Dinner and a Show

Want Great Cuban Food With a Cuban Band Wailing Away? Calle 23 is Your Place.

I’ll be the first to admit that when I walk down Miracle Mile on a weekend during brunch time, I steer well clear of Calle 23’s brash atmosphere full of Instagram influencers downing bottomless mimosas and bouncing in their seats to the beats of a live DJ. That’s just not my scene. But Calle 23 on a weekend night? Even for those who don’t plan on staying up past 10 pm – and Calle 23 is open until 2 am on Fridays and Saturdays – it’s the place to be, especially because it’s one of the few live music venues in the city.

Dinner and a Show at Calle 23
Afro 23 Plays on the Weekend

First and foremost, however, Calle 23 – named after the famous street in Havana – is the only Cuban restaurant on Miracle Mile, doing its part to combine atmosphere and food with a new menu that pops with Cuban staples like croquetas, empanadas, and ropa vieja. The live music on weekend nights, meanwhile, is provided by the band Afro 23. On a Friday night, like the one when I visited, you can hear the sounds of jazzy salsa music drifting all the way down the 200 block of the Mile. Sitting inside, you might have to shout to be heard, but a seat at one of their outdoor tables is perfect for holding a conversation while listening to unexpectedly funky covers of hits like “This Love” by Maroon 5. It’s what the kids call “a real vibe.” Plus, a nice dose of culture.

The new menu was the reason for our visit, and in an effort to bring you the very best in dining reviews, I set myself to eating with all the gusto I could summon up – you’re very welcome for that, dear readers. We started with the croquetas del barrio and the papas bravas con chorizo, both on the Small Plates section of the menu. It’s hard to mess up a croqueta (no complaints there), but the papas bravas are what I’ll be coming back for. It’s deceptively simple: fry some potato cubes, add some Spanish chorizo and roasted garlic, and drizzle with an aioli sauce. Done. You could make it at home–but if you can make it as delicious as the Calle 23 version, please give me a call.

Dinner and a Show at Calle 23
Chuleta De Cerdo a La Guajira
 Calle 23
Callejera Churrasco

For our entrees, we went all in on the meat with the chuleta de cerdo a la guajira and the callejera churrasco, both of which were exceptional and did a great job of soaking up our drinks without ruining the buzz. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you how good the fries that came with the churrasco were because I skipped them entirely in order to eat as much pork and steak as physically possible. But it’s not like you’re coming to Calle 23 for the fries, right? The only thing we didn’t thoroughly enjoy was the flan de caramel; me, because I don’t like flan (please, don’t incarcerate me), and my date because “it was just too creamy.” So maybe don’t order the flan. But the rest of the menu? Muy bueno.

Calle 23 Miami

230 Miracle Mile