When you think about food in Little Havana, what do you normally think of? Chances are that Cuban cuisine is the first thing that pops into your mind. The neighborhood has no shortage of it, and it’s easy to overlook any newcomers among the mainstays that have been there for years. But if you overlook Sala’o Cuban Bar & Pescaderia, you’re making a huge mistake.
At first glance, Sala’o might seem like your usual Cuban joint. It’s not: The Ernest Hemingway-inspired eatery is helmed by Chef Jorge Mas — formerly of Niu Kitchen and Barceloneta — and he’s put together a bevy of impressive Caribbean and Latin flavors on the menu. Raw bar selections include familiar dishes like Ceviche that are priced at a steal for the quality. Appetizers are also predominantly seafood, but the Tartare de Vaca (beef tartare) was our favorite of the bunch; do not miss out on it.
Avoid overdoing it with appetizers, though, as mains come quick and hearty. Portions are more than generous, and you’ll likely find yourself with leftovers. The standout of the meal was the Pescado Salsa Perro (Catch of the Day), a perfectly cooked filet that had our taste buds dancing. As the description suggests, the fish changes daily but we’re hopeful the quality doesn’t. For something a little more homey, try the Harina Con Cangrejo — a Cuban cornmeal stew with crab meat. And meat-eaters need not worry, as chicken and other non-seafood options are available as well. But honestly, you’re here for the seafood.
The dessert menu is short and sweet, and we’ll save you some time: Get the Fanguito. The burnt milk mousse with dark chocolate and bread crumbs makes for a cool photo (plus it tastes great). We didn’t have the chance to try the other choices — fruta bomba and timba — but we’ll definitely be back for them … especially at $6 and $5, respectively.
That’s why Sala’o made such an impression on us: It’s not only phenomenal food, but it’s also surprisingly affordable. You can come here, eat like royalty and not break the bank. It’s getting harder and harder to say that about restaurants in Miami, so this is a nice change of pace.