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Solmar Restaurant, operated by the Olivira family since 1981, bills its food as "cocina continental," which translates to Continental cuisine with an inkling of ingredients and regional specialties from Spain. Soups exemplify this Spanish/Continental divide, options traveling from French onion to fabada Asturiana, the latter a full-flavored, tomato-based broth boosted by white beans and thick hunks of ham, chorizo, and blood sausage. Owner/manager Perfecte Olivira greets guests warmly, the friendly welcome supported by a talented and tuxedoed staff; no one waits long for menus, water, or warm bread served with a complimentary tapas plate of thinly sliced chorizo and Serrano ham. Appetizers on the compact menu include routine versions of shrimp cocktail and escargot, and a quartet of plump shrimp sizzled with clarified butter and a smattering of garlic. Entrées feature corvina grilled, broiled, egg-battered and pan-fried, or baked in salsa verde, and numerous shrimp and lobster preparations -- try the piquant, tomato-based fra diavolo. Filet mignon and sirloin steaks are broiled and brandished with Cabrales cheese, shrimp, bordelaise sauce, and so on. Most entrées, including steaks, are less than $25, many under $20, including a wondrously tender pair of meaty veal cutlets, studded with mushrooms and ham in a smooth Madeira sauce. The specialty of the house, paella, takes 55 minutes to prepare, but it's no big deal if you're sharing a bottle of wine or a pitcher of apple-flecked sangria.
Restaurants representing Cuba, Mexico, Nicaragua, Colombia, Uruguay, and just about every other Spanish-speaking nation can be found within the corridor of strip malls along Bird Road in West Miami-Dade. Few have been around as long as the... More »
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