MIAGuide

The Best Cuban Sandwiches In Miami

No one does a cuban sandwich better than Miami—and here’s where you’ll find the best.
Rémy Martin

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings / @eatthecanvasllc

Ham, roast pork, pickles, mustard, and Swiss cheese between two triangular slices of pressed cuban bread. Miamians know those ingredients as well as their own social security numbers, or the chorus to Pitbull’s “Culo,” because they are the five building blocks of the most famous sandwich in Miami: the cuban sandwich. The sandwiches on this guide are proof of just how wonderful those ingredients can taste when prepared right—but there are also plenty of places on this guide showing that a little creativity can be a good thing. And if you're looking for food that goes beyond the sandwich, check out our guide to the best Cuban restaurants in Miami.

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Sandwiches

Little Havana

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There are some really great sandwiches on this guide—really great ones. But even after eating them all, we still feel comfortable saying Sanguich makes the best cuban sandwich in Miami. This is probably not shocking news to anyone who’s read our review of the Little Havana sandwich shop. But we’re happy to say it again and again—every Miamian needs to try this cuban sandwich. It’s magic from the first crispy bite: an always-perfect ratio of cuban bread, Swiss cheese, ham, roast pork, pickles, and mustard.

photo credit: CLEVELAND JENNINGS / @EATTHECANVASLLC

What’s that saying (we just made up right now)? Reject tradition and embrace the unexpected use of chorizo? Well, if it leads the world to produce more sandwiches like this, we’d print it on bumper stickers and stick it to every car on the Palmetto during rush hour. This Doral shop's “Don Quixote” is made with mozzarella instead of swiss cheese, and juicy bits of cured chorizo instead of lechon. The mild housemade mustard comes on the side, meaning you have full jurisdiction over your mustard intake. Same with the pickles in case you're not wild about those. Does the fact that it's made with medianoche bread technically make this a, well, medianoche? Sure. But it still deserves a place on the guide, and it's not the only rule breaker on this list.

Off Site is a Little River nano-brewery that has a menu full of ridiculously good bar food. And on that menu, you’ll find an outstanding cuban sandwich. The bread is pressed crispy enough to play shuffleboard on. But we also really like what’s going on underneath that bread: lechon, aged ham, house pickles, and Kewpie mustard. Another great thing about this sandwich: you can pair it with one of the excellent beers from Off Site.

Louie’s is an outdoor tiki hut situation in the back of a Mid-Beach hotel. You can access it from the Miami Beach boardwalk, so you don’t have to walk through the lobby all sandy and wet. Not only is this place one of the only local-friendly options a mere 15 yards from the sand, but they make one of the best cuban sandwiches in Miami, too. And this is a cubano that really makes its pork the star of the show. It’s heavy on meat—delicious roast pork is nearly overflowing out of the sandwich. Everything else is there (pressed cuban bread, Swiss cheese, mustard, and pickles) but in small enough ratios that don’t distract from the pork. This is just what you want after a beach day or long walk down the boardwalk. 

With a name like Breadman, it’s no surprise that what sets this Hialeah Cuban bakery’s sandwich apart is the bread. It doesn’t just crunch—it plays your molars like a xylophone. The sandwich comes with all the typical things (in addition to mayo). It doesn’t look like a chunky sandwich, but the bread is enormous, so there's actually a lot of meat thanks to all the surface area it has to cover. The entire thing is about the size of a high school composition notebook, but with less doodles and more mustard stains.  

If your assignment was to make a traditional cuban sandwich and you handed this in, you might get a D-. To start, it’s served on a Portuguese muffin. There’s also cheddar cheese and mayo involved. But at least the Miami Shores shop acknowledges this by naming it the “Cubanish.” However, when your hypothetical teacher tastes this thing, they will bump you up to a passing grade and maybe even throw a few sparkly stickers your way too. Proper is an outstanding meat shop, which is obvious after the first bite of incredible roasted pork shoulder and smoked rosemary ham. The cheddar cheese also works surprisingly well. Once again, we’re all for breaking rules when they turn out this good.

Sarussi’s take on a cubano is an Italian-Cuban-American hybrid that either goes by the Sarussi Original or Original cuban Sandwich, depending on which location you visit. What makes it legit in our book is that it includes roast pork, ham, cheese, and pickles. But from there, Sarussi gets off the exit and speeds away from tradition. They use sweet shaved ham and mozzarella. And instead of pressed cuban bread, they use fluffy Italian rolls, toast the entire sandwich in a pizza oven, and then brush the warm, crispy crust with garlic butter. They also use a garlicky, tangy secret sauce over the traditional mustard.

There are few places in the city that do sandwiches as deliciously as Tinta Y Cafe, a small spot in Coral Gables (there's a Miami Shores location too). You should make it your goal to try every sandwich on the menu here, but especially the Patria, their version of a cuban sandwich. They bend the rules here just a little by adding mortadella and using a baguette rather than cuban bread. But, again, rules are meant to be broken when they taste like this.

Babe’s is a Palmetto Bay butcher shop, so it’s no surprise that the best part of this excellent sandwich is the meat. The smoked ham and roast pork are the headliners you bought tickets to see. You will want to stop halfway through eating this and ask them to sign your forehead. The pickles, Swiss cheese, mustard, and cuban bread (which they bake themselves) are very capable and talented background singers. But that lovely combination of ham and pork? That’s what you’ll be daydreaming about at work 48 hours later.

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings / @eatthecanvasllc

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A cuban sandwich with mozzarella is almost as dubious as one from Tampa. But Havana Harry’s in Coral Gables combines nutty Swiss with its stretchy Italian brother-in-law, mozzarella—and it actually works. This sandwich is bigger than your face and filled with layers of thick ham, chunks of juicy pork, and big pickle slices. But the best thing about it is the way the cheese runs down the sides from the pressure of the hot press. It ends up forming salty cheese crisps you can snap off and stuff right back in the sandwich for an extra crunch.

You know how when sandwiches are cut into triangles, the first corner bite is always the best bite? Well, every bite of the cuban sandwich at this South Beach ventanita is like that. They cut their sandwich thinner than any cuban sandwich we’ve seen around Miami. We’re very bad at geometry, but we believe it could be a scalene triangle? Or perhaps an extreme isosceles-obtuse? Of course, it’s not just the shape that makes this great. There’s a generous portion of roast pork, a healthy amount of cheese, and Las Olas’ location makes it a perfect lunch to bring to the beach.

Ham can be as mundane as a ham and cheese sandwich or as special as a holiday roast. And the ham on this cuban certainly makes us feel like we’re celebrating something. It’s so thick, it’d give the deli lady at Publix un infarto. There are about four to five slices of it stacked on top of mustard, crunchy pickles, pork, and gooey Swiss cheese. If this sandwich was a cat it’d be a chonker, and its veterinarian would be telling you to stop feeding it so much ham. 

Enriqueta’s is sandwiched (pun extremely intended) between Wynwood and Edgewater, and serves some of the best Cuban food you’ll find in the area. The menu, like any good diner, will take you a while to read, but the bulk of it is devoted to great sandwiches—like their simple, classic cuban. We know we’re judging cuban sandwiches here, but we also strongly endorse their cubano con croquetas. They’ll stuff two croquetas inside your cuban sandwich, which bind everything together like delicious cement.

North Miami’s Three Palms serves a big, cheesy cuban sandwich that will require two hands and a big appetite to consume. There are no detours from tradition here—their version is as straightforward a cuban sandwich as you’ll find in Miami. But they do an especially great job of pressing the sandwich. The bread is crunchy and the ham and pork are warmed to the core. They also use an impressive amount of cheese. That’s something you’ll never hear us complaining about.

Normally, we are suspicious of cuban sandwiches that use salami, because that’s what they do in Tampa. And we don’t generally listen to people from Tampa—they dress up as pirates and like hockey. Weird. However, this Little Havana restaurant's cuban sandwich (which does use salami) is good enough to make us ignore our personal anti-salami rule for 15 minutes. We remain dubious when it comes to Tampa though.

If this guide was broken into sub-categories, Mary’s would get “Best Nocturnal Cuban Sandwich.” Do we recommend you prioritize this sandwich over a place like, say, Sanguich? No. But if it’s 2am and your stomach is getting angry, go to Mary’s. The Coral Gables ventanita is open 24/7 and is also attached to a laundromat, so you can entertain yourself with their very solid cuban sandwich while you wait for your towels to dry.

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