GD Star Rating
El Palacio de Los Jugos is one of those places that if you’re looking for Cuban food in Miami, you must visit. I went to the one on the corner of Flagler St. and 57th Ave. The dining area is outdoors and hectic. It’s always packed, loud and comforting. You get a sense of ease when you’re there and don’t necessarily need to think twice about using your hands instead of a fork.
The food is served, not as whole dishes, but more of an a la carte type setup. You walk around the inside of the restaurant, getting your choice of items, paying for each individually. You can either get it to eat there or to go. They also sell produce and homemade desserts- they even sell pork fat for $5.00 a gallon. Everything that is served is made fresh that same morning; nothing is held over night.
From the choices, I was able to try many different items. Most of it was the most common Cuban fare but some were creations unique to the restaurant.
The morros were fantastic. The rice was fluffy and very flavorful; bay leaf perfumed the rice and the chunks of pork in it added a nice rich flavor. As if the pork in it wasn’t enough, the entire thing was covered in crispy minced chicharones (deep fried pork belly).
Their plantains were great. The plantain chips were crunchy and sweet- very fresh. The tostones were crispy and creamy at the same time and were perfectly salted. Their fried sweet plantains were also very good. Dense and sweet, creamy instead of mushy- wonderfully prepared.
Their yuca was delicious. It was topped with garlic, red onions and scallions- the flavor was dead on. The texture, however, I felt was a little mushy and dry. Regardless they were tender and a pleasure to eat.
Now, their tamales were something special. Very fresh with a great corn flavor. There were chunks of pork running through it, giving it a nice texture contrast to the super soft tamal. Before the tamales are served, they are ladled with pork drippings, making for a delicious, though aggressively unhealthy side dish.
The pork was undeniably the star of all the dishes served here. The roasted pork was tasty and had a great texture. Soft and moist, perfumed by herbs, garlic and onions; a very good piece of pork that was surprisingly lean.
The chicharones were not so lean; but some of the best I’ve ever had. The skin was super crackly and crisp, while the meat was moist and tender, not burnt to a crisp as it is in many places. It was incredibly easy to eat. Usually they requite a load of chewing, but these were so fresh and so perfectly cooked that it wasn’t at all an issue.
The frituras de malanga were the next thing I tried. They were fried perfectly, great even color on them and nice crisp texture. The inside was soft and flavorful, with garlic running through it- delicious. The yuca frita to me was WAAAYYY better than the other yuca preparation. It was insanely crispy and flavorful. Some of the best I’ve had.
One of the most unique items on the menu was a small perfectly round breaded and fried fritter looking thing. As soon as you bite into it, you realize that it’s not a fritter at all, it’s a miniature cordon bleu.
Chicken molded around small diced ham and the creamiest cheese you can imagine, breaded and deep fried to a beautiful deep golden brown. This was truly amazing. One of my favorite things of the day by far. It was so decadent and delicious and unexpected- it really took me by surprise.
Their seafood was fresh and beautifully presented. The tail on shrimp, though slightly over cooked, were tasty and perfectly seasoned. The lobster tail was beautiful. It was a very colorful dish, with lots of parsley and peppers and somehow the lobster was still the star of the show. None of the other components ever took center stage; they all just enhanced the flavor of the rich, sweet lobster meat. Very good dish.
Next came dessert. Their homemade dulce de leche, although not much to look at, was a pleasure to eat. The texture wasn’t my favorite, similar to that of curds, but the flavor was deep and intense. Sinfully sweet, but not so much that you couldn’t eat too much of it. In fact, it was dangerously addictive. Their buñuelos were also good, and thankfully they were a bit more subtle.
Buñuelos are sort of like a French toast, but made of yuca, that are formed into ’8′ shapes before cooking. They are then stored in syrup and chilled until ready for consumption.
These buñuelos were sweet, but not too sweet, not too dry, but not too syrupy- perfect. They had a depth of flavor that was impressive. Anise, cinnamon and citrus all working together harmoniously to create a beautiful flavor. They were served with a salty white cheese that created the perfect contrast of flavor and texture to send this dessert over the top. I thoroughly enjoyed this.
I only tried one of their freshly made juices, but I have a feeling I tried the right one. Their jugo de mamey was one of the best juices I’ve had. It was thick, super fresh and tasty. Not too sweet either, it actually had a nice earthy undertone that balanced out the flavors a bit, I could’ve drank it all day.
Over all, it was a great experience. The owner is the nicest lady you could ever meet. She was the original owner of the location I went to, and has been running it for 38 years. She also has a few other locations under her belt.
The restaurant is great and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for good Cuban food. Whether you want to eat out, or take food home to host a party, El Palacio de los Jugos will over deliver big time.
GD Star Rating
El Palacio de Los Jugos,