enough to quench our thirst from the afternoon sun.  We were also offered a variety of fruit samples that I cannot remember what we tasted but I remember it was all good and perfect for the late afternoon since we were winding down quickly to our last stop.


Los Pinaderos Fruteria in Little Havana


Trying some freshly squeezed cane juice


Los Pinaderos Fruteria Little Havana Miami food tour


Little Havana Miami – Azucar Ice cream

Of course ice cream is the last stop on the Little Havana Miami food tour, Azucar Ice cream serves up traditional and modern ice cream flavors in exotic and latin inspired flavors. You can sample as many of the flavors in the entire display but eventually you can choose up to two flavors in a cup. I ended up choosing a delicious Mamey ice cream with chocolate combination and it was just creamy and a perfect melt in your mouth combination of flavors.


Azucar Ice cream Little Havana food tour


You can sample all the ice cream at Azucar

Azucar Ice cream Little Havana food tour


Well that was a fun tour and I finished satisfied with just enough food to be full but not bursting at the seams. It was fun to explore Little Havana and tasting our way through the entire neighborhood. If you enjoyed the places visited, you can sign up for the same tour with Miami Culinary tours and check out their tours and prices eating your way through different neighborhoods in Miami.



It's mojito time at Ball and Chain in Little Havana



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Little Havana Miami food tour



Check out these other cool places to visit in Miami

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Miami to Key West Road trip

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The Holocaust Memorial in Miami

Miami Beach Botanical Garden

South Beach food tour

Top things to do in Miami

Have you visited Little Havana in Miami?

Enjoyed visiting the neighborhood and other fun things to do here? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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