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Arts & Culture Cities Food & Drink Money Travel Etiquette

Tipping in Greece: The Greece Tipping Guide

A vacation in Greece promises beautiful scenery, fresh and delicious food, and interactions with friendly locals. As a visitor, you’ll find yourself in plenty of situations in which you might naturally think to tip. But should you?

Tipping in Greece is customary, but is by no means obligatory. This Greece tipping guide will help you navigate when/where you can leave a little extra for great service.

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Tipping in Greece

[st_content_ad]Tipping in Greece may be expected in most places, but it is by no means an obligation. There is no set standard for how much to leave when service exceeds expectations, but there are certain times when it’s expected you’ll tip. For instance, some restaurants may round up the bill to include gratuity, so it is wise to look for this inclusion before tipping. Note that it’s also common for servers not to receive tips included on a credit card, so try to leave cash whenever possible so ensure the person you’re trying to tip actually receives the gratuity.

Want to know when to tip for other services? Read on to make sense of where, when, and how much to tip when you’re traveling in Greece.

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View of a narrow street in the old town of Thessaloniki, Greece

How To Tip In Greece

Cafe Server:

Greece doesn’t have a strong culture of tipping at cafes. But if there is a tip jar by the cash register, it’s a nice gesture to leave a couple of coins. For exceptional table service, round up to the nearest €1.

Restaurant Server:

A tip is typically expected, especially for stellar service, but some restaurants round up the bill to include gratuity. Check the bill first for these inclusions before deciding whether or not to tip. If there is no added tip, leave 5 to 10 percent, and a few coins on the table for the busser. Some restaurants may refuse gratuity for service, so if you’re unsure, you can certainly ask before tipping. There may be a “cover charge” on the bill, which covers the cost of bread and non-bottled water, but doesn’t include gratuity.

Bartender:

At bars, it’s not necessary to tip a bartender, as most do not expect it; but it is considerate to round to the nearest €1 for great service.

Tour Guides:

In Greece, it’s customary to tip tour guides. Tip €2 to €5 per person, per day for a group tour; and €20 per person, per day for a private tour.

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View of Greek Orthodox Church in Monastiraki Square and line of yellow cabs

Taxis:

A good rule of thumb is to round up to the nearest euro. This approach simplifies paying with cash, and it’s not an unusual way to tip without actually tipping. For exceptional service, or if you use a taxi driver for multiple stops, for a longer distance, or as a guide, you might add 5 to 10 percent of the final fare to your total payment.

Airport Shuttle Driver:

It is not necessary to tip your driver, but feel free to give €1 per bag if they help with your luggage.

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Doorman:

If a doorman assists with luggage or hailing transportation, a simple thank you is appreciated. But for exceptional service, it certainly wouldn’t be remiss to offer €1.

Bellhop:

At hotels, feel free to tip the bellhop €1 to €2 per bag delivered to your room, but no more than €5 total. 

Housecleaning:

At hotels, or in vacation rentals that have daily cleaning services, it’s customary to leave €1 per night, especially if the cleaner is doing a great job.

Front Desk at the Astra Suites

Concierge:

If the concierge goes above and beyond with helping you book reservations, giving you directions, and/or providing insider recommendations, it’s considerate to tip €5 to €10. For answers to quick questions, though, you shouldn’t feel obligated.

Stylist:

For haircuts, shampoos, trims, and shaves, it’s considerate, but not expected, to tip 10 percent of the final bill if you’re satisfied with your new look.

Spa Service Provider:

A tip isn’t expected, but you can leave up to 10 percent for anything that goes above and beyond your expectations. Simply ask for an envelope for the tip at the front desk, and then either deliver the envelope to your provider or leave the tip at the front desk.

Beachy Jumpsuit for Greece Adventure

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The Best Cheap Eats in Las Vegas

In addition to your standard fast food outlets, which are lit-up electrified versions of themselves here, there are plenty more original options for cheap eats in Las Vegas.

The Best Cheap Eats in Las Vegas

These are our 10 favorite places to get an affordable meal in Sin City.

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Krung Siam Thai

Krung siam thai

[st_content_ad]Las Vegas’s Chinatown, a bit off the strip, is a wonderful place to go for an affordable and delicious Asian meal. Krung Siam Thai is one of the best options in that district—prices are quite accessible, and the food is fresh, delicious, and authentic. It comes out quick, brought to you by attentive servers in a casual dining room that occasionally features live musicians.

The menu includes an adjustable heat scale, so order your food spiced up according to what your taste buds can handle. Share a grilled beef sirloin, roasted duck, or deep-fried catfish with chili paste. The vegetarian options here are fantastic, too.

Evel Pie

Mr. mamas

For a fun pizza experience, zoom over to Evel Pie, a hopping Evel Knievel-themed joint decorated with memorabilia and photos related to the motorcycle stuntman’s rip-roaring career. These are some good cheap eats in Las Vegas—order a cheesy New York-style slice (starting at $4) or a made-to-order hot pie. Try the Barry White Pie or Cheesy Rider, and wash it all down with cold beer.

Mr. Mamas

Mr. mamas

For amazing breakfasts at affordable prices, head off the Strip to family-owned Mr. Mamas, a cute diner with a splashy black-and-white floor. Service is friendly here, and portions are large. Customer favorites include pancakes, steak and eggs, and the California omelette. The menu also lists big burgers, wraps, salads, and great coffee.

Halal Guys

Halal guys

For an excellent fast-food alternative, head to the Forum Food Court at Caesar’s Palace and walk right up to the Halal Guys counter to order some of their delicious Middle Eastern fare. Choose between a wrap or a platter—falafel, chicken, or beef gyro, topped with the Guys’ signature spicy white sauce. Service is quick and friendly, everything is wonderfully flavorful (including the baklava for dessert), and the joint stays open until 2:00 a.m. on weekends to fuel the city’s late-night revelers.

Garden Court Buffet

Garden court buffet

If you’re in Sin City, you’ve gotta try a Las Vegas buffet. But while buffets will usually cost you, the abundant Garden Court Buffet in the Main Street Station Hotel is actually one of the best cheap places to eat in Las Vegas.

Its dining room is accented with columns, filigrees, and popcorn lights. The all-you-can-eat breakfast is $9, lunch is $10, dinner is $13, and the champagne brunch is $14. This smorgasbord lets you mix and match your favorites from all kinds of cuisines: Mexican, Asian, Southwestern, pizza, rotisserie, and much more. This is where the locals eat.

Tacos El Gordo

Tacos el gordo

Las Vegas’s three Tacos El Gordo locations stay open (and busy) until at least 2:00 a.m. every night. That’s because the family-owned restaurant’s Tijuana-style tacos are beloved by locals, and prices are so reasonable that you can order as much as you want to satisfy your Mexican cravings.

The tacos are stuffed right in front of you with fresh ingredients going into handmade corn tortillas topped with scratch-made guacamole and salsa. Order off the meat-heavy menu, then wash it all down with horchata.

In-N-Out Burger

In-N-Out burger

In-N-Out Burger has a cult following of devotees obsessed with the chain’s perfectly grilled burgers and oh-so-satisfying fries. These fans will be happy to know that the family-owned company has five locations in Las Vegas, and that they’re all open until at least 1:00 a.m.

The simple, unchanging menu offers the aforementioned burgers and fries, as well as grilled cheese and shakes made from real ice cream. This is very affordable fare, and you can get it via drive-through—but be prepared to wait a while as staffers scramble to feed their hungry hordes.

Rockhouse in The Venetian

Rockhouse in the venetian

You wouldn’t expect to find affordable food deals in the Venetian, but those in the know head to Rockhouse for its weekly specials: $1.50 tacos on Tuesdays and $1 chicken wings and $1.50 hot dogs on Wednesdays.

Frequently, this hard-partying bar will host $1 PBR happy hours, and it always offers plenty of other hard-to-turn-down drink specials. Yes, this is bar food—but it’s good, and it comes with a side of live bands, deejays, and bar-wide drinking games.

Dirt Dog

Dirt dog

Unassuming and minimalist, Dirt Dog serves up some of the yummiest cheap eats in Las Vegas. The street-food-inspired menu options include tasty and unique hot dogs (including a vegetarian option), lobster rolls, and carne asada fries. Its two locations, one at Bally’s Grand Bazaar and one at the southwest end of the city, stay open late, pour tap beer, and serve side dishes like dirty corn, which comes with crema, cotija cheese, and chili powder. The “Filthy Fries” come with guacamole and chipotle aioli. For dessert, go for the deep-fried Twinkie.

Viva Las Arepas

Viva las arepas

Venezuelan fast food? It’s a thing at Viva Las Arepas, where authentic arepas start at $5. You can also splurge on the Arepa Reina Pepiada, which comes with chicken, avocado, mayo, cheese, and a fried egg, for just $7.50.

Its two family-owned Las Vegas locations aren’t immediately obvious but are definitely worth looking up, because you’re guaranteed a memorable and delicious meal. There’s a vegetarian arepa ($5.50), as well as a shredded beef arepa, which is flavorful, smoky, and juicy. Mango juice costs $3, fried plantains are $4, and fried yuca root goes for $3.50.

Perfectly Affordable Vegas Outfit

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–Original reporting by Avital Andrews. Follow her on Twitter @avitalb.

Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2018. It has been updated to reflect the most current information.

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Food & Drink Packing

Coffee to Go: 9 Things You Need to Brew and Drink While Traveling

If you can’t imagine a road trip without a cup of coffee in the cupholder, or a trip to the airport without a coffee stop, you know how necessary a good brew can be to a trip. Save money and time spent waiting in the drive-through line by bringing your own java along. The following nine items that make it easy to brew and take your coffee to go.

Oxo Cold Brew Coffee Maker

[st_content_ad]Perfect for vacation rentals, road trips, or simply making coffee ahead of time, the Oxo Cold Brew Coffee Maker is the easiest way to make cold-brew coffee. Simply add grounds and water, let steep overnight, and then flip a switch to get a powerful and smooth cold-brew concentrate. Despite the name, the Cold Brew Coffee Maker can be also used to make hot coffee or to brew tea.

AeroPress

Check any camping coffee-lover’s backpack, and you’re likely to see an AeroPress inside. The AeroPress is one of the smallest and most portable coffee makers on the market, and it can make a cup of coffee in about 30 seconds (not counting boiling the water). No batteries or power are required for the AeroPress, which makes it great for the outdoors.

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Able Brewing Disk Fine Coffee Filter

The AeroPress is great but requires a disposable paper filter to strain the coffee, which creates a lot of waste (and adds up financially over time). Invest in Able Brewing’s Disk Fine Coffee Filter instead, which is designed to replace the AeroPress paper filter. Made from stainless steel, the Disk is easy to clean and will last a lifetime. Unlike the paper filter, the Disk allows more oils (and flavor) through to your cup of coffee, without being contaminated by any papery taste.

Zojirushi Stainless Steel Vacuum Mug

Zojirushi coffee

Too scared of spills to toss your travel mug inside your bag? There’s no need to worry with the Zojirushi Stainless Steel Vacuum Mug which is legitimately leak-proof. The lid locks and can’t be opened accidentally, but flips open with just one hand. The nine-ounce mug uses vacuum insulation to keep your drink hot for up to six hours, while the outside feels cool to the touch.

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Bodum Travel French Press

The Bodum Travel French Press is a French press and travel mug in one, so you have one less dish to wash after making and drinking coffee. Add your coffee grounds and hot water to the mug, steep, and push the plunger—your coffee is ready and already packaged to go.

Ember Temperature Control Ceramic Mug

Does a cup of lukewarm coffee ruin your day? Get the Ember Temperature Control Ceramic Mug and never let a good cup go cold again. The rechargeable mug pairs with an app on your phone that allows you to set and maintain the temperature of your drink. It will stay at your ideal temperature for an hour, or you can use the included charging coaster to keep it warm all day long.

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UniTerra Nomad Espresso Machine

Coffee on the go is pretty easy to make, but a legitimate shot of espresso? That’s nearly impossible without a professional espresso machine. At least it was until UniTerra’s Nomad Espresso Machine came along. This portable machine can be used anywhere, as it’s hand-powered by a small lever to create enough pressure to make a perfect shot of espresso with a true crema. The eye-catching design looks good on your counter at home when you’re not out making espresso in the wild.

Cafellissimo Paperless Pour Over Coffee Maker

Pour-over coffee is trendy right now, but many coffee shops charge exorbitant prices for it. Do it yourself with no waste, with Cafellissimo’s Paperless Pour Over Coffee Maker. The stainless steel cone is made from a fine mesh that filters out grounds and has a base that fits most mugs, so you can make your coffee right into your cup. Just add grounds and hot water, and you’ll have a perfect pour-over coffee in less than a minute.

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NowPresso

Don’t want to boil your water separately? The NowPresso does everything for you—just add cold water and it will boil it for you as it makes your espresso. It even makes the espresso right into the attached cup, so you can just unscrew it and drink. The NowPresso uses Nespresso Capsules, or you can use your own grounds in a reusable capsule.

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Caroline Morse Teel’s coffee to go order is a double espresso. Follow her on Instagram @TravelWithCaroline for coffee and travel photos from around the world. 

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Cities Experiential Travel Food & Drink

9 Single-Dish Restaurants Worth Traveling For

You won’t be deliberating over the menu or wishing you chose a dish the table next to you got at these nine restaurants. That’s because they all only serve one thing—so you know it’s going to be good.

Oat Shop: Somerville, Massachusetts

[st_content_ad]Some people think of oatmeal as gruel; others consider it a delicacy worthy of opening a restaurant around. The owners of Oat Shop in Somerville are the latter, serving up solely bowls of oats. You can, however, top your oatmeal with a wide variety of toppings, including an espresso shot, kale chips, or bacon.

Rice to Riches: New York City

https://www.instagram.com/p/BdFqi9_AyiL/?taken-by=ricetoriches.ksa

Think rice is a boring side dish? Then you’ve never been to Rice to Riches, a New York City restaurant that offers rice pudding and nothing else. This single-dish restaurant spices up the dessert by offering wacky flavors like Coffee Almond Afterthought, Hazelnut Chocolate Bear Hug, and Fluent in French Toast that can all be topped with even more flavor (including toasted buttery pound cake, seasoned mixed nuts, or espresso crumble). One bite got you addicted? You can join their rice pudding of the month club, and opt to receive an “epic” amount (14 oz.) or a “sumo” size (40 oz.).

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Melt Room: London

You could make a sad grilled cheese at home in your frying pan, or you could stop by Melt Room in London and get a mac and cheese melt or any other of the innovative sandwiches on offer. As a tourist, it’s probably your duty to order the extremely British Fish & Chips Melt, followed by a Banoffee Melt for dessert.

Ichiran Ramen: Shibuya, Japan

One humble type of ramen launched an empire for Manabu Yoshitomi, who started serving his tonkotsu ramen from a stall in 1960. His pork-based soup was so popular that he eventually opened up a store, in which customers had one choice of ramen that could only be customized by adding on extra noodles/egg/pork, and would be enjoyed in solo booths so no one could see them slurp. Ichiran now has over 65 locations across the world, all spooning up just one style of ramen.

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Top Dog: Berkeley, California

Get a dog or get out at Top Dog, where the menu is all meat in a tube (or wheat protein in a tube if you’re vegetarian). Choose from frankfurters, kielbasa, hot link, or other types of dogs, and you’ll get it on a basic bun that you can top with condiments for free.

mac Bar: New York City

Macaroni and cheese is the ultimate comfort food, so when you need to dive into some carbs head to macbar to get it served up any way your heart desires. Purists can order “the classic” (elbow macaroni, American and cheddar cheese), or get a little wild with the “mac’shroom” (roasted mushrooms, fontina, mascarpone, truffled essence) and the “mac quack” (duck confit, fontina, caramelized onion, herbs).

Le Relais de Venise: Various Locations

At Le Relais de Venise, you have just two decisions to make: how you want your steak cooked and which wine you’d like to pair with it. There’s no menu: Each diner is served a green salad appetizer followed by steak frites, and that’s all that’s on offer. The single-dish restaurant started off in Paris in 1959, but the concept was so popular that it’s expanded to locations in London, New York, and Mexico City.

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PBJ.La: Los Angeles, California

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches may conjure up memories of school lunches, but those were probably never made with espresso peanut butter and dark chocolate raspberry jam (and if they were, I want to meet your lunch-maker). PBJ.La takes the humble PB&J sandwich to the next level, offering creations like the Chocolate Haze (chocolate hazelnut butter and dark cherry chianti jam) that justify charging between $5 and $9 for a high-class spin on a classic.

Yang’s Braised Chicken and Rice: Various Locations

You know exactly what you’re walking in to at Yang’s Braised Chicken and Rice, as the entire menu is found in the name. Here, you’ll order braised chicken with rice and you’ll like it or leave, as that’s all they serve. You do get to choose your heat level, as the clay pot dish can be made either mild or spicy. With more than 6,000 locations across China, Australia, Japan, Singapore, and the U.S., Yang’s knows how to do chicken right.

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Caroline Morse Teel would open up a macaron shop as her single-dish restaurant. Follow her on Instagram @TravelWithCaroline for photos from around the world. 

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Adventure Travel Beach Family Travel Island Luxury Travel Romantic Travel Sustainable Travel

The British Virgin Islands After Hurricane Irma

“Irma was a bad woman.”

I’m in the passenger seat of a cab while visiting the island of Virgin Gorda when my taxi driver utters the name—Irma, the category five hurricane that pummeled the British Virgin Islands in 2017. On a Wednesday last September, Hurricane Irma hit the island chain with winds of up to 185 miles per hour, ripping up roofs, stripping the bark off trees, and destroying everything in its path.

“We’ve had category five storms before, but nothing like her. Never in my life have I seen something like that,” the cab driver says, shaking his head. And the islands’ struggle didn’t end with Irma; there was Hurricane Maria and the massive floods followed. For the first time in the territory’s history, the governor declared a state of emergency.

“She ain’t never allowed back here in the B.V.I.,” my driver went on. “We’re taking her passport away.”

As we rolled through the streets, my eyes lingered on traces of Irma’s destruction—dented boats hoisted onto grassy clearings and telephone poles perpendicular to the ground. It took six months before all of the islands in the B.V.I. had power restored. But by the time I landed in June, everything was back up and running.

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The B.V.I. Are Waiting for You

after hurricane irma
Cooper Island’s beach as seen from above

The B.V.I. are more dependent on tourism than any other island chain in the Caribbean, and about half of the tourism dollars in the British Virgin Islands are earned on the water. When exploring these islands, many people do so by boat, waking up anchored near one island and spending the night anchored off another. More than 2,000 of the beds currently available in the B.V.I. are at sea on boats; after the storm, many charter companies returned and the sailing industry made a quick recovery.

Hotels, however, are recovering more slowly after last year’s hurricane season. At the time of writing, there are 627 hotel beds available on land, compared to 2,700 before the storm. The experience hasn’t been the same on every island. For instance, on Tortola, the most populated island, many hotels are still rebuilding, while on Anegada, many of the hotels and villas reopened as early as February.

On Cooper Island, an islet southeast of Tortola that’s accessible by private or charter boat, rebuilding has been a slow but determined process. At the eco-luxury Cooper Island Beach Club, the resort worked hard to restore everything—including a cafe that rivals any in Brooklyn, a micro-brewery, and a rum bar with the largest selection of rum in the Virgin Islands—in time for its early April reopening.

Restoring paradise is no small task. Irma took out two docks and swept five feet of sand off the beach. “Nearly everything needed to be fixed,” said Patrick Brady, the resort’s Sustainability Engineer. “We have replaced most of the components of the solar and electrical grid due to saltwater intrusion.” That’s key because the resort’s rooftop panels supply 85 percent of the on-site energy. And the damage went way beyond what’s visible to guests. “Water pumps and electrical appliances have also been replaced. We also cleaned and resealed every cistern on the property due to contamination from saltwater and vegetation.”

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Once famous for its shady palm trees and large sea grape plants that lined the sand, the beach looks a little bare to returning guests. But Cooper Island Beach Club—which is a favorite stop among both visitors and locals—is back up and running, and is just as sustainable as it was before the storm. The beach is growing back, too, thanks to the Seeds of Love program that collects and plants donated seedlings from neighboring islands. Cooper Island still has its beautiful sunsets and the largest seagrass field in all of the B.V.I., and the Beach Club’s demand for its microbrews is as high as ever.

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A New Disaster  

after hurricane irma
Sargassum seaweed building up on the island of Anegada

Last year’s hurricanes are not the only sign of the looming menace of global warming. Sargassum seaweed—a brown and squishy sea plant with a faint odor—washing up on the shore is a new natural disaster in the Caribbean. With more of it than ever before, some resorts are clocking in extra morning hours to clear the seaweed, while on remote islands it’s accumulating into piles, some as high as 10 feet, that stretch all the way down the shoreline.

“It’s much worse than last year,” many locals told me, adding onto the list of storm griefs brought about by Irma. But as I’d learn later on my tour with Terrence, the Cooper Island Beach Club’s gardener and botanist, the seaweed is not actually a direct result of the storms.

Deforestation in the Amazon has led to more nutrients than ever before running off into rivers that deposit them into the sea, nourishing the seaweed colonies. Large blooms flourish in the warm water, forming enormous mats that are carried northward by wind and ocean currents—not just throughout the Caribbean, but also as far north as North Carolina.

On beaches throughout these areas, workers are clearing the seaweed not only for the sake of beachgoers who are put off by the smell and appearance, but also because it’s a danger to the marine life that gets tangled in it. On Cooper Island, I watched the team clear the seaweed early in the morning, but by the time I returned to watch the sun set over the peaks of Tortola, more sargassum had found its way back to shore. Each morning, they’ll have to clear it again.

Restoring Paradise

after hurricane irma
The sun setting over Tortola, as seen from Cooper Island

During my walk through the gardens at Cooper Island, I noticed an air succulent tied to a tree. Terrence pointed to the ground just three feet from the tree and said, “After the storm, I found it right there.” In the ferocious winds of Irma and Maria, this plant without roots held its ground. When he discovered it after the storms had passed, Terrence picked up the tenacious succulent and tied it back to its tree.

Rebuilding is a slow effort made of many small efforts, but in the B.V.I., people are putting the pieces back together—sometimes one plant at a time—with a deep commitment to keeping these islands beautiful and welcoming, hopefully for the generations to come.

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Jamie Ditaranto visited the British Virgin Islands as a guest of the BVI Tourist Board. Follow her on Twitter @jamieditaranto.

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Arts & Culture Booking Strategy Cities Experiential Travel Food & Drink

The Best Coffee in the World: 7 Cities to Visit

It’s cheap, available all over the world, wakes you up, and can cool you off or warm you up—coffee is truly a traveler’s best friend.

The Best Coffee in the World

If you’re willing to travel the globe in search of the best coffee in the world, here’s where you should head.

Portland, Oregon

[st_content_ad]There are so many coffee shops in Portland, Oregon, that there are entire tours dedicated just to taking tourists around to sample the artisan scene. Lora Woodruff, owner of Third Wave Coffee Tours, writes: “I usually break down our cafes as follows: 876 coffee shops, 152 Starbucks and around 60 individuals or organizations that are roasting coffee—some individual espresso bars, some large wholesale roasters, represented multiple times around the city in roaster-owned cafes, as well as restaurants, bakeries, and businesses around the city.”

Why has Portland become such a hot spot for coffee? In this famously rainy city, there’s nothing better than ignoring the weather by curling up inside with a hot cup.

“We seem to have an insatiable need for coffee, perhaps because of our many days of rain, and we are able to support a lot of local roasters as many of us are probably considered ‘regulars’ at more than just one shop,” says Lauren Lathrop, Coffee Educator at Portland Roasting Coffee. “I think Portland has always been a place where people are encouraged to branch out, take risks, and try new things. In that spirit, a lot of very small, craft-focused coffee shops have been able to maintain a loyal following simply by being consistently great and doing things their own way.”

Where to Stay: The Ace Hotel has a Stumptown coffee shop right in its lobby, so you don’t have to leave the building to get caffeinated. (Many people believe that Stumptown coffee is some of the best coffee in the world, and the roaster started in right here in Portland.)

Melbourne, Australia

If you’ve ever ordered a flat white at a Starbucks, you can thank an Australian. The drink, an espresso topped with steamed milk that’s been frothed into a creamy consistency, originated there. Australia has a huge coffee culture, with cafes being seen as social spaces to linger and relax instead of a spot to grab a to-go coffee or use the Wi-Fi, and focus on quality drinks.

“It’s almost impossible to walk around a corner in Melbourne without the familiar scent of a perfectly brewed espresso lingering down a laneway,” Visit Victoria Chief Executive Officer Peter Bingeman says. “The coffee culture here remains fiercely independent, with coffee chains a rarity to be seen in Melbourne.”

Where to Stay: Coffee and sweets go together perfectly, so book a night at the world’s only dessert themed hotel, the Adelphi.

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Helsinki, Finland

Finland is a nation of dedicated coffee consumers. In fact, Finns drink the most coffee per capita in the world. According to the Helsinki Tourism Board, “Finns buy almost 22 pounds of roasted coffee per person, per year, and drink an average of three to five cups of coffee per day.”

Finnish coffee is usually served up with a sweet treat on the side—so commonly that there is even a Finnish word for it. Kakkukahv translates to “coffee and cake.”

Where to Stay: The Radisson Blu Seaside Hotel is within easy walking distance to plenty of cafes.

Portland, Maine

For being a small city, Portland, Maine, has an outsized coffee scene, with some of the best coffee in the world found in this New England hot spot.

“The most unique thing about the Portland coffee scene is that many of the shops here roast for themselves, creating their own style and vibe,” Kathleen Pratt, co-owner of Tandem Coffee Roasters says. “For a small city, this feels super special and makes it exciting for Portland residents and visitors alike to find the spot that best suits their tastes.”

Where to Stay: Journalists are known for their love of coffee, so stay at The Press Hotel, the former printing plant of the Portland Press Herald, now a boutique hotel.

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Milan, Italy

Espresso was invented in Milan, so head to its birthplace if you want to experience the best coffee in the world in its purest form: The world’s first espresso machine was unveiled at the 1906 Milan Fair. Don’t expect to take it to go or to linger though—espresso in Italy is meant to be drunk quickly, while standing up at a counter.

Where to Stay: The Allegroitalia Espresso Linate has espresso in its name.

Hanoi, Vietnam

Vietnamese coffee is its own special subset of coffee—one that’s traditionally served iced and mixed with condensed milk in order to simultaneously cool you off and get you amped on sugar and caffeine.

Vietnam has more types of coffee than Starbucks has themed concoctions, so visit Hanoi if you want to try everything from egg coffee (egg yolk whipped with condensed milk and added to coffee) to yogurt coffee (yogurt topped with a splash of black coffee).

Where to Stay: The Conifer Boutique Hotel is inexpensively priced and centrally located, so you can save money on your caffeine.

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Ethiopia is considered to be the birthplace of coffee, with historians estimating that the harvest of the bean began here around 800 B.C. Get it straight from the source at the capital city’s first coffee roaster, TO.MO.Ca Coffee. Try an Ethiopian macchiato, which is very small and concentrated. If that’s too strong, a spriss (half coffee and half tea) will be a little less intense.

Where to Stay: The Addissinia Hotel is a quiet oasis in the middle of Addis Ababa, where you can relax with your coffee of choice.

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Caroline Morse Teel is obsessed with espresso and on a quest to find the best coffee in the world. Follow her on Instagram @TravelWithCaroline.

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Cities Food & Drink Travel Trends Weekend Getaways

10 Best Restaurants in Chicago

Home to more than 40 James Beard Award-winning chefs and restaurants, Chicago has a thriving culinary scene that rivals that of any U.S. city. But accolades alone don’t define the best restaurants in Chicago. So while the recommendations below include plenty of award winners, I’ve also listed several restaurants visitors simply must experience to get a true taste of the Windy City.

The Best Restaurants in Chicago 

The following Chicago restaurants are an eclectic mix of fine dining, romantic, ethnic, and historic eateries that Chicagoans love dearly and dine at frequently themselves.

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North Pond

North pond

[st_content_ad]Perched on the tree-shaded shores of North Pond, the eponymous “earth-to-table” restaurant offers a dining experience memorable for both its setting and food. North Pond occupies a former ice skaters’ warming house built in 1912, with stunning views of the park and Chicago skyline beyond. Multiple James Beard Award-winning chef Bruce Sherman creates seasonal, contemporary American cuisine, including a six-course tasting menu featuring creative preparations of quail, venison, snapper, and pork tenderloin. The wine list showcases American small vintners. Dinner and Sunday brunch are served year-round, with lunch added from spring through fall.

Frontera Grill 

Frontera grill

Chef Rick Bayless and his wife Deann changed the landscape of Chicago restaurants when they opened their authentic Mexican eatery in River North in 1987. Today, foodies are still hungry for Frontera Grill‘s regional Oaxacan cuisine, including carne asada, mole poblano chicken enchiladas, wood-grilled shrimp tostadas, and tacos. Tortillas are handmade from organic heirloom corn from Mexico. Pair your heaping platter with a killer margarita.

Maple & Ash

Maple & ash

This swank Gold Coast restaurant in a sliver-thin high-rise offers a modern twist on Chicago’s traditional steakhouses. From the ground floor’s Eight Bar, where well-coiffed bartenders craft dazzling martinis, guests take the elevator up to the dining room with views of chefs roasting steaks and seafood over licking flames. Caviar atop wavy potato chips, glistening seafood towers, prime cuts of dry- and wet-aged steaks, and fluffy coconut cream pie tempt patrons to Instagram their dishes before digging in.

Lula Cafe 

Lula cafe

Urban grit meets veggie-centric gourmet at the bohemian Lula Cafe, a pioneering restaurant in Logan Square. Husband/wife co-owners Jason Hammel and Amalea Tschilds started serving sustainable, farm-to-table food more than 20 years ago. Seasonal ingredients dictate what’s for breakfast, lunch, brunch, and dinner—but menu staples include lake trout and arugula scrambled eggs, milk-braised pork cheek, and tender baby squid atop black risotto. Save room for dessert (the creamy carrot cake is particularly popular).  The modestly priced wines, craft beers, and cocktails are another reason why locals consider Lula Cafe one of the best restaurants in Chicago.

Avec

Avec

The constant line snaking out the door of this tiny West Loop restaurant says instantly that it’s one of the best places to eat in Chicago. Both the rustic space and food are designed to share, with diners seated at communal tables. The lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch menus feature Mediterranean small plates like grilled butcher’s steak, steamed mussels, chorizo-stuffed dates, and chardonnay vinaigrette-drizzled apple salad. Braised lamb, smoked whitefish pizza, and paella come in bigger portions. Wines hail from boutique vineyards in France, Italy, Portugal, and Spain, as do cheese plate selections.

Everest

Everest

This romantic French restaurant on the 40th floor of the Loop’s Chicago Board of Trade Building has been one of the best restaurants in Chicago for more than 30 years, racking up multiple James Beard Awards, AAA Five Diamonds, and Michelin stars. Everest owner/chef Jean Joho is from Alsace, France, and creates edible art on every plate, from roasted Maine lobster to Caspian Sea caviar. The roast rabbit preparation is based on a recipe served to King Louis XIV. The museum-quality art collection and views of Chicago’s glittering skyline make dining at this Relais & Chateau restaurant especially memorable.

Girl & the Goat 

Girl & the goat

If it’s adventurous dining you’re after, this West Loop restaurant is your go-to. It’s owned by Chicago chef Stephanie Izard, a Bravo “Top Chef.” Creative food combinations and Chicago craft brews are served in a comfortable loft space with exposed brick and wood beams. Share the green garlic pierogies with charred scallion sour cream and smoked tomato-rhubarb relish, and brave the bacon-tamarind sauced escargot ravioli and duck tongues. Goat meat appears in empanadas and liver mousse. End simply with the honey and pine nut tart.

Spiaggia

Spiaggia

The splurge-worthy Spiaggia has been a local favorite for special occasions and romantic nights out for more than 30 years. Innovative pasta preparations achieve gourmet heights, such as the black truffle gnocchi bucatini tossed in saffron, honey, truffle, and caviar. The grilled bistecca alla Fiorentina porterhouse for two rivals anything you’d find at Chicago’s best steakhouses. The wine list includes some 700 Italian bottles. Located in a skyscraper on North Michigan Avenue, Spiaggia offers sparkling Lake Michigan views.

The Berghoff

Berghoff

For a taste of Chicago culinary tradition, head to the Loop’s fourth-generation, family-owned restaurant The Berghoff. One of the best restaurants in Chicago, The Berghoff opened in 1898 and was the first local establishment awarded a liquor license after Prohibition. That’s reason enough to sip a Berghoff-brewed beer at the historic bar. In the Century Room, surrounded by original murals depicting Chicago’s 1893 World’s Fair, office workers, shoppers, and families dine on wiener schnitzel, sauerbraten, knockwurst, and house-made apple strudel. Kids love the giant Bavarian pretzels and draft root beer.

Le Colonial

Le colonial

Romance is always in the air at Le Colonial, as are the tantalizing aromas of authentic French-Vietnamese cuisine. Patrons seated at cozy tables inside the dining room and on the seasonal outdoor patios dine on Vietnamese specialties such as shrimp chao tom and sesame beef atop rice noodles. The affordable, international wine list offers many by-the-glass selections.

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—Original reporting by Kit Bernardi

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Arts & Culture Cities Food & Drink Travel Trends

10 Best Cheap Eats in Chicago

Sure, Chicago can rightfully brag about all its James Beard award-winning restaurants and chefs. But the city is equally proud of its more diverse and affordable eats. Line up and chow down on juicy burgers, subs, donuts, ethnic specialties, and traditional Chicago fast foods. All the recommendations below for cheap eats in Chicago do carry-out and have limited seating.

The Best Cheap Eats in Chicago

These are the best cheap restaurants in Chicago, slinging savory satisfaction for just a few bucks.

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Revival Food Hall

Revival food hall

[st_content_ad]Many delicious choices for cheap eats in Chicago are all under one roof at the Loop’s 24,000-square-foot Revival Food Hall. Here you’ll find 15 fast-casual, only-in-Chicago food stalls. Order fresh-made tacos, gelatos, poke bowls, pasta, lobster rolls, barbecue, fried chicken, sweets, salads, Chicago-style deep-dish pizza, BLTs, breakfast bowls, and more. Grab-and-go or sit a bit at communal tables in the industrial-chic, converted 1907 office building.

Saigon Sisters

Saigon sisters

Topping locals’ lists of must-visit cheap restaurants in Chicago is Saigon Sisters, serving Zagat award-winning Vietnamese fare in several downtown locations. Regulars rave about the lemongrass curry chicken banh mi sandwich with pickled red onions and mayo on a crusty French baguette. Wagyu beef and hoisin glazed pork belly bowl meals make filling, flavorful meals. Gluten-free, vegetarian, and halal preparations are available upon request.

Fatso’s Last Stand

Fatso's last stand

All-hours, no-frills food makes Fatso’s Last Stand in Ukrainian Village one of the best spots for cheap eats in Chicago. All-beef hot dogs, Polish and Italian sausages, and juicy burgers are cooked over an open flame. Fatso’s is famous for its creamy homemade mac ‘n’ cheese, meaty chili, and seasoned, fried crispy jumbo shrimp baskets. It’s open till 4:00 a.m. on weekends, catering to partiers and night-shift crowds. Expect a wait at peak hours.

Furious Spoon

Furious spoon

Furious Spoon’s Michelin-star chef Shin Thompson handmakes the noodles served at five Tokyo-style ramen shops around Chicago. Hip-hop music throbs in the small, casual restaurants with communal table seating. Ramen bowl meals are composed of assorted vegetables and a choice of pork belly, chicken, or fish cakes floating in a savory broth. The name Furious Spoon references the proper way to eat ramen—in a fast fury. That means using chopsticks to cinch the noodles and slurp them up before the hot broth overcooks the bowl’s contents.

Dove’s Luncheonette

Dove's luncheonette

Touted as one of the best cheap restaurants in Chicago, this throwback Wicker Park diner packs ’em into leatherette booths and a 41-stool counter. Seasoned waiters sling heaping platters of innovative Tex-Mex and Southern soul food all day and into the night. Of the many musts on the menu, try the zesty seafood ceviche and the sweet corn tamales stuffed with goat cheese and squash. On the first Sunday of every month, locals come in for an authentic Cuban-inspired menu, including rum cocktails and DJs spinning sultry Cuban vinyl.

J.P. Graziano Grocery & Sub Shop

J.P. graziano grocery & sub shop

Line up for a sub sandwich and leave with an armful of authentic Italian foodstuffs, tasty souvenirs of your Chicago visit. That’s what happens when you come for lunch at this four-generation, family-owned West Loop grocer opened in 1937. Speedy sandwich makers hand-build beautiful subs with layers of Italian meats, cheeses, and marinated vegetables. Favorites include the classic Italian, red pepper tuna, and prosciutto di Parma topped with a fresh mozzarella Caprese salad. Always leave room for Graziano’s house-made gelato.

Do-Rite Donuts & Chicken

Do-Rite donuts & chicken

Open daily, this artisan donut shop is a local go-to spot for cheap eats in Chicago. Customers line up to place orders for oven-fresh baked donuts and brioche bun sandwiches filled with succulent breaded pork tenderloin, fried chicken, barbecue, scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese, bacon, and/or avocado. The creative donut varieties baked daily depend upon the chefs’ moods, but might include candied maple bacon, chocolate ganache-glazed, or Michigan apple fritter. There are always gluten-free and vegan options as well. Locals love the aioli-maple-slathered deep-fried chicken between sugary doughnut halves—with fries, of course.

Small Cheval

Small cheval

The crave-worthy burger born at award-wining American diner Au Cheval has earned its own retro-rustic shack in the Wicker Park neighborhood. Seating in the red brick, no-frills place seats a lucky few, so carry-out prevails except in warm months when diners pack the patio picnic tables. Small Cheval’s simple menu lists a hamburger and a cheeseburger with melted cheddar cheese on a toasted puffy bun. You can top your burger with pickles, onion, homemade Dijon mustard-mayonnaise, maple-glazed bacon, lettuce, and/or tomato. The tiny bar serves thick ice cream shakes, cocktails, and beer.

Al’s Beef

Al's beef

Looking to sample Chicago’s quintessential casual food? The city’s Italian beef sandwich ranks right up there with deep-dish pizza and Vienna hot dogs. Local lore says the sandwich’s origin dates back to Italian immigrants working in Chicago’s old Union Stock Yards. It consists of slow-roasted beef sliced thin, simmered in a seasoned broth, and piled into crusty bread. To bite into Italian beef history, head to the original Al’s Beef stand founded in 1938 in the heart of Chicago’s Little Italy neighborhood northwest of the Loop. Really hungry? Get the hefty Big Beef sandwich. Can’t decide? Go for the combo beef and char-grilled Italian sausage.

Superdawg

Superdawg

A true Chicago-style hot dog adheres to this simple but steadfast rule: They are all-beef Vienna sausages served on a warm poppyseed bun, topped with only mustard, and “dragged through the garden.” That’s Chicago-speak for required trimmings of green relish, diced raw onions, tomato slices, sport peppers, a dill pickle wedge, and a sprinkling of celery salt. While locals have strong opinions about which outfits hand-build the best Chicago-style dogs, there’s little discussion about what Chicago’s granddaddy hot dog stand is. It’s Superdawg! The iconic drive-in restaurant on Chicago’s Northwest side opened in 1948. Look for the cartoony, 20-foot-tall hot dog figures standing on the drive-in’s roof. A classic Superdawg hot dog sports a tangy, pickled green tomato wedge and comes atop crinkle fries.

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—Original reporting by Kit Bernardi

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Arts & Culture Cities Food & Drink Weekend Getaways

10 Great Spots to Try Southern Food in Atlanta

Eating Southern food in Atlanta is an absolute must. The city is the world capital of soul food, so you can’t pass by it without indulging in some deep-fried goodness. Of course, with its raging popularity, Southern restaurants in Atlanta spring out of the ground by the dozens, and it can be hard to know which ones are worth a visit.

The Best Spots to Try Southern Food in Atlanta

To avoid subpar Atlanta food, head to one of these Southern food hotspots, which have won the hearts and stomachs of locals.

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Empire State South

Empire state south

[st_content_ad]If you want to enjoy upscale dining and explore the variety of tastes Southern food in Atlanta has to offer, there’s no better place than Empire State South. With unique culinary twists on Southern staples, this restaurant isn’t afraid to play with and surprise your tastebuds. The most popular item on the menu is, surprisingly, the ESS Superfood, a veggie platter that even the most voracious carnivores praise with passion.

South City Kitchen

South city kitchen

Built in a former 1920s bungalow, South City Kitchen is a reflection of the balance Atlanta continually seeks between tradition and modernity. Its open kitchen creates a trendy atmosphere, while its menu boasts classics like pulled pork, crab hash, and chicken livers.

Mary Mac’s Tea Room

Mary mac’s tea room

If you’re only going to try Southern food once in your life, let it be here. A favorite Southern restaurant in Atlanta for years, it combines cozy atmosphere with food that tastes like home. While other places do great fusion or modern twists, Mary Mac’s Tea Room sets itself apart by serving good old-fashioned dishes like fried catfish and meatloaf with black-eyed peas and pepper gravy. For dessert, try the sweet potato souffle, or the perfect homemade cinnamon rolls.

Wisteria

Wisteria

A burst of flavor with lots of ambience makes this a top Southern restaurant in Atlanta. The seasonal menu offers new surprises, and its extensive wine menu alone justifies a visit. People come here for upscale comfort food, and that’s exactly what they get. Order the pork tenderloin or the lamb shank, or really anything on the menu, because nothing will disappoint.

Colonnade 

Colonnade

Founded in 1927 and still growing strong, the Colonnade is a staple of Atlanta food and history. An unpretentious but lively atmosphere makes it a fun place to be around, but the real reason people keep coming back year after year is its authentic Southern food.

Don’t leave without trying the Southern fried chicken, and complement it with classics like the Mac n’ Cheese and the Cornbread. The cocktails are strong, and the numerous pie options make it hard to leave without ordering dessert, no matter how full you are. 

JCT Kitchen & Bar

JCT kitchen & bar

This bougie Southern restaurant has made such a splash, it’s even been featured on the Food Network. When you start your meal with apple-infused butter for your complimentary bread, you know it’s going to be an experience you’ll remember. The ambience is also superb, which makes everything even more enjoyable. Try the ribeye with a side of angry mussels and complement it with the classic JCT Cocktail.

Home Grown

Home grown

The food at this popular Southern restaurant in Atlanta is all locally sourced. This mom-and-pop joint has quite a following, as its food takes people down memory lane and into their childhood kitchen. Try the comfy chicken biscuit, the fried green tomatoes, and the cheese grits, but don’t shy away from the less traditional food like the breakfast tacos. When you’re done eating, head to the back to peruse the restaurant’s very own thrift store.

The Food Shoppe

The food shoppe

Get an explosion of flavorful creole goodness at great prices in this unassuming local shop. A place you could easily pass by, those who venture in are rewarded with generous portions of delectable dishes like the Chicken n’ Mac, the Jambalaya, and the Pasta Ya-Ya. Complement it with drinks, fries, and dessert as well as candy. Yes, you can get candy here!

The Blaxican

The blaxican

If this ingenious food truck hadn’t appeared, Atlanta might have never known Mexican Soul Food, and what a tragedy that would’ve been. With dishes like Buffalo Chicken Tacos, Mexy Mac n’ Cheese, and Philly Nachos, The Blaxican combines everything we love about both cuisines into perfect fusion cuisine. Besides gracing the streets of Atlanta with the glory of its food, the food truck also collects donations on site and via its website, which go toward feeding the less fortunate in Atlanta.

Busy Bee Cafe

Busy bee cafe

This is the place for people who don’t play around when it comes to Southern food. The traditional dishes are what you’d expect from your own grandmother (if you’re from the South, that is), and the ambience is nice but very casual.

Everyone comes for the fried chicken, which is accompanied by several sides like fried okra, mac n’ cheese, and fried green tomatoes, and which many claim is the absolute best in all Southern restaurants in Atlanta. Finish your meal with the divine peach cobbler.

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– Original reporting by Mariana Zapata

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Arts & Culture Cities Food & Drink Health & Wellness Historical Travel Miscellany

The 10 Best Spots for Brunch in Washington, D.C.

The nation’s capital is a town that takes its brunch seriously. That means that the top spots for brunch in Washington, D.C. don’t offer just great food, but also a front-row seat on the world of political wheeler-dealers as they fortify themselves for the week ahead.

Top Spots for Brunch in Washington, D.C.

As befits the District’s ever-expanding range of good cuisine, the brunch scene offers huge variety, from traditional American favorites to Middle Eastern, Greek, and Indian offerings. Here are the places that offer the best brunch in Washington, D.C.

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Blue Duck Tavern

[st_content_ad]The Michelin-starred Blue Duck Tavern is a perennial favorite for upscale brunch in Washington, D.C. Located in the Park Hyatt hotel in Foggy Bottom, the airy, beautifully appointed restaurant features an open kitchen with a wood-burning oven. The restaurant has always had a slight Southern bent, and whether it’s sticky buns, gingerbread waffles, short rib hash, or shrimp and grits, the rustic-style cooking is sure to leave you deeply satisfied. The Blue Duck is one brunch spot that acquits itself equally well in all the other meals of the day.

The Sovereign

If you’ve got a Belgian bent, The Sovereign’s the place to brunch in D.C. Originally conceived as a paean to Belgian beer—it stocks some 50 beers on draft, and a whopping 350 in bottles—with accompanying cuisine built around it, the restaurant’s food has become worthy in its own right. The brunch menu ranges from coq au gueuze (a beer-braised version of coq au vin) to choucroute Benedict, which features pan-roasted pork belly. Belgian standbys include mussels and steak frite with eggs, as well as savory flammekueches, or tartes flambees.

Open City

If you’re in the mood for a more relaxed, casual brunch, check out Open City. In keeping with its proletarian leanings, it doesn’t take reservations. But it does dish up a range of dependable grub, ranging from burritos, croissants, scrambles, breakfast parfaits, and hash brown bowls to the now-ubiquitous chicken and waffles. The all-day brunch bar menu includes a cowboy BBQ Bloody Mary, mimosas, and aperol spritzes.

Bombay Club

Inspired by the punctilious tradition of the Indian supper club, the Bombay Club has become a sophisticated D.C. fixture. The restaurant opened in 1989 but feels like a creature of another era altogether. In authentic Indian style, the format is a buffet of gleaming chafing dishes, accompanied by the stylings of a musician on a grand piano. The food runs the gambit from chaat, the streetwise snacks found on practically every Indian street corner, to classic dishes such as lamb korma, making this a unique brunch in Washington, D.C.

Compass Rose

Founded by the wife of an NPR international bureau chief who partnered with a veteran international D.C. chef, Compass Rose promises a globetrotting tour of good eating. Brunch is no exception. The small but capably executed menu might feature shakshuka, the Middle Eastern staple of eggs poached in a tomato and pepper sauce and garnished with feta, yogurt, and spicy zhoug, or khachapuri, the addictive Georgian cheese bread topped with egg. If you happen to have a party of six, try reserving the harem-like “Bedouin Tent” on the back patio.

Fiola Mare

In Georgetown, seafood-focused Fiola Mare offers a beautiful space with stunning views of the Potomac waterfront and a brunch to match. Try the restaurant’s Italian take on shrimp and grits: tiger prawns braised with tomato, garlic, white wine, and rosemary, accompanied by polenta. There’s also lobster ravioli and the lyrical-sounding gragnano spaghetti alla granseola—Alaskan king crab with pasta. Even the drinks carry a whiff of the sea: Try the Bloody Mary Royal, served with pickled vegetables and a tiger prawn.

Kapnos Taverna

With four locations, all-you-can-eat brunch, and 25-cent mimosas, Kapnos Taverna is hard to beat for brunch in Washington, D.C. Kapnos specializes in Greek and Mediterranean cuisine, and gives its all-you-can-eat diners carte blanche over the entire brunch menu. The offerings include stone oven-baked eggs with crispy lamb; gryos; a wide array of spreads with flatbread; Greek coffee waffles; shakshuka; spanakopita; and soutzoukakia—football-shaped meatballs in tomato sauce, served over trahana, the fermented wheat-and-yogurt pasta.

Trummer’s on Main

Despite the fact that it’s a 30-mile haul southwest of D.C. in Clifton, Virginia, Trummer’s on Main consistently shows up on lists of top area brunch spots, and for good reason. Occupying all three floors of what was originally a hotel built in 1869, Trummer’s is just far enough outside the Beltway to offer breathing room from the carnival of D.C. politics, and the menu features soul-soothing Southern refinement and hearty food. The shrimp and grits with lobster cream has long been a star of the menu, but there’s plenty of inviting stuff here, like beignets, forest mushroom omelets with pickled ramps, and soft shell crab Benedict.

Le Diplomate

Among the top contenders for best brunch in Washington, D.C. is Le Diplomate. The reigning sovereign of French cuisine is a relaxed brasserie that, in true Parisian style, offers great patio tables. The a la carte brunch menu is a veritable cornucopia, and includes pastry baskets, gougeres (cheese puffs), escargots, steak tartare, boudin noir (blood sausage), foie gras parfait (!), mushroom tarts, trout amandine, beef Burgundy, and seafood platters. Save room for dessert (think profiteroles and vanilla creme bruelee).

Busboys and Poets

A combination of restaurant, coffee shop, and bookstore, Busboys and Poets is the place to go if you don’t want to break the bank for brunch. Known for its friendly service, the restaurant (which has several locations around town) works hard to accommodate individual tastes. Many of the offerings, like spinach and wheatberry salad, lean toward the crunchy end of the spectrum, but there are plenty of brunch standbys like American meat-and-egg breakfasts, omelets, and eggs Benedict. For something truly exotic, try the mekhleme, which the restaurant describes as “Iraqi ‘corned beef’ hash” with poached eggs on top, a dish the Busboys and Poets owner grew up eating.

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—Original reporting by Matt Jenkins

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Arts & Culture Cities Food & Drink Miscellany

10 Places to Find the Best Brunch in Seattle

Brunch may be Seattle’s most hallowed meal, capping off a couple of big nights out or fueling up for a busy afternoon outdoors.

Where to Find the Best Brunch in Seattle

You’ll find a full range of flavors at these top spots for brunch in Seattle—and you can be assured of great coffee, of course.

Westward

brunch in seattle

[st_content_ad]With a cheery nautical dining room nudged right up against Lake Union, Westward could coast on its location. Instead it builds on it, with an inventive brunch menu that makes you never want to leave: lamb shoulder hash, bagel and house-cured gravlax, and a Pacific oyster roll are among the temptations, along with plenty of bubbles and day drinks to enjoy in the Adirondack chairs outside.

Tarsan i Jane

brunch in seattle

Valencian touches infuse the wildly ambitious dishes of Spanish-born chef Perfecte Rocher. Brunch may be the best introduction, a five-course affair that culminates with a slow-cooked, perfectly crafted paella that reflects the best ingredients available. The name, Tarsan i Jane, is a nod to his grandfather’s restaurant in Valencia, proof that his culinary roots run deep.

Toulouse Petit Kitchen & Lounge

brunch in seattle

This Queen Anne favorite brings a New Orleans-inspired joie de vivre to brunch in Seattle, with an enormous menu that includes spicy Creole andouille hash, Dungeness crab eggs Benedict, crawfish egg scramble, creme caramel French toast, and, of course, beignets. It all happens in a boisterous room lit with hundreds of votives.

Portage Bay Cafe

brunch in seattle

Portage Bay succeeds in its simplicity, namely egg dishes and other breakfast staples done right: organic eggs, homemade breads, homemade granola, and locally grown sustainable vegetables. And don’t forget the killer breakfast bar: Order up pancakes or French toast, then top ‘em off with a bar full of fresh fruits, nuts, whipped cream, and pure, organic maple syrup. Some call it the best brunch in Seattle, served seven days a week at its Ballard and 65th Avenue locations.

Rockcreek Seafood and Spirits

brunch in seattle

The vibe is warm and woodsy, a northwoods fishing lodge transplanted to Fremont. James Beard nominee Eric Donnelly consistently delivers, with a wide-ranging menu that takes you from the Pacific Northwest to the Deep South. Not that you need another reason to visit, but every last Sunday in the summer months, a DJ spins turntables for Rock Creek’s hip-hop brunch … because that’s how brunch in Seattle rolls.

2120

brunch in seattle

Named for its street address next to the Amazon headquarter “spheres,” 2120 brings Latin flavors to brunch in Seattle without a breakfast burrito in sight. Instead, tuck into donuts made with dulce de leche and agave whip, pork belly migas, poblano scramble, and a bloody Maria with tequila and house bloody mix.

Palisade

brunch in seattle

Palisade keeps alive the traditional all-you-can-eat brunch, with a lavish buffet that features a seafood and oyster bar, egg dishes, assorted salads, meats and cheeses, housemade pastries, and seasonal fruits. There’s even an “endless mimosa” bar. Add to that a dining room that arcs out along the waterfront with views stretching across Elliott Bay, and you have one of the best brunches in Seattle.

Stateside

brunch in seattle

French and Vietnamese flavors blend beautifully at Stateside, where the brunch menu includes classics like brioche French toast and lemongrass soup alongside less-expected treats like charcoal waffles served with coconut syrup and mango jam.

All Water Seafood and Oyster Bar

brunch in seattle

Just blocks from Elliott Bay, All Water celebrates Seattle’s maritime tradition in its decor (worn wood, portraits of fishermen) and its menu, with specialties like the salmon- and crab-stuffed Pacific Northwest frittata. You’ll find plenty of terra-firma flavors, too, like a pulled-pork eggs Benedict and the tempura cinnamon roll with apples compote and maple-bacon glaze.

The Wandering Goose

brunch in seattle

Chef and North Carolina native Heather Earnhardt brings Southern comfort foods to Capitol Hill at Wandering Goose. Fried chicken stars on Friday nights; homemade biscuit sandwiches star in the mornings, filled with country ham, poached egg, sawmill gravy, and other delights.

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—Original reporting by Tina Lassen

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Cities Food & Drink

The 10 Best Cheap Eats in Seattle

You don’t need big bucks to eat well in Seattle. You’ll find cheap eats scattered throughout the city, many with the same dedication to locally sourced, sustainable ingredients as Seattle’s top tables.

Cheap Eats in Seattle

From Pacific Northwest classic clam chowder to fantastic pho, here are 10 local restaurants that dish up cheap eats in Seattle.

Humble Pie

cheap eats in seattle

[st_content_ad]There’s nothing humble about the pizzas at Humble Pie, with a perfect amount of chew in the wood-fired crust. They’re sprinkled with top-shelf ingredients like local Beecher’s cheese, pickled onions, and pork smoked on site.

Pike Place Chowder

cheap eats in seattle

Sometimes the best-known spots for cheap eats in Seattle are the best spots. So is the case with this tiny shop in Pike Place Market’s Post Alley. Prepare to wait, then order a big bowl of briny comfort,  with choices that include smoked salmon, crab and oysters, or seafood bisque.

Paseo

cheap eats in seattle

The Caribbean comes to Fremont and South Seattle courtesy of Paseo, beloved for its Cuban sandwiches of roast pork, banana peppers, and caramelized onions piled high on soft Cuban bread. You’ll find plenty of other island flavors on the menu, like the Caribbean Plato with chicken, jasmine rice, corn, and black beans.

Red Mill Burgers

cheap eats in seattle

Seattle’s favorite burger joint originally began in the 1930s, was resuscitated in the 1990s, and has been winning awards ever since. What’s the key? Quality beef, quality toppings (particularly the pepper bacon), and killer onion rings. The classic malts and shakes are good, too.

Emerald City Fish and Chips

cheap eats in seattle

Combine a couple of Seattle brothers with New Orleans roots, the city’s high-quality cod, salmon, and halibut, and a good panko batter seasoned with cayenne, and the result is mighty fine fish and chips. Emerald City also cooks up a mean gumbo on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Easy Street Records

cheap eats in seattle

Pair a vintage music shop that sells vinyl, CDs, and old movies with a breakfast cafe, and you get this hot spot for cheap eats in Seattle. Breakfast burritos with fresh salsa and jalapeno-spiced Horton Heat Hash are favorites. There’s often a wait, but with walls and bins filled with Seattle music memorabilia, you’ll hardly even notice.

Tsukushinbo  

cheap eats in seattle

It isn’t easy to find, but anyone who loves good Japanese cooking can direct you to this gem in Seattle’s international district. Come for the weekday lunch bargains like ramen and beef curry udon, or sit at the sushi bar and let the chef serve you specials (on the blackboard in Japanese only) that will expand your raw fish horizons.

Tilikum Place Cafe

cheap eats in seattle

The bargain at this Belltown bistro is the Dutch Baby, a fluffy thick pancake of a meal. Whether you order it savory or sweet (flavors change seasonally) or just the classic with  lemon and powdered sugar, it arrives at your table piping hot, erupting out its cast-iron skillet and caramelized to buttery perfection.

Senor Moose Cafe

The owners of this Ballard favorite gathered family recipes from the small roadside restaurants in central Mexico and brought them back to Ballard. It stays true to comida tipica with homemade chorizo, smoky mole, and chilaquiles with smoky tomatillo salsa.

Than Brothers

cheap eats in seattle

The Than brothers were clearly onto something when they opened their first pho (Vietnamese rice noodle soup) restaurant in the 1990s. They haven’t expanded the menu, but have expanded their presence to more than a dozen Seattle locations, serving cheap, hot, and delicious pho, with their signature cream puff for dessert.

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—Original reporting by Tina Lassen

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Arts & Culture Cities Family Travel Food & Drink Historical Travel Travel Trends Weekend Getaways

The Best Cheap Eats in Dallas

If you want to splurge on a 10-course tasting menu and a bottle of wine that costs more than your mortgage, Dallas can hook you up. But don’t be fooled into thinking that you need to spend a lot to enjoy excellent, award-winning food. Cheap eats in Dallas hold their own; and from slow-cooked BBQ or breakfast tacos to mind-blowing burgers, most won’t set you back more than $5.

The Best Cheap Eats in Dallas

Get a mouthful of these delicious cheap eats in Dallas.

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Pecan Lodge

Pecan lodge

[st_content_ad]A trip to Dallas isn’t complete without some good ol’ barbecue, and the Fourton family does it better than just about anyone else. What was once a modest farmers market stall has expanded into this huge Deep Ellum joint filled with mesquite-burning pits and basic wood tables set with much-needed paper towel rolls. In keeping with Texas tradition, standouts like smoked brisket and jalapeno sausage are served with pickles, onions, and bread; pile on slaw and pinto beans, and save room for made-from-scratch banana pudding and cobbler at this cheap eats in Dallas institution.

Maple & Motor

Maple & motor

Locals flip for the juicy half-pound burgers at this cheap restaurant in Dallas, but it’s the fried baloney sandwich that’s put this casual Americana-style spot on the map; in fact, it’s been rated one of the best cheap eats in Dallas. The sandwich selection is short but satisfying, with the option of adding fries, tots, or onion rings to your order.

Cane Rosso

Cane rosso

For less than $20, you can get your hands on one of the best pizzas in town, a 14-inch Neapolitan-style, thin-crust, wood-fired pie laden with gourmet ingredients like candied jalapenos, homemade mozzarella, hot soppressata, or bacon marmalade and laced with olive oil and basil. The popular chain also serves up salads, pastas dishes, and Italian desserts. Hit up happy hour at this cheap eats in Dallas favorite for extra savings.

Cattleack Barbeque

Cattleack barbeque

There’s a narrow window during which to enjoy some of the best BBQ in Dallas, as this low-frills, high-thrills joint is only open on Thursdays, Fridays, and the first Saturday of the month. If you manage a stop before the meat runs out, line up—and prepare to wait—for succulent ribs and pulled pork sandwiches served with hefty helpings of potato salad and cheesy jalapeno grits. Cattleack has indoor and outdoor seating and, more importantly, plenty of napkins. You’ll need them.

Taco Joint

Taco joint

Four DFW locations and a line out the door can’t be wrong. Locals love to start their day with breakfast tacos and burritos stuffed with eggs, chorizo, beans, and peppers; but the lunchtime trade is equally fierce. Tex-Mex faves like queso, tortilla soup, and, of course, tacos have established this chain as one of the best cheap restaurants in Dallas. Choose crispy or soft with fillings like brisket, fajita meat, or pork carnitas.

Deli News

Deli news

There’s no better place to get in an Empire State of mind than at this authentic New York City-style deli. In additional to dishing up Reubens and corned beef sandwiches that are thicker than the dictionary, Deli News specializes in Russian-Jewish classics like matzo ball soup, latkes, gefilte fish, and kugel, as well as bagels, challah bread, and onion rolls that are baked fresh on-site. The menu also includes standard diner fare like chicken soup, burgers, and meatloaf.

Jimmy’s Food Store

Jimmy's food store

With all due respect to the mass-market chains, there’s absolutely nothing sub-par about the real-deal Italian subs at Jimmy’s. Olive oil, fresh herbs, marinated peppers, and the finest Italian meats and cheeses—including Genoa salami and spicy sausage—come with your choice of toppings and white or wheat roll. Fresh caprese and straight-out-of-New-Orleans muffuletta salads are a step above the veggie options at most sandwich shops, and will make you feel less guilty about ordering that extra cannoli. Squeeze in time for a little shopping, as the deli also stocks Italian wine, pastries, deli meat, and “Mama’s Meatballs” you’ll no doubt try to pass off as your own.

Keller’s Drive-In

Keller's drive-in

One of the best-loved cheap restaurants in Dallas feels like it was plucked out of the movie Grease. Cars have been pulling up to this family-owned Northwest Highway drive-in since 1963. More than five decades and two additional locations later, it remains one of the best values in town. The menu is straightforward, with fat double cheeseburgers on poppy-seed buns, onion rings, chili dogs, tater tots, milkshakes, and, yes, even beer, all served by carhop. Everything is cooked to order, and nothing costs more than a couple of bucks. 

Flower Child

Flower child

Not even true-blue Texans can live on steak and BBQ alone. When a veggie craving comes calling, the Flower Child hits the spot. Though omnivores are welcome to add grass-fed steak, all-natural chicken, or sustainable salmon to their order, this fun, hippie-chic cafe is especially popular with vegans and vegetarians who just want to dig into some tofu, hummus, and quinoa bowls sans judgment. Fresh ingredients and flavor-packed dressings keep veggie sides and whole-grain wraps tasting bold, not bland. The efficient service makes it easy to grab your greens on the go.

Tacodeli

Tacodeli

This Austin transplant has two Dallas locations, and both have developed a cult following thanks to their build-your-own breakfast tacos. The lunchtime taco menu offers lots of variety, with countless chicken, pork, beef, seafood, and veggie options, four different salsas, and sides and salads aplenty. Officially, Tacodeli is BYOB, but you can’t go wrong with a house-made agua fresca or horchata if you left your cerveza at home.

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– Original reporting by Erin Donnelly

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The 10 Best Boston Food Trucks

Boston food trucks keep the city’s residents fed, particularly on weekdays during lunch when you’ll find trucks serving all types of cuisine scattered around town. Some restaurants pop up with the season and others opt to ultimately go the brick-and-mortar route, but there are several Boston food truck staples that continue to churn out delicious food at even better prices.

The Best Boston Food Trucks

Whether you stumble upon them or are actively seeking them out, these are 10 Boston food trucks worth a stop.

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Roxy’s Grilled Cheese

Taking the comfort-food classic to the next level, Roxy’s melts Vermont cheddar, fontina, and/or muenster onto Iggy’s bread with toppings like bacon and honey or BBQ braised short ribs. Creative salads and truffle fries are the perfect alternative for the lactose intolerant.

One of the perks of visiting Boston in cooler weather is being able to dunk your sandwich into roasted tomato soup. Wash everything down with homemade lemonade in a variety of rotating flavors.

Stoked Pizza

A wood-fired oven on wheels, this pizza truck serves personal-size pies. The basics—cheese, pepperoni, and Italian sausage—are all covered. If you’re feeling a little nontraditional, opt for the buffalo Brussel sprouts with homemade buffalo sauce, mozzarella, roasted Brussel sprouts, and gorgonzola. For vegans, a cheese substitute is available.

The brick-and-mortar location in Brookline also serves up craft beer, wine, and cocktails. The menu is a bit more expansive with salads, wings, and starters. Gluten-free dough is available, too.

Bon Me

One of the long-standing Boston food trucks, Bon Me also has seven restaurant locations. The Asian-fusion eatery has options that rotate with the season, as well as staples like banh mi-style sandwiches, rice bowls, and ramen. Proteins always include tofu, chicken, and pork options, with a regular rotating list of others, including spicy sesame chickpeas and K-town chicken.

Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diners will find it easy to order with options clearly marked. This food truck hits the sweet spot, too, with options like coconut chia pudding and lime panna cotta.

Sheherazad Food Truck

One of the newest Boston food trucks to drive onto the scene, Sheherazad is largely responsible for introducing Iraqi and Middle Eastern cuisine to a wider audience. Family recipes from Baghdad combine influences from Turkish, Indian, Arabian, and Mediterranean cuisines.

Meat, produce, herbs, and spices are all locally sourced and turned into dishes like Temen Laham, a mix of roasted lamb, rice, nuts, raisins, ground beef, and orange blossom.

Mei Mei

This Boston food truck serves Chinese-American cuisine from locally sourced ingredients. Its focus on sustainability means its ingredients come from small New England farms and its meat is humanely raised. The sibling team behind the truck and restaurant were James Beard Rising Star semi-finalists.

Given the focus on local products, menu options change with what’s in season. Specialties include dumplings filled with seasonal veggies or meat, and a range of noodle and rice dishes. Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options and modifications are available if you ask.

Zinneken’s

Among Boston’s food trucks, Zinneken’s stands out as a sweet option among all the savory. Belgian waffles are made by native Belgians from handcrafted dough. Choose from a soft and chewy waffle or a light and crispy one and then go to town with the toppings. A variety of fruits—all kinds of berries and banana—are complemented by chocolate, whipped cream, and more.

A variety of coffee, tea, and hot chocolate options are also on hand. And, of course, iced varieties are available, too.

Taco Party

If we didn’t tell you the food was largely made from plants here, you may not have even realized it. The brains behind taco party masterfully craft tacos with ingredients like fried tofu in panko bread crumbs topped with mango salsa and roasted garlic crema. Soy ginger marinated jackfruit, cornmeal crusted mushroom, and sweet potatoes are other main taco features.

Other options include tortas with grilled chorizo, loaded nachos, and salads tops with ingredients that actually make it taste less like a salad and more like a real meal. Think: picked red onion, edamame, pepitas. Gluten free items are available, too.

The Cod Squad

The Cod Squad has the seafood market cornered when it comes to Boston food trucks. Fresh seafood options vary daily, but you’ll likely find New England favorites like clam chowder, crab cake sandwiches, tuna melts, and lobster rolls. The Cod Squad uses organic produce in its salads, which you can top with proteins like salmon.

For the feel of a traditional New England crab shack, order a friend clam plate. You’ll get French fries and cole slaw on the side.

Sate Grill

Formerly known as Momogoose, Sate Grill-on-Wheels is your go-to for fresh Vietnamese. Opt for rise, noodles, salad, banh mi, or soup, and then add your protein. Curry options change with the day, while chicken or tofu BBQ and lemongrass-grilled chicken are constant favorites. Extras include gyoza and crispy rolls.

Check the daily schedule, since this weekday food truck rotates between locations in Cambridge and downtown Boston.

Chicken and Rice Guys

Middle Eastern Halal street food is the name of the game here. Start with rice or salad and top with Halal chicken, gyro, tofu, or a mix. Homemade hummus and pita chips are the perfect side.

You can feel good about eating here, too: The Chicken & Rice Guys Foundation gives back to the local community through donations as well as community service projects.

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– Original reporting by Kate Sitarz

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Arts & Culture Cities Food & Drink Miscellany

Where to Find the Best Cuban Food in Miami

In a city where nearly 70 percent of the population is Hispanic, Miami has rightfully earned the nickname “Capital of Latin America.” But while multicultural restaurants abound here, including everything from empanada stands to ceviche shops, no other cuisine seems to be as synonymous with the city’s identity as Cuban food in Miami. When Cuban refugees fled to Florida for freedom, they brought one important piece of culture: Cuban cuisine. Cuban restaurants have sprouted up everywhere from Little Havana to Miami Beach, with options ranging from fast food joints to fine dining, fusion-style establishments.

Where to Find the Best Cuban Food in Miami

For a taste of authentic Cuban cuisine, pop into one of these 10 stand-out Cuban restaurants in Miami.

Versailles

cuban food in miami

[st_content_ad]Versailles touts itself as “The World’s Most Famous Cuban Restaurant” and has spent more than four decades delivering some of the best Cuban food in Miami. The Little Havana-based eatery has expanded to outposts at the airport, but the flagship locale was once the unofficial town square for Cuban exiles—and served the same role after Fidel Castro passed away. Today the restaurant draws politicians, families, and travelers to its tables thanks to its reliably good, reasonably priced Cuban cuisine. For the full experience, order a sampler platter piled with classics like sweet plantains, ham croquettes, black beans, and roast pork.

Enriqueta’s Sandwich Shop

cuban food in miami

The classic Cuban sandwich, two pieces of crispy white bread stuffed with ham and cheese, started as a lunchtime staple at cafes in Key West and Ybor City, Tampa, catering to Cuban cigar factory workers. Now you’ll find this sandwich at nearly every Cuban restaurant in Miami. Enriqueta’s Sandwich Shop is by far one of the top picks for locals, who queue up come lunchtime at the window for cheap and fresh sandwiches, as well as one of Miami’s best cortaditos, an espresso shot topped with steamed milk.

El Palacio de los Jugos

cuban food in miami

Though the name translates to “The Juice Palace,” El Palacio de los Jugos is more like a Latin American market than a juice bar. What started as a casual takeaway spot on Flagler Street in the 1970s has expanded into an empire of open-air restaurants with nine locales around town, each keeping alive the original concept of market-fresh produce served casually from stands and stalls. Here, you’ll find an array of fresh juices from melon to mango, plus no-frills Cuban cuisine like pollo con papas (chicken and potatoes), croquetas, and yuca frita (fried yucca).

El Rey de las Fritas

cuban food in miami

Many of the Cuban restaurants in Miami boast a claim to fame, and at El Rey de las Fritas, it’s the original Cuban burger. Husband and wife duo Victoriano “Benito” and Angelina “Gallega” Gonzalez invented the original frita Cubana when they moved to Miami from Cuba in the 1970s. Now second-generation family members help run the business that has expanded from Little Havana to three other locales around town. Swing by the original diner-style space to sample the main attraction: burgers piled high with shoestring fries bulging between the buns of a fluffy white Cuban roll.

Sergio’s

cuban food in miami

The mother and daughter behind Sergio’s have spent the last 40 years perfecting their croquetas, which are so legendary they’ve drawn chefs like Emeril Lagasse for a taste. Homestyle cuisine here spans all the classics from vaca frita (flat-iron grilled shredded beef and cooked onions) to masas de puerco (fried pork chunks with homemade mojo sauce). There’s also a modern menu with low-calorie ropa vieja, palomilla steak, and mahi mahi—plus a trendy selection of sides like spiralized vegetable noodles and cauliflower rice. You can’t leave without sipping a cafecito, so do it in true Cuban fashion at the window.

David’s Cafe Cafecito

cuban food in miami

David’s Cafe Cafecito has been a fixture in South Beach for the past 40 years, serving up some of the best Cuban food in Miami. While the original locale shuttered its doors a few years ago, the Gonzalez family still runs a cafecito concept on Alton Road that pays homage to their Cuban background through one of the country’s most-loved daily traditions: coffee. Colorful Cuban tiles line the intimate space scattered with just a few tables that are typically filled. This is the go-to spot for classic Cuban breakfast. Post up at the bar and order Cuban toast served alongside a strong and sweet cafe Cubano, or cafecito.

Havana Harry’s

cuban food in miami

Havana Harry’s is a neighborhood fave in Coral Gables, where families gather over spruced-up Cuban classics like tostones guayaberos, twice-fried plantain slices topped with shredded pork and grilled onions, drizzled with a guava barbecue sauce. The atmosphere is loud in true Latin style and portions are generous (read: XXL), so come with an appetite and leave room for the real star of the show: dessert. You may be familiar with tres leches, a sponge cake soaked with a melange of three types of milk, but Havana Harry’s adds in a few more ingredients for a version aptly dubbed cinco leches, a pastry filled with dulce de leche that’s covered with homemade meringue.

Finka Table & Tap

cuban food in miami

Don’t let its shopping center location in West Kendall throw you off. Finka Table & Tap has rightfully earned its high-ranking position among Miami’s top gastropubs for its blend of Korean, Cuban, and Peruvian cuisine paired with Florida microbrews on tap. Chef and owner Eileen Andrade got her culinary start alongside her grandparents at one of the more famous Cuban restaurants in Miami, Islas Carnitas, later traveling and cooking throughout Korea. Flavors pull from some of Florida’s finest ingredients (think fried alligator) and throw in Asian flair with sides like fried wontons and spicy kimchee fried rice. If you’re waiting to see where the Cuban influence comes in, one bite of the vaca frita-topped tostones will definitely do the trick.

Azucar Ice Cream Company

cuban food in miami

Sitting along the famous Calle Ocho strip in Little Havana, Azucar Ice Cream Company is more famous in Miami than chains like Haagen-Dazs. Azucar plays on the style of confections your abuela would make, with fruit bought from local fruit stands and farmers’ markets. You won’t be able to miss the ice cream shop, topped with a glowing neon sign and larger-than-life cone extending from the facade. Inside, more than 70 all-natural ice cream and sorbet flavors are hand-written on a chalkboard sign, with options ranging from classic Cuban vanilla mantecado cookies to cuatro leches and Coca-Cola.

Ball & Chain

cuban food in miami

Just next door to Azucar Ice Cream Company lies one-time saloon Ball & Chain, which got its start during the Depression. In the 1950s, Billie Holiday and Chet Baker were among the circuit of talented musicians who performed at the club, which was converted into a furniture shop a decade later. Now Ball & Chain has embraced its Cuban surroundings and is one of Little Havana’s most vibrant lounges, with live salsa and jazz bands playing in the open-air bar and dining area. While it serves as a neighborhood nightlife institution, Ball & Chain doubles as a great Cuban restaurant in Miami with tapas-style dishes like housemade mariquitas de maduro (sweet plantain chips) and chicharrones (fried pork belly).

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—Original reporting by Lane Nieset