Miami has always been one of our favorite cities in the U.S. It’s a multi-cultural melting pot filled with flavor, fun, sun, art, culture, and delicious food. While we’ve visited multiple times and Coco actually lived in Miami for a year, we had never visited the vibrant Cuban heart of Miami, Little Havana. Little Havana is located on Calle Ocho (eighth street) just minutes from downtown Miami.
After Fidel Castro took over Cuba in 1959, there was a mass exodus of Cubans to Miami, with most of the Cubans settling in Little Havana. Now, Little Havana is the cultural epicenter of Miami and the closest thing to Cuba without ever needing a passport. We decided to explore Little Havana on a cultural food tour with Miami Culinary Tours and it was by far one of the best tours we’ve ever experienced on all of our world travels.
The Little Havana Tour
We booked a private Little Havana Food & Cultural Tour to maximize safety during COVID-19. The walking tour lasted for 2.5 hours and took us on a light walking tour around Calle Ocho, the main artery of Little Havana. Our guide, Karlee, wore a mask the entire time as did we and we felt very safe during the tour. The tour flowed at a beautiful pace and never felt stagnant. We ate our way through Little Havana while learning about the culture and history of this national treasure. Here are our recommended food stops on our Little Havana Food Tour:
El Exquisito: Our first stop on our Little Havana tour was for Cuban empanadas and Cuban coffee at El Exquisito. This unassuming family run restaurant was absolutely delicious and one of our favorite stops along our trip. The difference between Cuban empanadas and Argentinian empanadas is that Cuban empanadas are fried while Argentinian empanadas are baked. Unfortunately, this restaurant closed after 41 years in business in January 2021.
Old Havana: While the name of this restaurant might be Old Havana, it’s actually one of the newest locations in Little Havana. This expertly decorated restaurant has all of the vibes of Old Havana in a beautiful indoor & outdoor setting. We highly recommend ordering mojitos & Cuban sandwiches and enjoying a beautiful day on the outdoor patio.
Little Havana Market: The Little Havana Market is a beautifully stocked local market that serves delicious Croquettas. These croquettas are typically filled with chicken or ham and they’re a delicious snack! While you’re at Little Havana market, you can pick up fresh ingredients to cook Cuban food at home.
Los Pinarenos, Fruteria: We stopped at Los Pinarenos for a refreshing Guarappo Juice, which is fresh sugar cane juice. This was the perfect refresher on a hot Miami day!
Azucar: To end our day, we stopped at Azucar, an artisanal ice cream shop on Calle Ocho. We were so stuffed that we could barely eat, but we somehow made room for this delicious dessert. We highly recommend ordering the Abuela Maria Ice cream.
Pictured here: Happy campers eating our Cuban sandwiches and washing them down with mojitos!
We felt like we were transported to Cuba without ever needing a passport!