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More Than Just a Cart: La Carreta

Updated: Apr 12, 2020

Spanish for ‘the cart,’ La Carreta is more than just a restaurant, it’s a place of importance for the city of Miami. Self-proclaimed as “Miami’s Original Cuban Kitchen,” this place is full of people – both inside and outside. Whether you’re looking for cafecito right outside by the window or need a plate of mouthwatering food, La Carreta is so much more than just its food.

It’s also the place The Miami Herald reported about as one of the first places being open after Hurricane Irma hit. Phew. Thank goodness.

This restaurant is the epicenter of celebrations here in Miami. When the Miami Heat won back-to-back NBA championships in both 2012 and 2013, everyone flocked to the restaurant and its surrounding streets. Literally, the restaurant and streets were closed off. What were the people doing? Everyone donned their Heat jerseys and t-shirts with their pots and pans, music speakers, and flags to party with the city right outside La Carreta.

More recently, La Carreta, amongst other places, was the place for Cuban exiles and Cuban-Americans to celebrate the death of Cuban dictator, Fidel Castro. While the word ‘celebrate’ seems like a strong and perhaps incorrect word for the occasion, it’s exactly what the Cuban community in Miami was doing. For a whole weekend, La Carreta was the epicenter for people to cry and dance together with their Cuban flags and celebrate the passing of a man who murdered and tortured those against him – many of which ended up exiled in Miami.

I remember this night fondly – I was out with my friends and around 1 a.m., we all got the notification from the news about Castro’s death but we all thought it was a lie. Rumors of his passing have happened before, why wouldn’t this one be another? The second we saw the official video from Raul Castro, we all immediately went home to pick up our parents, cousins, friends, etc. My mom, cousin, and I were out at La Carreta until 7 a.m.

I didn’t even know my mom could party that hard.

To me, La Carreta is more than just the food (which is amazing). It’s about its history. It’s a great spot for that drunken night need to eat vaca frita or just pick up cafecito before going to work. It’s always packed and yet somehow, you won’t wait too long for anything.

If you say it’s someone’s birthday, they’ll bring out every instrument they have in the backroom and make sure you have a great celebration. See? This place is just full of parties!

They feature their own Carreta sandwich but, you’ll find anything Cuban food-related here. It’s a lot of food for a good price at a place that’s so Miami it hurts. There are several locations, but the one with all the parties is on Bird Road.

Either way, disfruta.

For locations, click here.

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