Authentic, Line-Out-The-Door Nicaraguan Food- Pinolandia (Little Havana)

I have a number of friends who are completing their two years in Teach For America and are moving elsewhere to teach, go to grad school, or do other jobs. I’ve been asking people what are some of their favorite spots that they’ve discovered over the last two years/places they’ll miss the most. One that came up for my friend Jess (one of my common adventure companions) is Pinolandia, which she says is her favorite of all the Latin cuisines in Miami.

Pinolandia is in Little Hanana and has super authentic Nicaraguan food. The line stretching out the door validates that for sure. There are only a couple tables inside so it’s usually best to plan on grabbing it to go. For a really long time it only took cash, but the woman in front of paid with a card. I’d still bring cash just in case. It’s also one of the places in Miami where I’d definitely recommend knowing Spanish or going with someone who does. Jess understands Spanish well enough and also has been there before so it wasn’t an issue really to order.

There are a number of meat dishes available to choose from including carne asada and chicken, as well some other beef dishes. Beyond knowing they was beef I didn’t know much else about the other dishes. I’d like to go with a Nicaraguan friend of mine and get more of a rundown. The main sides are arroz con frijoles (rice and beans together) and white rice. There are a lot of other different kinds of small sides to get. Jess and I both got the carne asada with the arroz con frijoles, maduros (plaintains), and queso frito. The queso frito is fried cheese and I would guess is made with flour so I wouldn’t recommend gluten-frees trying that.

The carne asada was tender and juicy and was just good steak flavor. There wasn’t really any spice on it besides perhaps some pepper and no sauce, but I really enjoyed it. Dishes like this have really made steak grow on me (always was more of a burger kind of kid). The arroz con frijoles was good (rice and beans really are one of my favorite dishes ever) and the maduros were sweet and filling as always. A friend of ours have gotten the chicken before and said it was really good so that’s probably something I will try next. Everything else looks good but I’d want to go with someone who knows Nicaraguan food well (since I do not speak Spanish well and that’s a must for asking questions at this restaurant).

Inside the restaurant but separate is a little store that serves drinks, including some really awesome juices. Jess and I both got passionfruit juice and it was delicious by itself and a great way to wash down the food.

I was very content after eating our food back in Brickell and will be a place I go again and take people if we want a really authentic Nicaraguan/Latin meal. To experience that authentic-ness and really good Nicaraguan food you need to try Pinolandia in Little Havana. It’s open 24 hours which could really come in handy for some late night food! A great thing recently added to the Bucket List and then quickly checked off!

The exterior of Pinolandia. Kind of squeezed in between some other buildings.
You get tons of food. Carne asada, arroz con frijoles (rice and beans), queso frito (fried cheese), and maduros (plaintains + slightly hidden in the upper corner).
The passionfruit juice you can grab at the little store inside

Pinolandia (119 12th Ave Miami, FL) 


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