Restaurants offer taste of Everglades cuisine
MIAMI — The cuisine in the surrounding areas of the Everglades National Park is anything but ordinary. From barbeque to Miccosukee traditional food, visitors can find anything and everything that will satisfy even the pickiest of eaters.
One restaurant that is definitely worth visiting is Finka Table & Tap, located not far from Tamiami Trail as it heads west into the Everglades. Finka’s melding of Cuban, Korean and Peruvian flavors is unique anywhere in South Florida. The independent, chef driven gastro pub is the only of its kind in the far west Miami-Dade area.
|Finka Table & Tap (Photo by Stephanie Freire)|
Restaurants such as Finka, on the edge of Miami and near Everglades National Park, offer a chance to eat on the way to a day in the park or after airboat rides, fishing, or other activities in the area.
These places offer a taste of the region and its culture and are a must for out-of-town visitors as well as locals spending a day exploring the park.
The head chef and the one who came up with the concept for this restaurant is Eileen Andrade, granddaughter of the original owners of the famous Cuban restaurant chain, Islas Canarias.
The upscale-looking farmhouse is huge and is normally is packed to the brim with locals and tourists alike. Bartenders working at the front bar pour craft beers and make signature drinks in Mason jars for the customers.
Alexander Aportela is one of the bartenders at Finka.
“Every week, the restaurant puts out a different featured drink,” Aportela said. “This week’s is a raspberry mojito and it’s been flying out of here.” Aportela continued, saying how people from all over the world have come to eat at the restaurant after hearing about it in the news or reading articles about it.
Aliana Sifuentes has been a server at Finka for the last four months. She says that working at this restaurant has been an experience unlike any other.
“Finka has a beat of its own,” Sifuentes said. “You have large families, couples, foreigners and kids coming in and everyone is amazed at the variety of flavors each dish has.”
One dish that is highly recommended, and a customer favorite, is the Cuban Fried Rice. The dish comes with shrimp, banana maduros, pineapple, red peppers and cilantro aioli toped with a fried egg and scallions.
If a casual, finger-licking lunch is something you are craving, look no further than The Pit Bar-B-Q. The original owner, Tommy Little, wanted to create a place for travelers to and from the Everglades to stop in and get a cold drink and something to eat.
Pulling up to the Pit, you are instantly hit with the sweet, tangy smell of a good, old-fashioned barbeque. Customers have the option of sitting indoors in the air-conditioned dinning room or outdoors on a good old picnic table under a tiki hut roof.
|Restaurant sign outside of The Pit Bar B-Q (Photo by Stephanie Freire).|
Mike Rogers has been working at The Pit for two years. He says that anything on the menu will satisfy your taste buds.
“ We work hard everyday to make sure that the food’s flavors are consistent,” Rogers said. “Its important to make sure everything that comes out of the kitchen tastes like The Pit and never changes.”
Word around the block is that the secret to The Pit’s success is the homemade basting sauce and the oak used to grill the meats. The Pit is famous for their barbecue pork spare ribs and smoked gator bites and also makes slow cooked baby back ribs, New York strip and churrasco steaks, catfish, frog legs and more.
Most recently, The Pit has added some Latin food like pork chunks with white rice and black beans, moro rice with yuka, fried plantains, sweet plantains and a homemade tamale in its natural corn husk.
What was once just wetlands off of the Tamiami Trail is now a thriving, residential and business area with restaurants unlike anywhere else outside a national park. People have come from all over the world to try the cuisine at both Finka and The Pit.
With the two restaurants right outside the Everglades, they make perfect pit stops for tourists to get a taste of the big melting pot that makes South Florida what it is today.
If You Go
Finka Table & Tap
- Address: 14690 SW 26th St., Miami, Fla. 33175
- Phone: 305-227-8818
- Hours: Sundays – Thursdays 11:30 a.m. – 11 p.m., Fridays – Saturdays 11:30 a.m.- 12 a.m.
- Website: http://Finkarestaurant.com
Directions from the Everglades Visitor Center to Finka Table & Tap via FL 821 N to SW 42nd Street:
Start out going east on SW 392nd Street / FL 9336 toward SW 224 Avenue.
Turn left onto SW 192nd Avenue / FL 9336
Turn right onto SW 344th Street / FL 9336
Turn left onto NE 1st Avenue / U.S. 1 North / FL 5
Merge onto FL 821 N / Florida’s Turnpike North toward Orlando / Miami International Airport
Keep right to take FL 821 N / Florida’s Turnpike North toward Orlando
Take exit 23 toward FL 976 / SW 40th Street
Stay straight to go onto SW 117th Avenue
Take the first left onto SW 40th Street
Turn right onto SW 26th Street
The Pit Bar-B-Q
- Address: 16400 SW 8th St., Miami, Fla. 33194
- Phone: 305-226- 2272
Hours: Mondays – Thursdays 11 a.m. – 10 p.m., Fridays – Saturdays 11 a.m. – 11 p.m., closed on Sundays
- Website: http://Thepitbarbq.com
Directions from the Everglades Visitor Center to The Pit Bar B-Q via SW 197 Avenue to SW 177 Avenue:
Start out going east on SW 392nd Street / FL 9336 toward SW 224 Avenue
Take the second left onto SW 217th Avenue
Turn right onto SW 296th Street
Turn left onto SW 197th Avenue
Turn right onto SW 232nd Street
Turn left onto SW 187th Avenue
Turn right onto SW 200th St. / FL 974
Turn left onto SW 177th Ave / FL 997
Turn right onto SW 8th Street / U.S. 41 South