The problem with writing about something like a Cuban Milanesa de pollo or res is that it can become very samey.
For those of you who have never ravaged a Cuban Milanesa de pollo or bistec (steak), let me tell you just enough to get you started.
The Milanesa usually is available in pollo (chicken) or res (steak). It’s typically pounded thin, seasoned, breaded and then pan-fried.
The toppings should be swiss or mozzarella (I prefer el queso suizo aka swiss), ham, and a red sauce of some sort. The sauce can be anything from a type of marinara to a housemade sauce.
My earliest memories of eating a Milanesa were from the Latin American that was on Coral Way and 97th Avenue in the center of Westchester during the 80s.
If you’ve never had one of these fellas, there is one thing to remember, come hungry.
They are normally excessive in size, and your stomach has to come in prepared for it or at least with someone else to share it.
10 – LA ROSA
La Rosa near the Miami Airport makes the cut with its gigantic almost platter sized Milanesa de res (steak).
The breaded steak falls apart when you’re cutting it, but because of the size, you’d better eat quickly before the breading gets soggy.
This is a job for two people or for someone who hasn’t eaten in a few days.
4041 NW 7th Street
9 – EL EXQUISITO
This unassuming looking dish is a great Milanesa de pollo, and it’s from El Exquisito in Little Havana.
The breading is so light; it would easily fit into some soft Cuban bread to make a perfect sandwich.
WARNING: There is no sauce.
1510 SW 8th Street
8 – LATIN CAFE 2000
For a long time, I didn’t step foot inside of the Latin Cafe 2000 right near the Miami International Airport, but I ordered take-out and delivery religiously.
Now I’m all about going there to enjoy my meal hot and right out of their kitchen.
What I like about their Milanesa de Pollo is the thick crusty breading, which almost gives the flavor illusion of a sandwich once you bite into it.
Latin Cafe 2000
875 NW 42nd Avenue
7 – HAVANA HARRY’S
The only thing holding back Havana Harry’s Milanesa de bistec from making it into the Top 5 of this list is the use of mozzarella cheese instead of swiss, maybe a little crisping of the cheese.
The breaded steak alone is excellent and another great choice.
I might try asking for swiss on it next time and see what happens.
4612 S Le Jeune Road
Coral Gables, Florida
6 – MOLINA’S RANCH
Molina’s Ranch in Hialeah serves a Milanesa de res (steak), which hangs off of the plate.
I love the grated and crisped up cheese on the layers of cheese.
Yes, it’s ridiculous in size but with an equally ridiculous flavor to match.
4090 E 8th Avenue
5 – AIRPORT CAFE & LIQUORS
You’ve probably driven past Airport Cafe & Liquors in Miami Springs a bunch of times & thought to yourself; there’s no way it has good food.
The Milanesa de pollo (chicken) with its perfectly melted cheese is one of those dishes that will make you finally stop here and keep you coming back.
Airport Cafe & Liquors
4427 NW 36th Street
Miami Springs, Florida
4 – CARIBE CAFE
I’ve loved El Caribe near Miami International Airport since I first ate there when I was a kid.
The Milanesa de res (steak) was my original go-to dish here, but now I’m a Milanesa de pollo (chicken) convert.
Try them both, and you’ll see what I mean.
Caribe Cafe Restaurant
3965 NW 7th Street
3 – ISLAS CANARIAS CAFE
The Milanesa de pollo (chicken) is the Milanesa to get at Islas Canarias Cafe in West Kendall.
Sure, the steak one is good too, but there’s something extra special about the chicken version.
Good luck trying to get to those black beans & rice in the picture.
Islas Canarias Cafe
3804 SW 137th Ave
2 – ODALY’S DELIGHT CAFE
The Bistec ala Milanesa de pollo with Moros (black beans & rice) and tostones (fried plantains) from Odaly’s Delight Cafe are one of the most perfectly balanced Cuban lunches out there, and I’ve had quite a few.
Odaly’s Delight Cafe
9754 SW 24th Street
1 – LUIS GALINDO LATIN AMERICAN
I eat the Milanesa de pollo (chicken) and res (steak) at Luis Galindo Latin American in West Miami as if they’re going out of style.
I have eaten more Milanesas at this location than every other restaurant in South Florida combined!
The Milanesas always hold up well whenever I do take-out too which is a plus.
Luis Galindo Latin American
898 SW 57th Avenue
West Miami, Florida