Versailles (pronounced “ver-sai-yes”) is one of Miami’s institutions. It’s often said that the best Cuban food is actually in the US, presumably Miami since it’s Cuba central, and having tasted Cuban food in Cuba, this must be true. I had another series of meetings in Miami, so it was time to scoot off and take a look around.
On the same Food Network TV show as I discovered Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink, I also took note of another Miami hot spot: Versailles, famous for its guava pastries.
Miami International Airport has several Versailles outlets and, although they don’t serve the whole range, on my last visit, I recognised the name and grabbed a couple of guava pastries as I jumped on the plane. Naturally, I was hooked. They were a light, crisp pastry, with a not-too-sweet guava filling inside. Mmmmm.
Versailles is located in Little Havana, only a 10 minute cab ride from Downtown Miami. As someone who’s been lucky enough to visit the real Havana, I was struck by how much the architecture does indeed resemble the Cuban capital. Add to this all the signs in Spanish, and you know you are in for a treat.
When visiting Versailles, it’s worth knowing that there is a restaurant serving Cuban food, and a bakery/cafe. Today, I was only after the cafe as I had a hankering for some empanadas and guava pastries, and there were plenty of those. I had read online that this place can get frantic, and is usually full of gesticulating Cubans yelling in Spanish, luckily it wasn’t too busy when I dropped in.
First up, you take a number. Then, pay careful attention: they first call your number in Spanish and, only if there’s no response, will the number be repeated in English.
As you do this, gaze around at the goodies and decide how much you can carry (how much you can afford isn’t an issue – the pastries are cheap and are only $1-4 in most cases.
There were also some more evil choices, such as deep-fried pork strips with crackling. Oh, yes folks, after my Versailles visit, I might not have been able to face my dinner that night, but that pork was goooooooooood.