MIAReview

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings

The bandeja from Madroño surrounded by churrasco, quesillo, and pio quinto.
9.0

Madroño

Nicaraguan

Sweetwater

$$$$Perfect For:Casual Weeknight DinnerDinner with the ParentsBirthdaysClassic Establishment

Included In

Let’s play a game of Miami word association.

  • Sun: hot.

  • Yellow light: accelerate.

  • Nicaraguan food: fritanga.

It’s easy to oversimplify Nicaraguan food and assume it can all fit neatly in a styrofoam box of grilled beef, gallo pinto, and fried cheese—but it’s also wrong. And Madroño is the best example of how incredibly nuanced and diverse Nicaraguan restaurants can be. This classic spot serves unfussy comfort food in a white tablecloth environment worthy of celebrating your niece’s First Communion. 

If this is your first time at this Sweetwater restaurant, there are a few things you should know. Mardoño doesn’t take reservations, an aggressive amount of colorful streamers will be thrown in your general direction if it’s your birthday, and you have to order the bandeja. It’s like the Nicaraguan version of a lazy susan filled with the most popular dishes from the entire left side of the menu, including indio viejo, queso frito, chicharrones, grilled beef, chicken, and pork among a mountain of other delicious things. This susana vaga (we’re calling it that) could feed four to six hungry people or two people for four days—we say from personal experience. 

Madroño's dining room with white tablecloths and large windows.

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings

Outdoor seating at Madroño.

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings

Closeup of Madroño's bandeja.

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings

Madroño's dining room with white tablecloths and large windows.
Outdoor seating at Madroño.
Closeup of Madroño's bandeja.

Walking into Madroño’s dining room feels like unboxing an iPhone. The room is white, bright, and a single flower adorns each table. Servers swiftly crumb between courses. The maximum amount of time we’ve seen a crumpled straw wrapper sitting around is .003 seconds. The team here is so attentive, you’ll start to wonder if they can hear your inner monologue (let’s hope not). 

Madroño made Miami its home just one year after the Golden Girls did. It’s in its late 30s now, but unlike those of us diving into a confusing world of retinol cream and weeklong hangovers from two martinis—this place is in its prime. And it’s still changing the way we think about Nicaraguan restaurants in Miami.

Food Rundown

The bandeja from Madroño.

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings

Bandeja De Antojitos “El Madroño”

To list everything on the bandeja would require us to pull out an ancient scroll that lands at your feet. But here we go: gallo pinto, indio viejo, frijoles molido with sour cream, fried tortillas, chicharrones, boiled yuca, fried pork, grilled beef, grilled pork, grilled chicken, queso frito, beef and chicken taquitos, tajadas, and queso frito (inhales) all on a lazy susan. But the most impressive part: it’s all delicious.
The quesillo from Madroño.

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings

Quesillo

This warm corn tortilla with melted cheese and sour cream gushing out of it comes in a clear plastic bag that catches all the gooey cheese overflow. It’s awkward as hell to eat in front of your mom but absolutely worth it.
The churrasco from Madroño.

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings

Churrasco Nicaragüense

This charred center cut steak is juicier than the gossip Teresa dropped in the group chat about her ex-husband's new girlfriend. And (apparently) unlike his new paramour, this churrasco is seasoned, tender, and won’t drain your bank account.
The pio v dessert from Madroño.

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings

Pio V

Is it named after a pope? Or a river? We’re not entirely sure, but it’s a moist rum cake covered in sweet custard—and the best way to end a meal at Madroño. The pio quinto is dusted with cinnamon and topped with a single prune, because it's looking out for your digestion too.

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FOOD RUNDOWN

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