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Little Havana/Calle Ocho Travel Guide

Little Havana: Shopping

The shopping scene in Calle Ocho is dominated by stores that blatantly cater to the tourist, but that isn't all bad. Although there are tee-shirts aplenty and kitschy knick-knacks by the score, the enlightened tourist can pick up some great examples of Latin American art, folk art, music, books, and clothing.

Little Havana To Go
Little Havana To Go Interior
Raúl and one of the "third generation," Madison Musibay, talk to a customer in the Little Havana to Go store.
Jorge Castillo: the Little Havana to Go store is one of our favorite places in Little Havana.

Glenn Lindgren: The store is part of the renaissance of Calle Ocho that is helping revitalize the area.

Raúl Musibay: It's a great place to pick up some Cuban-themed souvenirs of your trip to Miami.

Jorge Castillo: With the closing of her own store, it's one of only a few places where you can purchase the artwork of Cookie Etxebarrieta.

Little Havana To Go Hats
Jorge models one of several hats available in the store.
Many of the most popular stores are within the tourist-friendly nexus of Domino Park. However, those with an adventurous spirit may find interesting shopping venues along the entire length of Calle Ocho.

Although the casual tourist might overlook the stretch of Calle Ocho west of 27th Avenue, there are several points of interest. Sentir Cubano is a Cuban memorabilia and food warehouse where one can join the masses posing for snapshots in front of the colorful murals that adorn the exterior of the store. This western section of Calle Ocho is also home to the famous rent-by-the-hour "love motels," a traditional trysting spot for amorous Miami couples since the 1950s.

Lily's Records Exterior
Jorge Castillo: Little Havana has many small shops where you can pick up souvenirs, Cuban memorabilia, crafts, artwork, and Latin music.

Glenn Lindgren: One of the best places for Latin music of all types is Lily's Records. Owner Lilia Reyes has a large and very comprehensive collection of Latin American CDs.

Jorge Castillo: She's been in the music business since 1968.

Raúl Musibay: If they don't have it at Lily's, they can get it for you!

Lily's Records Interior
Lily's has a HUGE selection of Latin music representing many cultures and music styles: Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico, Bachata, Santo Domingo, Vallenatos, Latin Rock, Salsa -- you name it! They also have videos.
Florida heritage sign
El Gato Turrito

Jorge Castillo: One of the best kept secrets for low, low liquor prices in Miami is El Gato Tuerto.

Raúl Musibay: It's also one of the best places in town to buy beer by the keg for your big party.

Glenn Lindgren: They have a decent selection of wine from Spain to complement that paella you're making for this evening.

Tropical Supermarket Exterior
Jorge Castillo: Whenever we travel, we like to check out the grocery stores, especially the ethnic ones.

Glenn Lindgren: We've had more fun checking out a grocery in Chinatown, or Little Italy, Germantown -- whatever.

Jorge Castillo: It's fun to see what people from other cultures are eating.

Glenn Lindgren: It's even more fun to discover new foods.

Raúl Musibay: Sometimes we discover some things we really don't like.

Glenn Lindgren: But that's all part of the fun!

Jorge Castillo: One of the most authentic Cuban groceries can be found right on Calle Ocho.

Glenn Lindgren: The Tropical Supermarket harks back to the early days of Sedanos -- before they went "Hollywood."

Jorge Castillo: No, it's not fancy but in an era of big corporate supermarket chains, it is a little piece of history.

Raúl Musibay: They have all of the Latin foods.

Glenn Lindgren: Stop in to pick up something for a snack, a quick lunch, or enough food to prepare a complete Cuban meal.

Jorge Castillo: Just have fun, come in and browse. I guarantee you will find something that will tempt you.

Tropical Supermarket Checkout
Tropical Supermarket Interior

Little Havana Supermarkets

Glenn Lindgren: We don't know about you, but we can't go to any city anywhere without checking out the bakeries.

Jorge Castillo: In the 1940s and 1950s, Cuban bakers took cake baking (a direct import form the United States) to new heights.

Glenn Lindgren: One bakery that has deep roots in Cuba is the La Gran Via Super Cake.

Jorge Castillo: They make beautiful cakes for all occasions.

Glenn Lindgren: Stop by and pick up some "walking around" Cuban pastries for a delicious breakfast or snack.

Raúl Musibay: You can find another great Cuban bakery down between 5th and 6th Avenues: the Tosca Bakery.

Glenn Lindgren: Believe me, the Tosca Bakery is worth the trip. It has to be one of the best Cuban bakeries in Miami!

Jorge Castillo: They have everything here -- all of the classic Cuban pastries, pastelitos, brazo gitano, nata cake, capuchinos, torrejas -- with so many great things, you're going to have a hard time making up your mind.

Tosca Bakery

Glenn Lindgren: That's why I always start with a large bag or box! In a few minutes I have a huge load of treats to bring home and share with family and friends.

Raúl Musibay: When you have a box of fresh Cuban pastries, it's just amazing how many friends you suddenly have.

Little Havana Bakeries

El Titan de Bronze Cigar Factory
El Titan de Bronze Cigar Factory The Best-Kept Secret on Calle Ocho.
El Credito Cigar Factory
El Credito Cigar Factory
Little Havana Cigar Factory
Little Havana Cigar Factory

Little Havana Cigars

The Details

A recent remodeling erased some of its quaintness, but still one of the best places in Miami for a cake, super or otherwise.

La Gran Via Super Cake

Artisan breads made in small quantities and enough sweet treats such as brazo gitano and nata cake to put you on a permanent sugar high.

Tosca Bakery

Little Havana to Go

Everything from kitsch to classics to commemorate your trip to Miami. Always a popular stop on the tours.

Lily's Records

Since 1976, Lily's has been the place to find all types of Latin Music. Lily's has always been an anchor store on Calle Ocho that attracts both locals and visitors with its brightly lit and modern shop. Known for friendly and personal service, everyone is always welcome at Lily's.
Lily's Records
1419 Southwest 8th Street
Miami, FL 33135
La Gran Via Super Cake
950 Southwest 8th Street
Miami, FL 33130
Tosca Bakery
545 Southwest 8th Street
Miami, FL 33130
Little Havana To Go
1442 Southwest 8th Street
Miami, FL 33135

Everything for the tourist and Cuban aficionado including clothing, artwork, posters, flags, and games. Where else can you find your "Made in America with 100% Cuban parts" t-shirt? Line up the family for the ubiquitous snapshot in front of the Mendoza-painted murals that decorate the exterior walls of the store.

Hours: Monday thru Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Sentir Cubano

Sentir Cubano
3100 Southwest 8th Street
Miami, FL 33135

Little Havana Supermarkets

Perhaps food is the best entry point to any culture. In an era of big corporate supermarket chains, the Tropical Supermarket on the lower end of Calle Ocho and El Presidente on 19th are throwbacks to early Cuban-American grocery stores, with all the traditional Latin foods and cuts of meat.

El Nuevo Siglo Supermarket even has a large, sit down lunch counter in the back for the immediately hungry.

There is an adventure waiting in every "ethnic" grocery store. If you are not Cuban or Latin, shop where the locals shop and discover some new foods.

A taste of island life with boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables that look like they just came off of the farm. Pick up ripe fruit and vegetables in what has become the most photogenic spot en la Calle.

Los Pinareños Frutería

Cheap liquor and a decent selection and they even deliver to most of downtown.

EL Gato Tuerto

HOURS: Sunday through Thursday 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. | Friday and Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.

CREDIT CARDS: Visa and MasterCard


Tropical Supermarket
500 Southwest 8th Street
Miami, FL 33130
El Nuevo Siglo Supermarket
1305 SW 8th Street
Miami, FL 33135
Los Pinareños Frutería
1334 Southwest 8th Street
Miami, FL 33135
El Gato Tuerto
476 Southwest 8th Street
Miami, FL 33130
El Presidente Supermarket
1895 SW 8th Street
Miami, FL 33135
El Rey Supermarket
810 Southwest 12th Avenue
Miami, FL 33130
Calle Ocho: Artists

Continued on Next Page

87-year-old owner Evelio Guelmes usually mans the counter at this small Calle Ocho factory. His El Titan de Bronze Redemption wins accolades for quality and cost, about $6 per cigar. The factory uses leaf tobacco from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Brazil.

El Titan de Bronze

Here 12 rollers turn out more than 800,000 cigars a year. If that seems improbable, stop by and watch the masters in action as they turn out cigars in a blaze of flying fingers. Proprietor Don José "Pepin" Garcia spent 30 years in Cuba honing his craft on Cohibas, Partagas, and Montecristos.

El Rey de los Habanos

"La Gloria Cubana" reigns supreme at this popular stop on the tour bus circuit. The factory's signature cigars have achieved cult status among the fat tobacco crowd as the best smoke for the money. Cigar Master Ernesto Perez-Carrillo, Jr. oversees the small Little Havana factory and a much larger operation in the Dominican Republic. Caution: Perez-Carillo is an affable man whose lyrical tales of rich loamy soil and tender leaf tobacco can convince even the committed non-smoker to leave with a box.

El Crédito Cigar Factory

Little Havana Cigars

El Credito Cigar Factory
1106 Southwest 8th Street
Miami, FL 33130
El Rey de los Habanos
1120 Southwest 8th Street
Miami, FL 33135
El Titan de Bronze Cigars
1071 Southwest 8th Street
Miami, FL 33130

There's More! Read On:

Calle Ocho | Calle Ocho Culture | Calle Ocho Restaurants

Calle Ocho Shopping | Calle Ocho Artists | Calle Ocho Sights

This new Kindle version contains all of the recipes and editorial copy from the original print edition. As a bonus, the new Kindle edition includes 24 new photos of the prepared dishes.



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