Hialeah gets a bad rap.
Yes, it can be unrefined, overcrowded and hot as hell. Rush hour traffic there is bad enough to shatter the mind of even the most patient driver.
But Hialeah does have its charms, which the city reveals slowly and subtly, like a woman adjusting her faja after eating too many zingers at the Ale House.
The truth is, if you look carefully you’ll find Hialeah is much more than just “agua, fango y factoría.”
There’s El Rinconcito de Santa Barbara, which supposedly has the best mofongo in Miami. There’s also El Rinconcito Peruano and El Rinconcito Latino (not to be confused with El Rinconcito Super Latino III in Cutler Bay). This list goes on and on. Each rinconcito is a great dining alternative for nights when you don’t feel like hitting up Flanigan’s, the Ale House, or its stepsister, the Carolina Ale House.
Super cheap. So cheap there are places actually named Ñooo Que Barato. Don’t want to splurge on a Rolex but still want to stunt? Pick up an Ice King at Ñooo Que Barato. It’ll cost you under $10, and it works! Valsan is another favorite, so beloved its slogan is “Los que vienen no se van” (“those who come here never leave”). That’s because Valsan is the retail version of Dante’s Inferno; once you make it past the first gate, you risk getting lost down a windowless rabbit hole of incredible bargains and bizarre shopping finds.
Ñooo Que Barato: 1198 W 23rd St, Hialeah
Opa Locka Hialeah Flea Market
La Fresa Francesa
You don’t have to drive down to Brickell or Miami Beach to have a romantic European dinner. Head to La Fresa Francesa Petit Café, and you’ll feel like you magically teleported to a tiny Parisian bistro where you can eat a guava crepe instead of a guava pastelito.
La Fresa Francesca: 59 W. Third St., Hialeah
It’s the safest place to be during a hurricane
Don’t waste your time trying to find love in a South Beach nightclub. If you’re looking for a man with a hint of Latin macho swag combined with a solid moral upbringing and strong familial values, head to the City of Progress and hit up The Bend or old reliable Flanigan’s. Everybody in Broward is doing it.