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GQ just named this Little Havana gem one of the best new restaurants in America

Cafe La Trova is the brainchild of Michelle Bernstein and Julio Cabrera.
Cafe La Trova is the brainchild of Michelle Bernstein and Julio Cabrera.

You knew you loved Cafe La Trova, the Little Havana hot spot where food, cocktails and music evoke a beloved and dynamic pre-Castro Cuba.

But did you know GQ loves it, too?

The magazine has named the Calle Ocho restaurant one of America’s best new restaurants.

The magazine praised Cafe La Trova’s menu from James Beard Award-winning chefs Michelle Bernstein and her husband David Martinez, rhapsodizing over “soulful classics: supple-crusted empanadas filled with steaming pockets of shredded steak mixed with olives and caramelized onions; a “proper” butifarra sausage, lusciously fatty and served in slices over sherry-scented gigante beans; fat shrimp cooked in garlicky sofrito; stellar arroz con pollo.”

GQ also singles out the restaurant’s other co-owner, bartender Julio Cabrera, who famously spent time growing up in his dad’s bar in Cuba and “has become the pre-eminent ambassador of the island’s elegant cantinero tradition around the world,” according to GQ.

“The stage really belongs to Cabrera and his fellow tuxedoed cantineros as they simultaneously shake classic daiquiris, Papa Dobles, and other immortal drinks for a crowd that is equal parts young-and-beautiful couples and the men in fedoras you see by day playing dominoes farther down Calle Ocho,” the article says.

Miami born chef Michelle Bernstein, winner of the James Beard award, discusses life as a woman chef years before Me Too over Cuban coffee, pastelitos and croquetas.

He also created a drink called The Chancleta, which is the single greatest name for a Miami drink ever (it’s made of cachaca, ginger-honey syrup and lime juice, and no, your abuela can’t throw it at you.

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You've got to order The Chancleta at least once before you die.


The restaurant’s response on Instagram to its appearance in GQ was modest: “Wow, que honor.”

Recently Cafe La Trova opened a 1980s-themed bar called 80s 305 bar, which plays music from the era and highlights — what else? — a “Miami Vice” poster.

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Michelle Bernstein and Julio Cabrera at Cafe La Trova.

Cafe La Trova

  • Where: 971 SW Eighth St., Miami
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