Eat, Drink and Be Merry…Cuban Style

By Sue Arrowsmith

Named after one of Cuba’s most commonly-used root vegetables, Malanga Café in South Dade offers something rare in this part of town – solid, Cuban comfort food and a party atmosphere for the whole family.

Malanga Café makes (yes, you guessed it) one amazing cream of malanga soup ($4.50). The texture is super smooth and velvety and is served with a little bit of mozzarella cheese on top.

There are other ways to enjoy it – golden Malanga Fritters ($6); Boiled Malanga ($5) and Chicharritas de Malanga ($5), paper-thin slices fried.

As good as the soup is their specialty Pan con Lechon (roast pork sandwich, $9.50) and they want everyone to know, the restaurant’s logo literally reads “World’s Best Pan con Lechon.”

Not sure if there’s a better one in another continent, but this one is REALLY good. It’s like your grandma’s day-after-Noche Buena leftover pork fell on your plate. This huge portion comes served in a soft hoagie roll with a side of sautéed onions and mojo.

Other specialties on the menu include Grilled Palomilla Steak ($10); Chicken Vaca Frita ($12), shredded chicken grilled with onions, garlic and their homemade mango sauce and a full rack of Baby Back Ribs with a BBQ guava sauce ($18.50).

To satisfy your sweet tooth, choose from Coconut Flan, Guava Cheesecake, Key Lime Pie, White Cheese with mango and guava sauce, and Rice Pudding ($4.25 – $5.75).

Opened just two months ago, the restaurant is beautiful, with terracotta-colored walls, Mexican tiles, black and white photos of Cuba’s finest musicians and icons, and long drapes framing a lush outside patio. One wall is graffitied with Cuban says, like “Que vola contigo” and “Ponte para tu numero.”

But the real winning touch is the warm and friendly service that will leave you feeling like part of the family. There is live Cuban music on Friday and Saturday nights. The staff dresses up with funny hats, glasses and other props, including the owners who pop out from the back to shimmy around the dining room.

Malanga Café also serves breakfast everyday from 7 a.m. to noon.

Malanga Café

12313 South Dixie Highway
Miami, Fl. 33156
Tel. 305-259-1550


Sunday – Thursday, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Friday – Saturday, from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Take-out, delivery and catering available

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