Five best Dominican dishes in South Florida

Variety of Dominican dishes. (Courtesy of Mariana Abreu, Puritas Restaurant)

The foods of the Dominican Republic are among the many cuisines the Latin American community offers to South Florida. 

Dominican food is influenced by African, Spanish, Taíno Indian and Middle Eastern cultures, using milder spices than their ancestral cuisines. Looking at a menu can be overwhelming for those inexperienced with the food, so here are the best options for those with a curious palates.

 

A chimi at Llego El Sabor. (Courtesy of Tito Gomez, manager)
  1. Llego El Sabor 
    18505 NW 75th Place, Hialeah
    (786)-360-2430
    Sunday – Thursday: 11 a.m. – 11:30 p.m.
    Friday – Saturday: 11 a.m. – 1 a.m.

    Better known as chimi among natives, this is a sandwich made with beef or chicken, topped with shredded cabbage, tomato and salsa rosada. It is a popular street food in D.R. and a common find in restaurants in Miami. The chimi can be found for $8 at Llego el Sabor in Hialeah, where it is a customer favorite, according to manager Tito Gomez. The restaurant is known by locals for its fast-food style of meals. And it is now re-opened for dine-in.

Mofongo and churrasco at Puritas Restaurant. (Sergio Tamarit/SFMN)

Puritas Restaurant
7817 Pines Blvd, Pembroke Pines
(954)-842-4383
Monday – Thursday: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Friday – Sunday: 10 a.m. – 2 a.m.

Mofongo is made from fried green plantains that are mashed with garlic and mixed with fried pork cracklings. The churrasco is a grilled skirt steak cooked on a barbecue grill. The dish is often considered Puerto Rican, though herbs and spices used in the D.R. such as oregano, sofrito and cilantro distinguish them from their P.R. counterpart, said Mariana Abreu, co-founder of Puritas Restaurant & Lounge in Pembroke Pines. The mofongo can often be served with chicharron (pork cracklings) or longaniza (sausage). It’s a filling meal sold for $20 at Puritas, so come hungry.

Personal picadera at La Yarumba Restaurant. (Sergio Tamarit/SFMN)

La Yarumba Restaurant
4740 NW 167th St, Miami Gardens
(305)-622-9700
Sunday – Saturday: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.

The word regionally means snacks, this is a mixed sampler platter of fried cheese and salami, longaniza (sausage), and chicharron with tostones served on the side. With several meat options per plate, this is a must for any meat-lovers out there. It’s often shared among groups as an appetizer, though some restaurants offer personalized portions. The cost of a picadera for three to four people is $30, while a personal platter costs $12. 

A plate of Mangú con tres golpes at El Nuevo Amanecer. (Sergio Tamarit/SFMN)

Nuevo Amanecer Cafe
3553 W 76th St
Hialeah Gardens
(786)-332-2569
Monday – Saturday: 6 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Sunday: 7 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Nobody makes mangú but Dominicans. It’s a dish made by boiling plantains and mashing them with butter. The butter gives it the appetizing flavor and without it, you may think you’re on a diet. The tres golpes (three hits), with fried cheese, eggs and salami is a breakfast favorite. Some restaurants sell them all day like El Nuevo Amanecer or Mangu Cafe, both in Hialeah Gardens. A plate sells for under $10 at the local neighborhood restaurant. 

A plate of Dominican sancocho. (Sergio Tamarit/SFMN)

El Rincón De Papa Restaurant
7250 W 24th Ave, Hialeah
(305)-820-1700
Monday – Tuesday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Wednesday – Thursday 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Friday 8 a.m. – 12 a.m.
Saturday 8 a.m. – 2 a.m.
Sunday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Seen all over Latin America, sancocho is considered a national dish in the Dominican Republic. This broth is made with blends of different meats, potatoes, corn, cassava and mixed with white rice. Sancocho is found in every Dominican restaurant in South Florida with variants such as sancocho de siete carnes, which includes seven different types of meats, habichuelas (beans) and gallina (hen). Older generations favor the dish and continue to convince younger people that it’s the best.

Sergio Tamarit is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism with an interest in investigative reporting and social sciences. A pop-culture media fan, he hopes to work for a major broadcasting network in the future. He loves to get out of his comfort zone.