As written by Linda Bladholm for Miami Herald
Start your weekend Cuban-style with live music starting Friday nights at Bella Cuba.
This spot has been on Miami Beach for 15 years but recently added brunch with bongos. Owners Juan Carlos and Larisa Jimenez met in the Ukraine when Cuba had a student exchange program with the former Soviet Union. They settled in Dublin, where they raised their two sons. The younger one, Omar, who studied hospitality at the Dublin Institute of Technology, is the manager and a gracious host here. He came up with the brunch menu, blending traditional brunch favorites with Cuban flavors to create a “nuevo Miami cubano brunch.”
Musicians rotate, but you might luck into Latin Grammy award winner Tomasito Cruz, Lourdes Nuviola or Cachita Lopez.
Order a mango mojito or Cuban mule made with rum, lime and ginger ale. Then get the croqueta sampler with two each of ham, chicken and bacalao (salt cod). The croquetas are breaded, deep-fried and are indeed crunchy on the outside.
A good place to start is by splitting the award-winning traditional Cuban sandwich that placed first last year at the Calle Ocho Music Festival.
Sweet items include guava French toast with guava jam made from the owners’ backyard tree. It comes with a swirl of whipped cream cheese and is dusted in powdered sugar, served with guava syrup. There are also pancakes topped with homemade caramelized guava shells.
Moving on to savory, try the roasted sweet potato stuffed with cheddar cheese and avocado, topped with sour cream, bacon and chives. The Cuban country skillet comes in a cast iron pan filled with two fried eggs, home-style potatoes, green peppers, ham, chorizo and cheese served with Cuban toast. Huevos rancheros brings two eggs, mashed avocado, black beans, bacon and ropa vieja shredded beef.
Bistec a caballo is skirt steak and eggs with yucca fries and rum peppercorn sauce. The Benedict Cienfuegos is named after the port on the southern coast of Cuba where Juan Carlos is from. Two poached eggs come on a toston with thin slices of sweet plantain, smoked salmon, avocado and Hollandaise sauce.
Toston toast are crispy fried green plantains topped with avocado slices, a poached egg and microgreens.
There’s also the sandwich de brunch on Cuban bread stuffed with two fried eggs, cheese, ham croquetas, grilled ham, bacon and pink sauce. This a true mom-and-pop place where you feel like part of the family by the time you leave.
Address: 1659 Washington Ave., Miami Beach
Contact: 305-672-7466, bella-cuba.com
Hours: Open daily 11 a.m.-11 p.m., daily happy hour 4-7 p.m., Latin social live music Friday 8-11 p.m., brunch Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m.-4 p.m. with live music from 12:30 p.m.-3 p.m.