Address:971 SW 8th St, Miami, FL 33130, USA
1950s Santiago de Cuba
BY: DESTINY BECK
WHAT TO EXPECT
It’s no secret that Cafe La Trova was one of the hottest openings of 2019, and rightfully so, with well-earned nods from Esquire and GQ. So while Calle Ocho’s music hub Ball & Chain and the historic Domino Park remain shuttered, the re-opening of Cafe La Trova was a bright moment in what continues to be a challenging year.
If you are longing for better days, there is no place to escape than Cafe La Trova. Sip on classic Cuban cocktails, enjoy comfort food from timeless chef Michelle Bernstein and listen to live music.
We’ve been crushing on James Beard award-winning chef Michelle Bernstein for as long as we can remember. From her time as chef consultant at The Sagamore’s Social to her Seville-style tapas bar Sra. Martinez and of course, Mishy’s. We can’t help but feel a deep sense of girl power and Miami pride anytime we catch her on TV. At Cafe La Trova, Bernstein serves sublimely executed soulful Cuban dishes.
Partner Julio Cabrera, who grew up in his father’s Cuban bar and is the ipso facto ambassador of the Island’s much loved and often misrepresented cantinero tradition, is no slouch either. He is one of the most influential bartenders in South Florida. His accolades include American Bartender of the Year at the 2019 Spirited Awards during Tales of the Cocktail.
WHAT TO ORDER
Have Cabrera or one of his talented cantineros prepare a handcrafted Hotel Nacional with plantation pineapple rum, apricot liqueur, pineapple juice, lime juice. We also suggest you try the Papa Doble with Flor de Caña 4 rum, maraschino, grapefruit juice and lime juice.
Begin with flaky Empanadas filled with steaming shredded steak, Spanish olives and caramelized onions, and piping hot Jamon Serrano Croquetas with melted cheese and a sweet fig jam.
One of our favorite dishes was the Gambas al Ajillo – giant prawns sauteed in a fragrant white wine sauce with creamy cannellini beans and an herbaceous gremolata.
You can’t go to a Cuban restaurant without ordering pork, so our server suggested the mojo laced Lechon “Sliders” served open-faced on thin buttery slices of Sullivan Street Bakery focaccia with pickled onions. Another must-have dish is the Arroz con Pollo. Expertly cooked, with a crispy texture.
After a few of Cabrera’s cocktails, and an order of Mishy’s decadent Bread Pudding, we were so lost in rhythmic percussion coming from the musicians on stage that for a moment, we truly felt back in time.
HOW TO SCORE A TABLE
Reservations are highly recommended.
COVID-19 SAFETY MEASURES
Michelle Bernstein and her team take COVID-19 extremely seriously. She was one of the first South Florida chefs to publicly speak on safety protocols and procedures. They delayed the re-opening of Cafe La Trova until Bernstein and Cabrera felt they could protect their staff and patrons.