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Looking for an authentic Cuban restaurant? There are only two streets in Miami to consider: Calle Ocho and Bird Road. And the godfather of Cuban restaurants on Bird Road is none other than Rio Cristal. Its origin goes back more than four decades to restaurants in Cuba and New York City, Rio Cristal. Don't believe us? Check out the furniture and furnishings, which reek of history. But it's not the style that will draw you in. It's the food and service. Few places, even Cuban restaurants, still serve a meal on a variety of plates. But your rice and black beans, tostones, and main entrée at Rio Cristal all get individual billing, which is great if you have an aversion to mixing foods. Presentation aside, the restaurant is renowned for its outlandish portions. There's the palomilla steak ($11.75 to $15.50, depending upon size) with Cuban mountains of homemade fries lathered on top. Or check out the bistec super Rio Cristal ($15.50), which can hardly be contained by a single plate. Unlike most of its Cuban brethren, Rio Cristal serves hamburgers and cheeseburgers instead of fritas. But in true Rio Cristal fashion, there's a super hamburger ($5.50) and super cheeseburger ($6.50) that are enormous. Sundays are special at Rio Cristal. It's the only day of the week for several items including codfish ($10.25). Ropa vieja ($9.75) is available every day until 5 p.m.
We eat out alot in Dade Broward & ocassionly Palm Beach. We have been eating at Rio Cristals once every 2 months or so for 20 years now. Love the Ropa Viejo and home made Flam is best in Miami. However Rio recently almost doubled their prices on all menu items but quality has went down some and this restaurant is older and dingy now. Their prices doubled but they have't replaced 1 coffee cup, 1 spoon,fork,plate,seats, paint or anything to justify the higher prices. The senior waiters have always been nice people and we like their first rate service. High prices have forced me to other restaurants now. Too bad Rio. Good Luck.
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A friend recently chose to celebrate his birthday at Rio Cristal, a Cuban place on Bird Road west of Tropical Park, because he grew up eating there and had fond memories. Located in a strip mall next... More »
Like sugar melted into caramel, flan in Miami constantly burns a hole through our hearts. It's so easy to make: eggs, milk, and sugar -- maybe a little vanilla or cinnamon -- whisked into a custard. And every Latin American country has its own perfected rendition. So why are we constantly subjected to overly creamy masses of what basically amounts to pudding violently infused with corn syrup at even the fanciest restaurants? We expect our flan to jiggle, the loving result of a... More »
There they are. Piled atop your palomilla steak. They're hand-cut, golden, crisp on the outside, tender on the inside. You down half of them before you even think of cutting into that beef. The waiter knows they're good. He offers you more papitas after you and the others at the table make the first batch disappear. Your answer: Sí, sí, sí. More »
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