MIAReview

There’s a certain type of Spanish restaurant that we’re lucky to have in Miami. These aren’t places serving modernist foams and gels or teeny trendy tapas. We’re talking old school Spanish cooking—crocks of porky stews, garlicky rice dishes, meat n’ taters, and rich desserts named after Catholic saints—all enjoyed leisurely over wine. And one of Miami’s best examples of this type of restaurant is Coral Way’s Xixón. 

You have options here, to say the least. The menu features 138 dishes. But rather than overwhelm, the size of the menu just gives this place even more versatility. And you can confidently come here whether you're looking for an extravagant meal of foie gras and tender octopus or trying to eat alone at the bar with crisp fried potatoes and a glass of wine.

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You could visit Xixón a dozen times without ever making it past the first few pages of appetizers and tapas—and we don’t blame you. Xixón makes some of our favorite croquetas in Miami, a velvety gazpacho, and features a wide selection of Spanish charcuterie and cheeses. The entrees tend to be enormously portioned and very filling—especially the paellas, which require two or more hungry people to finish. But there are also smaller entrees that are serious showstoppers, like the cazuela of gulas sizzling in a garlicky pool of olive oil or a haunch of roast suckling pig (hoof still attached) with super crunchy crackling.

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If the menu takes you 15 minutes to read, don’t panic. There is no pressure to order right away. Xixón takes the Spanish custom of enjoying a leisurely meal very seriously. Servers almost urge you to take your time and seem embarrassed if you rush out too soon. It’s a charmingly vintage experience. The waiter may refer to you as a gentleman (caballero) or lady (dama), and any young diner in your party may be called the little prince/princess (el principito/princesita). Think of the endearing-bordering-on-sassy service you get at a Cuban cafeteria, but add more pomp and circumstance. 

Xixón even features a souvenir shop. At least that’s what we like to call their Spanish deli and market at the front of the restaurant where you can pick up slices of jamón ibérico, chorizo cantimpalo, olive oil, cookies, and smoked paprika. There is also a sunken wine cellar where you can have a tremenda fiesta, or just browse before selecting a bottle of wine for dinner. If it's a day when the heat and humidity don’t require a mid-meal costume change, you can also opt to sit in the covered patio, featuring thick hedges that shield you from the traffic on Coral Way. They also host flamenco shows on Thursdays and live guitarists on Fridays, which will make you really feel like you’re in a Spanish tavern.

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Compared to the dinner menu, dessert will be a slightly easier decision, with a mere 18 options to choose from. Xixón has Spanish standards like crema catalana and a homey rice pudding, along with seasonal cakes like a roscón de reyes for Three Kings Day. Pick one, twirl the dessert spoon in your hand, and notice that the staff still isn’t rushing you out. That’s because it’s time to partake in the Spanish custom of sobremesa—a term used to describe that final lap of the meal, when everyone’s still lingering at the table discussing current events, whether the Dolphins will actually be good this year, or simply how lucky we all are to live in a city with such great Spanish food.


Food Rundown

Croquetas

These are definitely contenders for Miami’s best croquetas. They come three per order, and you’re allowed to mix and match. Our favorite is made with cabrales, a type of blue cheese that melts into the bechamel and explodes in your mouth after you bite through the crispy crust. We also love the bacalao croquetas, which are light and not too fishy.

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Gazpacho

The gazpacho at Xixón is the way this vegetable soup is supposed to be: smooth, velvety, and ice cold. It has a creaminess you wouldn’t expect from a plant-based soup. On a hot Miami day, there are few savory dishes as refreshing as this.

Chipirones Rellenos En Su Tinta

If you’re not trying to go in on a huge paella with someone at your table, there’s still a way you can enjoy Xixón's expertly cooked rice: order this. It features small, pan-fried squid tubes stuffed with short-grain rice and squid ink. It’s served on a bed of perfectly fluffy rice. The end result is garlicky and slightly briny from the squid ink with just a bit of smokiness from the paprika.

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Gulas Al Ajillo

Gulas are imitation baby eels made from fish paste that are popular in Spain. They’re kind of like the Spanish equivalent of the krab you find in a California roll. In this dish, they are simply fried in a terracotta crock full of boiling olive oil and garlic. It arrives at the table still bubbling and sizzling. The gulas are slippery, meaty, and delicious piled on a slice of complementary baguette. Make sure to ask for extra bread to sop up all that garlicky olive oil.

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Pulpo A La Gallega

This is a hearty dish from northern Spain featuring a mound of boiled potato cubes that have just enough bite to them. On top is an avalanche of slowly braised octopus tentacles chopped into bite-sized pieces. The little mountain is finished with a generous pour of extra virgin olive oil and a dusting of paprika. This octopus is beyond fork tender, and its soft texture is unlike anything else we can describe without getting weird.

Callos a la Madrileña

This traditional braised tripe dish gets a little garlicky kick, savoriness, and richness from pieces of chorizo. But what's most remarkable about this is the tripe itself, which is so tender you barely have to chew it. Scoop some of it onto a slice of Xixon’s baguette, which soaks up all those magical juices.

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Cochinillo Asado A La Segoviana

While Miami’s definition of lechón can mean many things, lechón actually means suckling pig. To distinguish what they serve from the more mature hogs you’ll find at many Cuban restaurants, Xixón calls their lechón by its traditional Spanish name, cochinillo. An entire leg fits perfectly onto a dinner plate, including its little foot. It features shatteringly crunchy skin and the most tender meat we’ve tasted on any pig in Miami. The lechón also comes with panadera potatoes, which are like a cream-free gratin, as well as caramelized apples.

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Tarta San Marcos

This cake features thin slices of slightly chewy sponge separating layers of dark chocolate mousse and whipped cream. The whole cake gets topped with a thin layer of sweetened egg yolks (imagine a very thick flan), which gets browned under a broiler. In one bite, you get the flavors of crême brulée, chocolate mousse, and cake. If you really are too full, order this to-go. Future, less-full you will appreciate it.

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