Name: Marie Mineo
Occupation: Specialty Food Sales Rep.
Lives In: Miami
Restaurant Pick: La Camaronera
Reviewed La Camaronera : January 1th, 2009
I have been to La Camaronera several times and love to recommend this long time Miami secret to friends. The fish is always fresh and deep fried to perfection. La Camaronera in one Miami’s long time best kept secrets. They keep it simple, fresh and delicious. This is a casual fish market that is only open form 8am to 5:30 Mon thru Sat and 10am to 4:00 on Sundays, so plan your day early so you can savor the delicious grouper soup or the delicious fried shrimp that is so crispy on the outside without being overly breaded, and so tender on the inside. Then feast upon the crispy grouper fillet that can feed three people. Parking is a little tricky but completely worth it. Go and experience what Miami is all about at La Camaronera.
Name: Chris Bromfield
Occupation: Computer Consultant
Lives In: Miami Gardens
Restaurant Pick: Sublime
Reviewed La Camaronera: January 8th, 2009
I went with a friend of mine this past Thursday arriving around 2:00pm. Little Havana is known as being somewhat difficult to navigate and it’s quite easy to miss the restaurant which is tucked in the inner corner of an L-shaped shopping plaza on West Flagler. A small parking lot lends to parking problems but as luck would have it, the only available spot was right in front of the restaurant/market. A very ethnic atmosphere greeted me as we entered along with the pungent raw smell of fish and seafood. The fish market after all is set to the rear and the vats of boiling oil are almost at the front of a very small restaurant. Stand and eat only counters were clearly by design, catering to the reminiscence of indigent tropical island establishments.
This place caters to the Caribbean lunch crowd who has not lost touch with their roots and is comfortable with such a humble, yet rich in heritage, establishment. My friend, who speaks better Spanish than I, took the lead in talking to what turned out to be, one of the owners, standing behind the glass cooler. Inquiring as to the menu and preparation options, he directed us to his grandson who spoke perfect English. He was very friendly and helpful, allowing us to choose the fish we wanted from the cooler and having it prepared before our eyes. We chose to share a two pound whole Hog Snapper.
While we were waiting, we sampled a couple appetizers, the Huevas Fritas – Fried Fish Roe, and he allowed us to sample the Bollitos de Carita – Black-eyed Pea Fritters. The Huevas Fritas comes from the Mahi Mahi and is fried crispy, while the Black eyed pea fritter is also fried. I could feel my arteries cringing at what I was about to ingest. My friend, who happens to be a dietician at Aventura Hospital, made a gallant attempt to remove as much oil from the fritter and fish roe, as she could, then we chased each bite with a squirt of lime juice to help deal with the oil. I’m sure the taste of the fried roe appeals to those who have acquired the taste, but as for my palate, it was going through its worst nightmare. Adorning the counter was bottles of various sauces – tartar, hot, ketchup, and even their home made really, really hot sauce (use with caution). But no amount of sauce could correct this. As we were contemplating whether to sue WPBT or sue the restaurant for abuse of the taste buds, our chosen fish was presented before us fried to a crisp, along with a plate piled high with arroz con pescado (yellow rice with chunks of fish).
Soy oil is used for the frying, which is among the healthier choices for frying, but my arteries were cringing at the prospect of consuming so much oil. Nevertheless, for Check Please, I was prepared to make the sacrifice. The fish was crispy on the outside, but moist and tender through the bite. It’s amazing, but frying does make things taste really good, due to the fact that the oil distributes the flavor so evenly and permeates the meat. It tasted really good. As someone who tries to eat as healthy as possible, the conflict I was having at eating so much fried food was slowly giving way to the taste of the fish. Hog Snapper, is one of the most succulent and meaty Snapper fish available and La Camaronera did it proud in the most unhealthy way. But who’s counting calories? We just couldn’t stop devouring the succulent fish, like fish junkies. The yellow rice with fish chunks needed some work. It was dry and not very tasty and the fish chunks were a little on the hard and bland side and did not compliment the fried fish. Maybe we should have gone with something fried. Canned drinks were available to help the rice go down but of course, I chose bottled water which was also available. It didn’t take too long before the fish was gone, and common sense started to return. After all the calories of that fish due to the oil, dessert was definitely out. Besides, my feet were getting a little tired from standing.
The price was really good, extremely affordable, and the value is there, even though you’ll “pay for it” in the long run. An out of the way, hidden ethnic gem, La Camaronera will definitely appeal to a reminiscent crowd seeking a touch of easy popular island cuisine. I’ll be sure to remember it if ever the cravings return, and I’m unable to suppress them.
Name: Briana Abittan
Occupation: TV Reporter
Lives In: Weston
Restaurant Pick: Il Toscano
Reviewed Sublime: January 6th, 2009
My dining experience was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. For a moment, we felt like we were on vacation far away from Florida.
Upon first receiving the list of restaurants that I was going to have the opportunity to experience, I knew that La Camaronera was going to be the most unique. I was so excited to see what it was about and did a little bit of research on my own. That was when I first discovered that this restaurant was also known as Garcia Brothers Seafood, and boy do I love seafood. I had noticed that they’d been in business since 1966, and I knew that this place wasn’t going to let me down. Using the navigation, my boyfriend and I made our way to downtown Miami , thirty-five minutes later we found this tiny establishment. A small hidden gem that I probably would never have come across had I not been sent to try it out. When we first walked in, we were a little bit confused about where to order and who to order from, but luckily a regular helped us out and gave us some suggestions on what to try. It was extremely casual and there were about seven cooks that just walked over to ask what you wanted while we parked at the ‘food bar,’ set up with a plate of limes, cocktail sauce, tarter sauce and ketchup. While taking a few glimpses of our fresh food made to order, I perused the tiny establishment. It was packed with locals on their lunch break catching a quick bite and others lined up at the seafood counter to purchase fresh fish, lobster and shrimp by the pound. The waiters were all very helpful and nice, though there was a bit of a language barrier. Though I can somewhat speak and understand Spanish, I made the smart decision to not embarrass myself at this authentic restaurant. My boyfriend and I decided to start off with the La Camaronera Sandwich, which was the breaded shrimp sandwich. It was a bunch of tiny breaded shrimp sandwiched between a Cuban type bread and topped with onions and this amazing spicy sauce. We washed it down with some Pineapple soda, which was a bit too sweet for my taste, but my boyfriend loved it! Then came the main event. The grouper was to die for! We had two huge pieces of lightly fried grouper and their yellow rice with fish bits and green plantains. I enjoyed the yellow rice, but didn’t really eat the fish bits, because I was too focused on the grouper dipped in a homemade tartar. The green plantains were great as well. I would traditionally choose to have the yellow plantains, but the green plantains were a nice salty touch to the dish. Just when we thought it was over, our server asked us if we would like some flan! Are you kidding? Of course! One of the most rich, amazing flans I have ever tasted. It was a tasty finish to an awesome lunch. That entire lunch was only $30 including tip for the both of us. It was a small price to pay for an authentic fresh experience. I would definitely recommend this hidden jewel and have already done so. We were disappointed that they didn’t have the cute Garcia Brothers matching t-shirts all of the employees were wearing for sale! We definitely would have bought one!
1952 West Flagler St., Miami, FL 33135
Phone: : (305) 642-3322
Type of Cuisine: Seafood, Cuban flavored
Signature Dishes: : Golden Fried Shrimp, Minuta Fish Sandwich, Grouper
Vegetarian Options: Yes
Alcohol Served: No
Corkage Fee: N/A
Bottle Limit: N/A
Monday – 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday – 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Wednesday – 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Thursday – 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m
Friday – 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m
Saturday – 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m
Sunday – 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Meals Served: All
Prix Fix Menu: N/A
Average Dinner Price Range (per person, full meal, tax, %15 gratuity, w/o alcohol):N/A
Average Lunch Price Range (per person, full meal, tax, %15 gratuity, w/o alcohol): $10.00
Payment Options: do you accept credit cards and if so, which ones? Cash only. ATM on premises.
Accept Reservations: No
Need Reservations: No
How far in advance do you require reservations be made: N/A
Accommodations for Children: N/A
Dining Style: Very casual
Disabled Access: Yes
Restaurant Size: 68 people
Accommodate Groups: Yes
Private Dining Room: No
Tables with Scenic Views: No
Outdoor Dining: Yes