The Restaurateurs Behind Kiki on the River Introduce New Restaurant-Taqueria-Speakeasy
in Historic Little Havana Neighborhood
The team behind Kiki on the River and Mandrake Miami bring their talents to Little Havana with the openings of El Santo Restaurant, Taqueria and Don Diablo, a tequila speakeasy. Conceptualized by Roman Jones, this hotspot will be both neighborhood staple and nightlife destination unseen on Calle Ocho’s as part of Little Havana’s ongoing revival. El Santo is located at 1618 SW 8th Street, Miami, FL 33135.
Comprised of three distinct spaces, El Santo Miami features a taqueria, a formal dining room and lounge and a clandestine cocktail lounge called Don Diablo.
El Santo Taqueria embodies the colorful revelry of Lucha Libre culture and the distinct pleasure of Mexican food in its ideal form. The cantina-style spot is decorated with colorful luchador masks and vintage subway tiles. The menu comprises fresh-pounded guacamole, grilled corn Esquites and six types of tacos including a Short Rib braised in ancho guajillo, Al Pastor with charred pineapple and caramelized onions and Mojo Pork carnitas style braised in mojo marinade with potato sticks and garlic crema. Burritos and bowls are available with pollo, pastor, carne asada or shrimp. Top off your taco with house made salsa diablo. For a sweet finish, enjoy churros with Nutella, chocolate or dulce de leche or authentic paletas.
A Taco Tuesday special brings half-off all tacos while a Monday-Thursday 4pm-9pm and “Borracho Hour” offers $4 cocktails with elevated takes on the traditional with Frozen Palomas, Frozen Margaritas, plus Mexican Sangria, Micheladas, tequila shots and beers.
Located next door to the taqueria, designed by Mark Lehmkuhl’s Ghosthouse Design, El Santo Restaurant invites guests to worship at the altar of food and drink. Walking through the massive wooden hacienda front doors into the dining room feels like stepping into an abandoned church that’s now been resurrected as a stylish ode to cocktails and lively dining. A lounge is outfitted with cushy leather-studded couches with an antique chapel piano serving as the DJ booth while a gold-plated telephone booth is festooned with the words “Talk to God” in neon.
Further inside are Spanish-style “ofrenda” tables outfitted with saints, candles and Christian iconography while the formal 80-seat dining room offers banquette seating beneath a grotto-like ceiling with draping vines and greenery. An intimate private dining room is ensconced within red velvet drapes and features a crucifixion artwork. Guests can expect impromptu Mariachi’s, musical performers and lively entertainment throughout the evening.
A delectable menu of shareable plates feature Asian, Peruvian and Latin influences. Small plates comprise flavorful compositions like the Tuna Carpaccio ($12.95) served with fresh daikon and a creamy oyster sauce and the Jalea Mixta ($18) made with fried corvina, Bay scallops, Bay shrimp, yuca and salsa criolla. A selection of grilled anticucho skewers ($6 – $12) include Wagyu, chicken and shrimp. Larger main dishes will satisfy appetites with the Wagyu Lomo Saltado and the Organic Arroz Con Pollo featuring a half chicken, brined for 24 hours, with Peruvian style green rice salsa criolla, along with the crowd-pleasing tempura-fried Rock Shrimp dressed in a yuzu sauce.
Further inside is a covert door that leads to Don Diablo, a cavernous bar decked out in funky Day of the Dead-inspired decor that sets a devilish vibe at this offbeat cantina with an elite collection of mezcal and tequila. The cocktail menu was created by Bar Lab’s Bryan Canales. With a DJ booth set behind a wooden coffin, wood beam ceiling covered in vines and cheeky murals depicting Día de los Muertos-style skeletons and skulls this secretive Mexican roadhouse-style bar sets the stage for cheeky hedonism straddling the line between sinners and saints. Cocktailing reigns supreme with sips like the Santo Pecado featuring Mezcal Sacrvm, fresh lime, jicama, watermelon juice, Mexican pepper reduction and CBD ($13). The resident DJ who directs the music and sets the vibes is Latin GRAMMY nominated producer Mr. Pauer whose DJ sets are legendary for their innovative and danceable hits.
Hours for Taqueria El Santo are 11:30am-10pm Monday-Wednesday,
11:30am-4am Thursday-Friday, 11am-4am Saturdays, 11am-10pm on Sundays.
Hours for El Santo Restaurant are 7pm-12pm Thursday-Saturday.
Hours for Don Diablo are 10pm-3am Thursday-Saturday.
El Santo & Don Diablo
1618 SW 8th Street
Miami, FL 33135