Nelly Cuban restaurant – Little Havana Miami Calle Ocho

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Nelly Cuban restaurant – Little Havana Miami Calle Ocho

1950 SW 8 St
Miami FL 33135

“Welcome to my Little Havana” – I didn’t see any signs that officially marked out the beginning of Little Havana or Calle Ocho in Miami, but you can pretty much sense the borders of this vibrant ethnic neighboorhood. I was so happy to find this place – Not like I have anything against South Beach, but one can only take so much of the touristy food. Little Havana, is about 10 or 15 blocks long and is a self contained area packed with Restaurants, Clubs, Bars, Grocery Stores, Accountants, Doctors offices, Post "nelly cuban restaurant" "calle ocho" "little havana" miami "cuban sandwich" Office and everything else you would need. Basically a Cuban version of Chinatown. During the Carnival celebration, Calle Ocho hosts one of the largest Cuban festivals with over a million visitors. Another fun fact: Calle Ocho earned an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records when 119,986 people formed the world’s longest conga line on March 13, 1988.

"nelly cuban restaurant" "calle ocho" "little havana" miami "cuban sandwich" I drove down Calle Ocho a few times and decided to start with a hardcore local joint to get a real taste of the food and culture in Little Havana. I spotted “Nelly Restaurant” -shrouded in a protective steel security gate with its bright red ‘Comida Cubana’ sign next to the take out window, this restaurant literally called out to me. (I felt like I was back in Spanish Harlem). Inside, the restaurant is peaceful and relaxing, a mid day soap is playing on Telemundo on the TV above the food counter – the restaurant owner and a local customer exchange greetings in Spanish. I don’t think this place has changed much since it first opened – very simple and functional. Which by the way, is a great sign that the food is top notch. I check out the steam warmed food station and order a plate of chicken and a cuban sandwich. The chicken is juicy and the sauce is amazing. The cuban sandwhich (only $2 here vs $11 on South Beach) is also really good – they have a real panini press to grill the bread and melt the cheese to perfection. In my short stay in Miami, I’m so happy I found this neighborhood. So much for the South Beach Diet and touristy food. Who needs it anyway?

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