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El Buen Sabor Mexican Restaurant Adds Spice to Calle Ocho

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Above: From left to right, Adriana Juarez, Rosaura Herrera, Carla Ortega and Eduardo Cali.

Finding decent tacos in Miami has never been an easy task. In fact, it was only up to a few years ago that the only place to find authentic Mexican food was down in Homestead, which has long been home to a Mexican community.

Over the last few years, however, more Mexican restaurants have been springing up all over Miami; from the down-home Mexican fare where you can order tongue tacos for a buck to the upscale taco restaurants where they prepare guacamole at your table for a mere $13.

As a Miami native who spent eight years in the Southwest, including stints in Southern California, Arizona and New Mexico where I lived 30 miles from the Mexican border, I’ve been having a lot of fun trying these places out.

On Thursday, I discovered what might be the best tacos in Miami.

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Above: $5.95 plate of tacos.

Of course, I’m going to have to conduct more research before I make a final determination, but El Buen Sabor in Little Havana served me some of the best tacos I’ve ever had in Miami.

My two lunch companions and fellow Miami Beach 411ers, Gus Moore and Matt Meltzer – both who were born and raised in California, which has never lacked decent Mexican food – agreed with me.

“It manages to be both authentic and light, which is almost an impossible task with Mexican food,” Matt said. “And for $5.99, you get three giant tacos. You can’t beat it.”

Gus said: “I have been to hundreds of taco joints and Mexican restaurants in my life and this was really a good place.

“I haven’t found many good Mexican restaurants in Miami. Overall, the restaurant is very clean. The quality of the food is really good. The meat was seasoned perfectly.”

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Above: Gus Moore and Matt Meltzer hanging on Calle Ocho in front of what quickly became our favorite taco joint

One-year anniversary

El Buen Sabor, located on Calle Ocho, 1610 S.W. 8 St. to be exact, is celebrating its one-year anniversary today.

They will celebrate with mariachis from 9-10 p.m. during tonight’s Viernes Culturales festival where I plan on attending, so I will probably return for a second taco tasting to further my research. This could take a while because then I’m going to have to try out the other places to make an honest comparison.

This family-owned restaurant, which can easily be missed if it weren’t for the giant Mexican flag hanging outside, is one of at least three authentic Mexican restaurants on Calle Ocho, which used to be known solely for its Cuban food.

However, over the last several years, the area has drawn a more diverse range of Latin American immigrants, which in turn, have opened a more diverse range of Latin American restaurants.

Family is from Toluca, Mexico

Owners of El Buen Sabor hail from Toluca, Mexico, which is just outside Mexico City.

“We make everything fresh here,” said Carla Ortega, the matriarch of the restaurant. “We don’t even have walk-in freezers.”

We started lunch off with chips, salsa and guacamole. It took a few minutes for the guacamole to come out, but that is because they were preparing it fresh.

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For that, we paid $4.95.

Then we each ordered a plate of 3 tacos for $5.95. I had two carne asada tacos and a carnitas taco. Matt and Gus had a combination of carne asada and chicken tacos.

I also ordered a chicken enchilada in a spicy green sauce for $2, which I ended up taking home and reheating for dinner and it was excellent.

But it’s the tacos that have us raving.

Ortega said they cook the meat without oil, adding only salt and garlic and allowing it to cook in the meat’s own juices.

“Our concept is fresh, low-sodium, low-fat food cooked a la plancha (grilled on a metal plate),” she said.

“We’re also known for our vegetarian burritos and our shrimp and fish tacos,” she said.

Marcos Feldman, a Chicago native who has lived in Miami for eight years, has been eating at the restaurant since it opened up a year ago, replacing a Peruvian restaurant that had been there.

“This is the best Mexican restaurant on Calle Ocho,” he said. “It’s almost as good as what I used to eat back in Chicago.”

For me, this is just as good as I used to eat out west.

All photos by Carlos Miller

El Bueno Sabor
1610 S.W. 8 St., Miami, Fl. 33135
Phone: (305) 640-8224

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Above: Conversation came to a halt as we dug into our tacos

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Above: The tacos and guacamole left me full, so I took this enchilada home for dinner and reheated it. Delicious and spicy with pure white shredded chicken breast, even if I did overheat it by a tad.

Related Categories: Miami: Food & Restaurant News, Miami: Things to Do,

Carlos Miller is a featured writer at Miami Beach 411. He also operates Photography is Not a Crime, a blog about photographer rights, New Media and First Amendment issues.

See more articles by Carlos Miller.

See more articles by Carlos Miller

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8 Comments on

"El Buen Sabor Mexican Restaurant Adds Spice to Calle Ocho"

Mirna says:

Que Rico!! I love mexican food, I shouldn’t have seen these pictures this early. Now, I am craving tacos.

Posted on 03/25/2011 at 8:09 AM

Laura says:

Toluca or Tolupa?  Do they have tacos al pastor?

Posted on 03/25/2011 at 4:42 PM

Carlos Miller says:

Toluca. My bad. Just corrected it.

And yes, they do have tacos al pastor. $5.95 for three.

I may try that tonight.

Posted on 03/25/2011 at 4:46 PM

Doug says:

Wow, between this place and Hy Vong, Calle Ocho really attracts a diverse crowd!

Posted on 03/25/2011 at 5:56 PM

Christy says:

Those do look like great tacos!  I get similar ones in NJ from the taco truck..the chips and salsa look great too. They should open a second location on Lincoln and Washington where that horrible taco place, Chimosa is. http://www.chismosatacos.com/  Don’t even bother reviewing it! I’ve always wanted to try this place..but I guess because it’s off of Lincoln I always forget about it. http://www.tacontento.com/

Posted on 03/26/2011 at 11:56 AM

Mario says:

I ate there like a month ago, pretty good place. Great food.

Small world, Marcos happens to be a friend of mine from FIU.

Posted on 03/27/2011 at 6:04 PM

joselino says:

Great food lol

Posted on 12/18/2011 at 9:39 AM

Blackford Oakes says:

Ended up there after reading this article.

While there, I called Carlos Miller on the phone and put Cartla on the phone.
I negotiated that Carlos ger free tacos on his next visit.

Wonder if he ever took her up.

Ya.. the tacos were good.

Posted on 06/23/2012 at 7:39 PM

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