Versailles Restaurant for an Excellent Cuban Meal in Miami

Line outside Versailles Restaurant in Little Havana on a Sunday evening.

Sometimes long waits are worth it. When I arrived at Versailles Restaurant in the Little Havana district of Miami, I was told the wait would be a half hour. It wound up being 25 minutes. When I was seated, it took a while for a waitress to come by. When I had finished eating, I had to wait a half hour for someone to bring me my check. All of those waits were worth it, though. My entire meal was phenomenal, and my $27 tab included two mixed drinks.

Let’s start with those cocktails. Versailles says they have a full bar, and I trust they could make whatever you wanted. However, I was in a Cuban restaurant. There were four listed cocktails, and only two were really interesting to me: A mojito, and a lime daiquiri. I resolved to try both, and I started with the mojito.

My Cuban mojito at Versailles. I appreciate the piece of sugar cane to use as a swizzle stick.

That drink was excellent. It took a while for someone to come by for me to place my order, but when they did, the drink came quickly. I prefer a mojito with a great deal of lime and mint, and I prefer that it be, relatively speaking, less sweet. This drink hit all of those notes. Not too long after my I finished my drink, my dinner arrived. I had ordered the chicken in yellow rice, and I requested it with dark meat. It came with a side of fried bananas and plantains. I also wanted to try the Cuban version of tamal, so I ordered one of those.

My dinner at Versailles Restaurant in the Little Havana district of Miami. It is hard to describe how much food this was.

I mostly treated the fried bananas and plantains as a dessert. The plantains were mostly just a slightly sweet starch, but the fried bananas were amazing. The tamal was superb. The masa was very similar to a Mexican tamale, but the meat was different. Where a Mexican tamale was all of the meat at the center of the tamale, a Cuban tamal had shreds of meat (pork?) scattered throughout the masa. It was excellent.

The main thing, of course, was the main thing. It is hard to describe how much food was on my table. The dish of chicken and yellow rice was amazing. The chicken fat had soaked into the rice, and there were heavy notes of garlic in the dish. There were a few scattered vegetables in the dish, principally green peas and roasted red peppers. The dish was not at all spicy. The chicken was buried underneath the rice, and it was moist and tender.

I wanted to try a lime daiquiri, and it was hard to track down a member of the wait staff to get it. I eventually did, and it was worth the wait. Much as with the mojito, it was sweet without being too sweet.

Lime daiquiri at Versailles Restaurant in Miami.

After my drink, I had the only truly frustrating moment of the meal. I wanted to pay my check, and I waited… and waited… and waited. I eventually started waving at members of the wait staff, and nobody would look at me. Eventually, I stood up next to my table. Still, nobody came. I waited 30 minutes before my waitress came and I could ask for my check. From that point, the process was efficient.

Would I go again? Of course. The food was amazing, and the prices were completely fair. It also looked like most of the tables around me were receiving much better service, and perhaps I simply had bad luck. Some things are worth the wait.

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