Pan con minuta, a fresh fish sandwich that is a common street food in Cuba, is the star of the menu served daily at La Camaronera Fish Joint and Seafood Market, a spot tucked away off Flagler Street in Miami’s Little Havana.
The sandwich, which features flash-fried snapper, raw onions and a secret red sauce on a Cuban bun – is a favorite, according to Yelpers and restaurant owners. Fried shrimp, seafood and rice, and empanadas are among other specialties.
Owner Dave Garcia, of Garcia Brothers Seafood Inc., said most of the seafood, including mahi-mahi, snapper, stone crabs and lobster, is locally sourced.
“We have guys who fish for us, but most of our fish comes from the Florida Keys,” Garcia said.
The family business started back in Las Villas, Cuba. The 11 Garcia brothers were born into a family of fisherman that caught, processed, and sold their fish.
“We had a cart where we sold pan con minuta and black-eyed pea fritters in Cuba near the market,” Garcia said.
The brothers started their business in the U.S. as a fresh fish market, processing plant and wholesaler in Miami. La Camaronera opened in 1973 as a fish market, and in 1976, they added deep fryers and U-shaped counters and began serving their seafood. The restaurant serves lunch Sunday through Thursday, and lunch and dinner Friday and Saturday. Take-out is also available.
The loud, casual environment welcomes tourists, families and regulars. Prices are reasonable – from $2.95 shrimp empanadas, $5.95 for Pan con Minuta, to the $15.45 pan-seared filet of fish chef special.
La Camaronera, at 1952 West Flagler St., Miami, opens at 10:30 a.m. Monday through Friday. Garcia’s cousins own Garcia’s Seafood Grille & Fish Market on the Miami River, where they also serve locally sourced seafood.