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Jorge Castillo: Always popular with the locals, Versailles is a great place to take those out-of-town visitors for a complete immersion in Cuban culture. The restaurant is a lot like the Cuba of old -- loud, boisterous, and full of excitement, just dripping in Cuban patriotism.

Raúl Musibay: You'll leave the restaurant being proud that you are Cuban.

Glenn Lindgren: Or wishing that you were Cuban.

Jorge Castillo: Legend has it that Versailles started its life as a French restaurant -- on Calle Ocho? The facility and the location proved ideal for Cuban Felipe Valls, Sr. who created this now legendary restaurant back in 1971.

Glenn Lindgren: The restaurant's décor looks like the Palace of Versailles in France. I've never seen so much etched glass and so many mirrors in a restaurant. It is the ultimate spot for people watchers!

Jorge and Glenn at Coffee Window
The walk-up coffee window -- “La Ventanita” -- serves more than 1,000 cafecitos a day.

Versailles Restaurant -- Miami

Jorge Castillo: Versailles is a very popular gathering place for the Cuban community. The walk-up coffee window (ventanita) serves more than 1,000 cafecitos a day. When Cubans gather for café, it always comes with a lot of conversation, debate, and humor.
Versailles Sign

Raúl Musibay: Any time there is any news event that affects Cubans, the TV vans line up outside to do their pieces on the Cuban pulse beat. It's also a popular hang out for politicians and they've had several famous visitors over the years.

Glenn Lindgren: Let's just say the sight of a limousine or two or a couple of Suburbans loaded with secret service agents hardly raises an eyebrow here.

Jorge Castillo: The problem with many legends is that their glory fades before the legend is forgotten. Just a few years ago, our recommendation of Versailles would have been lukewarm. They seemed to be living mainly on their reputation.

A landmark on Calle Ocho.

Raúl Musibay: They also had become a "first night out" dinner place for at least one cruise line.

Glenn Lindgren: Yes, Versailles remained a popular hangout for the local Cubans, but the food was merely good, not great. The restaurant's popularity was having a negative effect -- parking was a major problem (and still is) and the dining experience was rushed at best. The days of enjoying a leisurely meal were over.

A Spanish-style tortilla is great for breakfast or lunch here.

Jorge Castillo: In the past few years, Versailles has really experienced a Renaissance. We're very happy to report that on recent trips the food has been fantastic. The glory days of Versailles have returned.

Glenn Lindgren: Versailles has always had one of the largest Cuban food menus we have ever seen. The sheer diversity of this large menu really keeps the kitchen hopping. If they don't have it on the menu, it's probably not Cuban food!

Jorge Castillo: With such an incredibly large menu, it's hard to isolate a few favorites, but we'll try.

Lechon Plate
The lechón asado plate with maduros and moros y cristianos.
Raúl Musibay: Versailles passes the Three Guys lechón asado test with flying colors. (If they do the lechón right, you know they're doing something right in the kitchen.

Jorge Castillo: The soups are very good here and I especially like the garlic and egg soup, a beef-based soup with chunks of tender (and mild) garlic.

Glenn Lindgren: Garlicky roasted chicken, infused with a great citrus flavor, is a real crowd pleaser. You get half a chicken for a very low price -- a real bargain.

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Jorge Castillo: Hey, if you like lamb...

Glenn Lindgren: ... and even if you think you don't...

Jorge Castillo: ...the "jarrete de cordero" is a moist and flavorful dish.

Glenn Lindgren: The boliche here is really great. Served with thick, dark gravy, this Cuban version of pot roast is a cut above anything you'll ever find in an American restaurant.

Jorge Castillo: They also do a wonderful milanesa de pollo – a lightly breaded boneless chicken breast with a delicate Spanish sauce and melted white cheese.

Glenn Lindgren: We also recommend their fried stuffed yuca, arroz imperial, picadillo, masas de puerco fritas, vaca frita, palomilla steak, and croquetas.
Pastry Case

Raúl Musibay: Try eating all that in one sitting!

Jorge Castillo: Can't make up your mind? Order the "classic" combination plate, which comes with a Cuban tamal, lechón asado (roast pork), and picadillo brimming with onions, sweet peppers, and raisins.

Glenn Lindgren: As in all Cuban restaurants, entrees come with frijoles negros, white rice, and sweet plátanos maduros. Everything is made with fresh ingredients on site.

Raúl Musibay: No one leaves here hungry! Portions are huge and there are usually plenty of leftovers to take home.

Check out the bakery next door for some take home treats.
Sales Girl

Jorge Castillo: Versailles makes all of their own bread and desserts in their attached bakery next door. So, be sure to save room for dessert. We especially like the unique turrón de jijona flan. It's light and eggy with the great nutty taste of turrones (a Spanish candy popular at Christmas time.)

Glenn Lindgren: Order the crema catalana – the Cuban version of crème Brûlée – and you'll get a huge serving. This tasty custard, with a golden brown crunchy topping of caramelized sugar, is enough for two.

Jorge Castillo: Finally, Versailles is one of the few places in Miami that is open late. So, if you have a craving for Cuban food at 3:00 a.m. on a Saturday night, this is a great place to go.
SPECIAL NOTE: Felipe Valls and family are very big in the restaurant business. At last count, they owned and operated 18 Cuban and Cuban-Spanish restaurants in and around Miami. They have several satellite locations of Versailles (one at Miami International Airport), own eight La Carreta restaurants, and also run the elegant Casa Juancho Spanish-themed restaurant just down the street on Calle Ocho.

HOURS: Sunday through Thursday: 8:00 a.m. - 2:00 a.m. | Friday and Saturday: 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 a.m.

ATMOSPHERE: Miami Casual

PRICES: Entrees priced less than $12, several sandwiches and appetizers priced less than $6.

CREDIT CARDS: American Express, Diners Club, Discover, Mastercard, Visa

BAR: Full

The Details

Three Guys Cuban Recipe Links:

Arroz Imperial


Cuban Tamales

Cuban Hamburger (Frita) Recipe


Masas de Puerco Fritas

Vaca Frita

Palomilla Steak

Versailles Restaurant
3555 Southwest 8th Street
Miami, FL 33135
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.



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 14 new photos of the prepared dishes.


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Cuban, Spanish, and Latin American food recipes, Miami/Little Havana Travel Guide, Miami Restaurant Guide, Hispanic Culture & Food
The Three Guys From Miami are: Raúl Musibay, Glenn Lindgren, and Jorge Castillo
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