Cuban food in Florida is off-the-charts delicious. Outside of mainland Cuba, I’d brag that we have the best Cuban food on earth. A few years ago, I served as culinary lead for the South Beach Wine and Food Festival in Miami. Sure, it was fun cooking alongside celebrity chefs and meeting throngs of stars who attended the event, but my favorite thing about Miami was the abundance of authentic Cuban dishes right at my knife tips.
Thankfully, we now have some killer Cuban cuisine here in west St. Pete. Azúcar Cuban Café is one of the newest eateries to pop up, and here you can enjoy everything from cortados and café con leche to croquetas and quesito.
Classic Cuban Delights
Azúcar Cuban Café opened in August, and while they took a brief hiatus for a hot minute, they’re back in action serving all the classic Cuban delights. Azúcar is a tiny café, sporting only eight seats inside, so I advise taking your order to go. But this won’t cheat you on taste. The menu highlights all kinds of Cuban fare for a variety of tastes. Whether you want Cuban breakfast, a grab-and-go sandwich, or a whole plate of tasty eats, Azúcar is the place to go. I ordered the Cuban toast ($2.99) which was lightly pressed and buttered, along with the homemade breakfast empanada ($4.99) with eggs, sausage and cheese in hand-molded crust. The empanada was crispy and loaded with filling; think upscale breakfast Hot-Pocket. It’s definitely worth a try.
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In addition, I also tried the signature black bean soup ($4). The stewed black beans are laced with bacon and garnished with fresh green olives, giving the soup a slightly briny flavor that complements the creamy black beans. If you like cheese, I highly recommend the bolitas de queso ($5.99). The fried cheese balls are rich yet light, and they practically melt in your mouth. Each bite was gooey with a soft, cheesy center and lightly battered for a coating. I could have eaten an entire bucket of them. For a savory option, I recommend the fried plantain balls ($5.99) — sweet plantains stuffed with beef picadillo — yum.
But Wait, There’s More
No visit to a Cuban restaurant is complete without a café Cubano ($2.49) and Azúcar’s is sweet, strong, and will give you that morning jolt of energy. Pair it with a few croquetas de jamon ($.99 each) and you’ll be all set. If you stop by for lunch, Azúcar offers a combo meal with half a Cuban sandwich and a 12-ounce cup of black bean soup for only $12.99. I also recommend the lechon plato ($12.99) with pulled pork, onions, olives, riche, beans, and fried plantains. Regardless of what you order, you’ll love the authentic Cuban flavors.
If you’re like me and enjoy a touch of spice to your food, be sure to sample of Azúcar’s hot sauces. They offer both a verde and rojo sauce that will add sweet heat to any of your delicious delectables.