A LOCAL'S NEIGHBOURHOOD

–  guide to  

LITTLE HAVANA, MIAMI

Whilst Little Havana may call Miami home, its cultural heart, musical influences and domino playing old-timers could convince you you've stepped straight into 1960's Cuba.

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 – THE LOCAL –

JennyLee Molina
Founder of 3:05 Cafecito

PR #girlboss and 3:05 Cafecito pioneer JennyLee Molina, is a Cuban-American Miami native, whose city guide draws on her experiences of growing up amidst the Cuban flavours of Little Havana. 

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– 11:00AM –
LA ISLA, ART GALLERY & GIFT SHOP

“This shop features great Miami-inspired art by local artists and one-of-a-kind finds that make the perfect gift.”

 

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So unassuming you'd likely bypass it unless you knew it was there, La Isla is an intrinsic piece of the Little Havana cultural jigsaw. 

Owned and managed by the outlandishly talented Eliott Prada, La Isla showcases the art of local Cuban artists, plus the work of Eliott himself. Little Havana has a very distinctive artistic style, and this is absolutely reflected in the carefully curated pieces at La Isla.

Although tiny, you could spend hours slowly roaming here, and you'll likely never leave empty handed, thanks to the tasteful offerings of the gift shop, where small prints, clothing and homeware are all on sale.

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– 12:00AM –
MAXIMO GOMEZ PARK

“Domino Park is the quintessential hangout for Little Havana retirees. I love to see them passing the time playing dominoes all day. My great-grandmother was a champion domino player in Cuba and our family would play until dawn growing up.”

 

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Taking the prize for most evocative reminder of Old Cuba, is Maximo Gomez Park, although most locals know it simply as 'Domino Park'.

Why? One glance at this place and the mystery will reveal itself, for it's here the trash-talking old-timers congregate to discuss everything and anything over seemingly never ending games of chess and dominoes.

A real sensory experience, the first thing to envelop you will be the heavy smell of cigars, followed by the quick clack-clack of falling dominoes, before finally your eyes will be drawn to the sunshine bright mural of the 1993 Summit of the Americas.

 

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– 1:30pM –
OLD'S HAVANA RESTAURANT

“This restaurant is one of the new comers to Little Havana but the recipes are traditional. The owner and chef learned to cook from his grandmother and you can always find him slinging the best Cuban dishes.”

 

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Traditional, authentic Cuban cuisine shrouded in history, is what Old's Havana is all about.

Although a new-comer on the scene, this place is already pretty much an institution in Little Havana, where locals regularly head for a true taste of home. If you're here for lunch, the sandwiches are big enough to share (the Pan Con Bistec and Pan Con Lechon are super popular), and the cocktails, especially the Cuban passionfruit mojitos, are unmissable.

And it's not just the food that makes this a must visit - it's the intoxicating havanera atmosphere, complimented by the old photos on every wall, and the kind of live music you feel deep down in your soul.

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– 3:05pM –
GUANTANAMERA CIGAR'S & CAFE

“Cuba is known for its cigars and in Miami you can't escape them, especially in Little Havana. There are plenty of cigar shops in Little Havana to choose from.”

 

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A visit to Guantanamera's covers off two of Cuba's greats - its coffee, and its cigars.

First - coffee, and we're not talking just any old flat white or espresso. Cuban coffee isn't just a huge part of the culture, it's an art form that takes both patience and passion, and the grains that are sold here are hand selected from some of Cuba's premium plantations.

And now, cigars. Ever wanted to learn how these are rolled? Now's your chance, as Erik the cigar specialist shows you how it's done.

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– 8:00pM –
MORENOS CUBA - CUBAN CAFE & BAR

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Nestled between surrounding hotels and accessible via a fairy lit alleyway, you'll find Morenos.

Authentic, lively, charismatic and full of soul, this place is Miami's Cuban spirit through and through. Tables are scattered around a vine strewn courtyard, and the walls of the surrounding hotels boast beautiful murals - each commissioned from local artists by Jorge, Morenos owner (no guesses as to his surname).

As evening gives way to night here and the last of the well scraped plates are cleared away, tables get pushed back and the dancing commences, fuelled on by the infectious live band. Order a Mojito pitcher, lose all your dancing inhibitions, and enjoy.

 

Dinner at Morenos is included on Contiki trips in Miami

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