Versailles

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Versailles

Versailles

Congratulations Versailles, you finally did it!  “World’s Most Famous Cuban Restaurant” … in Miami, Florida …. named after a famous palace outside of Paris, France.  After recommendation after recommendation of this is where the best Cuban food was, I finally decided to cave and give it a try.  I always take food recommendations with a grain of salt.  Is the recommendation coming from a foodie or someone who is just telling you what the most “well-known” place is, or where all the tourists normally like to go.  There are few truly vetted sites out there that give it to you straight.  And no I’m not talking about you Yelp!  I made my way to Versailles, and sure enough, it was packed, and sure enough, it was decorated with a Versailles theme.  My table was in a room that resembled the Hall of Mirrors at the actual palace.  Food?  Read on….

The Versailles Appetizer Combo

The Versailles Appetizer Combo

Here we started with a little appetizer combo plate that had some empanadas, croquettes, and fried yucca.  I was disappointed with the yucca.  It was a bit on the dry side.  The empanadas were decent, and the croquettes were fairly yummy.  I did like the dipping sauce that they all came in.  Fairly standard fried fair, nothing that will make all your wildest dreams come try, but enough to give you a nice idea of what some of the building blocks of Cuban cuisine are.

Ropa Vieja

Ropa Vieja

For the first entrée I went with the common denominators of all common denominators, the Ropa Vieja.  I can’t say I’ve been to dozens of Cuban restaurants living in Salt Lake City, but when I travel, and I do go to a Cuban place, they have Ropa Vieja on the menu.  Luckily this plate tastes much better than the Spanish translation of the dish “Old Clothes”.  The stewed beef was absolutely delicious, as this was my favorite plate of the visit.  The sauce was on par, everything was tasty.

The Cuban Sandwich

The Cuban Sandwich

Another staple of Cuban cuisine and perhaps #2 on the list of most well-known Cuban dishes would be the Cuban Sandwich, which is basically a sandwich with pork, ham, pickles, cheese, and mustard all on toasted Cuban bread.  I found the sandwich to be quite yummy.  I liked the way it was toasted and slightly salty to the taste.  All the flavors seemed to be on point and nice.  This was yummy also.

Pork Frito

Pork Frito

Lastly, we shared a plate of the Puerco Frito.  Small chunks of fried pork pieces with a side of rice and sweet plantain.  I’ve had this dish enough to determine that it wasn’t my favorite.  The pork pieces were a bit on the fatty side for me.  I like the fried pork much more when on top of a mofongo and with some criollo sauce.  The plantains were delicious.

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Verdict?  You can’t tell me that Versailles is the “best” Cuban food in Miami, but it was a good experience nevertheless.  I enjoyed the ambiance, and the place did have tons of Cubans in it, that has to count for something.  Versailles was good, but probably more of a bucket list item for this occasional Miami visitor.  I’ll try somewhere else next time.

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