Latest news about V&E (Vida and Estilo) Restaurant Group.

Best Of Miami® 2023

logo_New Times_Best Of Miami

Five VE Group concepts including Marabu, Havana 1957, PaperFish, Barsecco & Cortadito Coffee House are Reader’s choice New Times Best of Miami winners this year.


New Times, the trusted source of information about news, restaurants, music and the arts for more than 1 million monthly active readers, releases every year their Best of Miami® (in their own  words): “official guide to the best people, restaurants, bars, clubs, stores, music and more in Miami”


For another year, restaurants like PaperFish, Marabu & Cortadito Coffee House were awarded with Reader’s Choice while new additions include Havana 1957.


Taking a closer look to 2023 winners top favorites & uniqueness notes: 


Best Cuban Marabu

Skirt Steack

Leading the charts: Skirt Steak, Masas al Carbon, Ropa Vieja, Cubano & Vaca Frita.
Uniqueness Notes: Reputation is all about,  #1 of 2.7K in Miami.


Best Coffee House Cortadito


Cortadito Doggi

Leading the charts: Cortaditos & Cafe con Leche (Medium is king). 

Uniqueness Notes: Tale of two cities, Conventions & Cuban Bowls. 


Best Sushi PaperFish


Leading the charts: Signature Rolls

Uniqueness Notes: Ratings & Reviews 5.0 in TripAdvisor. 


Best Brunch Barsecco


Leading the charts: Brunch Unlimited Mimosas, Hookahs & Margaritas

Uniqueness Notes: Must-Have $7 Happy Hour MON to FRI  3 to 7 pm or SAT & SUN 4 to 7 pm.


Best Mojito Havana 1957

Mojito Havana

Leading the charts: Pollo Havana, Orquesta Cubana, Cubanos, Churrasco & Mojitos!
Uniqueness Notes: About 300 between Classic & Super Mojitos served daily.


Link to Winners  BOM 2023 

Cortaditos & Café con Leche

Looking at 12 months & over 270K guests visits at Cortadito Coffee House between Miami Beach & Coral Gables and specifically for the top two coffee ordered here is what we noticed:  35% of consumers ordered Cafe Con Leche while 20% had a Cortadito.

In the May edition of Food Business News, there is a dedicated ingredient trends story about boosting innovation with coffee & tea by contributing editor Donna Berry. The article provides interesting data about the innovation evolution and new trends that includes healthier options thru ingredients such as organic caffeine from green tea, green coffee & antioxidant boosts.

From feeling awake to part of a daily routine, helping to focus, relieve stress, coffee & tea are part of our daily lives. According to researchers mentioned in the article, natural caffeine has a longer and more consistent effect on mood and mental cognition vs synthetic caffeine while innovators are looking into coffee fruit juice & to include the  entire plant vs just the beans.

Cafe con Leche at Cortadito Coffee House is a go-to breakfast choice with options for milk from whole to almond, coconut & oat & temperature wise, frozen, Iced or hot as a choice.

As of Cortaditos, guests can always choose the type of milk, add extra shots of espresso & sugar or no sugar at all. 

As for recommendations, nothing to look at Cortadito reviews, here is one taken from Lauri N via Yelp that says:  “Chill vibe and great customer service! I ran over to grab some Cuban caffeine and wish I was visiting longer to try amazing looking food. Love the happy ambience- highly recommend a large cortadito with whole milk to get your day started!”

By. E Machado


Vaca Frita & Cuban Food



Menu Trends market research firm Datassential has Vaca Frita appearing on 0.3% of the menus in the US & is found equally in both, independent & chain restaurants with a notably +8% growth in the last 12-months. 

For VE concepts like Havana 1957 & Marabu, this menu item is a no-brainer, same as to anybody living in Florida, specially in Miami. And speaking of Havana 1957,  the almost a decade and a half location on the beautiful Espanola Way in South Beach has been listed as the Top 9 Vaca Frita in Miami spots by the prestigious culinary guide Infatuation.

Looking at items sold over the last 12 months, at the end of May, both Havana 1957 & Marabu have been serving about 20 flank steak Vaca Fritas per day & about 12 daily of Chicken, also a very popular item for the citrus onion sauce lovers. 

What about Ropa Vieja? Truth is that now officially in the Adoption cycle Ropa Vieja, according to Datassential, does appear in 0.6% menus with a slight decrease in 12-month growth charts. Ropa is widely popular as well as Havana 1957 & Marabu. Thing is that besides having them served as entrees, guests can also enjoy them in Tostones rellenos & Empanadas. 

Back to Vaca Frita, the wikipedia entry dedicated to this dish defines it as a Cuban dish of fried and shredded flank steak and translates into fried cow.

By. E. Machado


National Cocktail Day & the Menu Adoption Cycle

Cocktails & Menus.

Every year on March 24th we celebrate National Cocktail Day & today we pair our selections with the four stages of the Menu Adoption Cycle with some restaurant favorites across VE Restaurants in Miami & Las Vegas.

The first definition of cocktail appeared in a New York newspaper in May 1806: *”stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water & bitters“*. The legends around the origin of the name range from the french word “coquetier” which refers to glass bowls that were used for both purposes in the late 1700’s, to cockfighting stories in which winning rooster owners took defeated tails and stir their drinks in sign of victory (cock’s tail). The truth is that the origin of the word remains unknown.

What is a Cocktail? In the words of Mixologist Danilo Bolzovic, in his must-read book The Art of Mixology, Bars & Cocktails, Barkeep, *”A well-made cocktail should offer a symphony of flavors and each sip should unveil a new aroma“*.

To celebrate, we are also looking at the Menu Adoption Cycle (MAC), defined as the framework to predict food trend, that we cherish & follow at VE Group, totally agreeing that trends start at restaurants. The MAC has been created by market research firm Datassential and it establishes four stages:

1) Inception – New & Not So common to find
 –@Oh! MEXICO Restaurants









At Oh! Mexico in Miami Beach, the menu includes five varieties of Cantaritos, all made with Mezcal including Flor de Mayo, Paloma, the Smokey Watermelon (pictured), Mezcal Negroni & Chachalaca.


2) Adoption – Slowly and nicely growing on menus.
News Cafe
This cocktail appears in 2.2% of the Menus in the US and has grown +39% in the last 4 years. At News Cafe is prepared with Old Forester 86, Campari, Martini Rossi Sweet Vermouth


3) Proliferation – Grown & Popular, chain restaurants & almost everywhere.







Moscow Mule is currently in 10.7% of menus, with a 12–month growth of minus 8% and minus 6% in the last 4 years.
Found at Barsecco, Cafe Americano, Mercato della Pescheria & also at Paperfish.


4) Ubiquity – Everywhere, All the Time.
Some good examples are: Mojito (pictured), Margarita, Rum & Coke, martini, daiquiri, pina colada.

Take Mojito, for example,  which is more common to find on regional chains like Havana 1957.
This cocktail is presently on more than 20% of menus & it has experienced a -3% growth in the last 12-months.
This cocktail is a Top Seller – @Marabu / Brickell City Centre in Miami.

Let’s get ready for the weekend, the cocktail way.

By. E Machado
Photo credits @Verestaurants


Havana 1957 Wins: Best Sandwiches of America

This seems to the year of Latin influences in the sandwich category restaurant menus, Latin connecting with innovation & creativity.

Without a doubt, Restaurant Hospitality’s Best Sandwiches annual competition is one of the most expected, where independent operators have the opportunity to submit their sandwich candidates. RH’s editors evaluate based on looks, description, uniqueness notes & ingredients. Editors spot the trends across the nation and select the winners in America, a slideshow that every chef gets to look at for one year when they need inspiration for their menus. 

One of the notable trends for 2022 is the Latino influences that mix Cuban with Mexican or Brazilian, like Havana 1957, Chef Yunior Perez, one of  the winners and editorial mentions of the year.

Chef Yunior, born and raised in Havana, Cuba where he went to culinary school, moved to Miami in 2015 & joined VE Restaurant Group with the Havana 1957 concept in 2018. Promoted to Sous Chef in only two months on the job, he is now the Executive Chef in South Beach, at the Hotel Breakwater location in Miami Beach. 


Chef Yunior’s mantra: Elige un trabajo que te guste y no tendras que trabajar ni un dia en tu vida” aka Get a job that you love so you dont have to work a single day in your life”.
When you love your work, it does not feel like working at all.

For the head turning El Guapo aka The handsome , Yunior’s inspiration are Latin America roots, flavors, culture & Cuban Sandwich, the famous sandwich with a wikipedia entry. I have to specially thank Chef Juan Luis Rosales, Concept Chef Havana 1957 & Corporate Chef Alex Medina for their support & expertise when creating El Guapo” – said Chef Perez.

The Cubano-style sandwich El Guapo, proud with flavors from Latin America, has roasted picanha beef, cream cheese chimichurri sauce, guacamole and roasted tomatoes pressed in Cuban bread topped with butter.

Find Best Sandwiches of America in 2022 HERE.


By. E. Machado

If you like Pina Colada

Travel + Leisure mapped the most popular cocktails by State & Country using a UK swimwear study that analyzed keyword searches via Google. According to the Cocktail Report by PourMoi company, piña coladas top the list (with 2.3 million) in Florida and Hawaii, though in other six states including Nevada they came out as the most popular. Where else? New Jersey, Virginia, Arizona, Utah, and Illinois.

The origins: First mentioned as a cocktail dating back to 1952, always associated with summer, beaches, vacation & tropical, Pina Colada is also (and back to the Pour Moi study) the number two searched in US but also in Mexico, Russia & Egypt (speaking about 10.5 million global searches).

Mix & Match, July 10th every year we celebrate National Day so let’s take a look at the great variety of pina coladas based on our guests preferences:


Traditional & Classy – Summer trends.In the Top 10 of favorite drinks for guests spending Un dia en la Habana, Pina Colada consumption during Q1-2022 was about 38 cocktails / day but since June 1st it the number has increased +8 every day.
Hey Bartender! The average number of this cocktail per day in Havana 1957 is 43.
Ingredients: House piña colada mix and Bacardí Superior Rum.



Popular & Iced. All year favorite.Between Miami Beach & Las Vegas, over 12K guests have enjoyed Pina Colada during 2022.
Hey Bartender! The average number of this tropical cocktail per day at the Latin twist of a Classic American fare is over 60/ day.


Virgin Pina Colada

Free lovers have always enjoyed this mocktail at Havana 1957.
How many per day? About 20

Want to check the Full Cocktail Report?

Best Brickell Sushi Bar

One Sushi Bar Lifestyle

If someone ever needs a reason to eat more sushi: International Sushi Day is being celebrated on June 18. Though apparently, in Brickell Miami, sushi days are any /every day.

As of 2022 there are about 16K Sushi Restaurants in the US, according to consulting company IbisWorld with States like California, New York & Texas seeing the most number of sushi / Japanese cuisine locations.

Back in Miami & according to Travel Guide TripAdvisor, there are 233 Japanese, Japanese fusion & sushi restaurants from Homestead to Boca Raton.

Ranking #1 is PaperFish Sushi Bar, which is celebrating one year anniversary in Miami & a soon to open sister location on Espanola Way in the summer, so for international Sushi Day we decided to take a look at visitors’ preferences.

Looking into 53K restaurant visitors year to date, we combined two categories: top sellers & the most-ordered menu items. No, not necessarily the same list, though some obvious & delicious duplicates.

Here are the Mid Year WINNERS:

Best ALL Categories:




Crispy Rice



Most Popular: Acevichado



Ranking in 10: Hot Truffle



Salmon Wins:

Furai is # 8/10 top seller. PaperfishSushiBrickell_SalmonFurai


Salmon Aburi is Top 3 in Popularity.


Right in the Middle: Gyoza a la Nippon

Paperfish Sushi Brickell_Gyozaala Nippon


Seller & Popular: Misuna (Photo), PF Bao, Hamachi Jalapeno


Call me Popular: Hand Roll & Edamame (photo)



BEST SPECIALTY! is Thai Rice Kamameshi.

Last but not least, an amazingly logical discovery:
50% of both Top Sellers & Popular items are SIGNATURE dishes.
While  50% of Top Sellers are also Signature Cocktails. WAY TO GO!

By E. Machado.
Let us know what you think:

VE Restaurants offering Heroes Vodka specialty cocktails in Miami Beach

About 20 participant restaurants in Miami Beach, of which 11 part of Vida & Estilo Restaurant Group are celebrating Military Appreciation Month with FIVE specialty cocktails on the menu with veteran-owned Heroes Vodka during Memorial Day weekend festivities.

The Hyundai Air & Sea Show is taking place in Miami Beach May 28 & 29 with a variety of land & air demonstrations & activations like a fireworks extravaganza, a Saturday night concert with rock band 3 Doors Down. Link to All Events for Hyundai Air & Sea Show

Activities to honor veterans and the armed forces also include the 5th Hyundai Air & Sea Show “National Salute to America’s Heroes” event on Espanola Way on Friday, May 27 from 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm & hosted by Espanola Way Association.

During the event, guests and the public can meet members of the armed forces and thank them for their service all while enjoying the pedestrian only street lined with great restaurants and cafes & a live performance by the official US Army Band playing the latest and greatest

About The Salute to Heroes Cocktails here is a quick guide to participant restaurants.

Check full list of participants HERE

Havana 1957 Breakwater Hotel / 940 Ocean Drive
Cafe Americano / 1144 Ocean Drive
Havana 1957 / 1410 Ocean Drive
La Cerveceria de Barrio / 1412 Ocean Drive 

Mercato della Pescheria / 412 Espanola Way
Havana 1957 / 405 Espanola Way
Oh! Mexico / 1440 Washington Ave

Havana 1957 / 819 Lincoln Road
La Cerveceria de Barrio / 836 Lincoln Road 

CAfe Americano / 1776 Collins Ave

About the Heroes vodka Cocktails that will be available thru participant restaurants.

Heroes on the Beach:

○ 1.5 oz Heroes Vodka

○ 2 oz Cranberry Juice

○ 2 oz Orange Juice

○ 0.5 oz Peach Schnapps

○ and Lemon garnish


  • Special Forces:

○ 2 oz Heroes Vodka

○ 1 can of Red Bull Energy Drink


  • No Guts, No Glory

○ 3 oz Heroes Vodka

1 oz Dry Vermouth

○ 0.5 oz Olive Juice

○ Olives garnish


  • Heroes Paradise:

○ 1 oz Heroes Vodka,

○ 5 oz Tonic Water,

○ 2 oz Orange Juice

○ Orange slice garnish


  • Proud Mary:

○ 1.5 oz Heroes Vodka

○ 2 tsp. Lemon Juice

○ 0.5 cup Tomato Juice

○ Worcestershire sauce to taste

○ Tabasco sauce to taste

○ 1 Stick celery garnish

○ 1 Lemon wedge garnish

There is no better time than Memorial Day weekend to pay tribute to our military, First Responders, and those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of our freedom,
Posted by Mickey Markoff, National Salute to America’s Heroes Executive Producer.


Opentable Diner’s Choice Award 2022

CONGRATULATIONS! Marabu, Havana 1957 & Mercato della Pescheria as OpenTable diners have voted these VE concepts among the best choices this year.


In Brickell, the absolute winner is Marabu at Brickell City Center where staff recommends the Passion Fruit Mojito as one of the bests in the area & that according to reviewers about staff “certainly did not lie”. Among the top choices for Opentable diners, the red snapper entree is described in capital letters as “EXQUISITE” and so the cuatro leches dessert according to CarlosM who visited in May.
# Open Table reviews 180. Overall Rating 4.5

Havana1957 La Orquesta Cubana

When in Miami Beach, just one happy note about how 30% of Top 10 choices are pointing to the Best Cuban no doubt with Havana 1957 Espanola Way, Lincoln Road & Ocean Drive as all three locations feature in the Top 10 Diners Choice Winners. See List.
OpenTable reviewers speak highly about the Cuban Sampler aka La Orquesta Cubana & according to JordanP review from April: “…The Cuban Sampler really gives you a bang for your buck and allows me to get a feel for Cuban cuisine…”
# Open Table reviews 913. Overall Rating 4.5


Last but not least, also in Miami Beach, Mercato della Pescheria on Espanola Way, where Italian meets Seafood in a market-style exhibition & experience, is another VE recipient of this important award & included in the Top 10 Diners choice winners as Best Italian. See List.

About top favorites by OpenTable diners, the number 1 is jumbo shrimp scampi, followed by the Mediterranean seabass, the octopus & linguini frutti di mare, these two as described by guest CAttard during his March visit this year: “…Fantastic Italian in South Beach! We enjoyed the grilled octopus and frutti di mare with a half lobster on top..” What else happens at Mercato? The excellent wine pairing recommendations by our savvy staff.
# Open Table reviews 380. Overall Rating 4.6

By E.Machado
Comments? Send us an EMAIL

Our Best Cinco de Mayo in South Beach

By E. Machado

With CINCO around the corner, let’s take a quick look at the best Mexican restaurants in Miami Beach that will be celebrating the Batalla de Puebla, the Mexican army’s May 5, 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War.

First we looked into TripAdvisor Top 10 Mexicans & the reviewers recommendations, then selected Three from the list that will feature Mariachis starting at 6pm.

We also checked Google ratings & what food expert firm Datassential got to say about 50% of the people preferring Mexican food not cooked at home.

Here is our very own selection at the places in South Beach with one common denominator, they are ALL part of Vida & Estilo Restaurant Group portfolio



WHERE. La Cerveceria de Barrio, 836 Lincoln Road. Directions.
TripAdvisor Ranking #3
Google Rating 4.2*
Reviews Accumulated 1.8K+
Review Highlights: “Great Spot… fantastic service” & also “Amazing Service
TRY ON CINCO: Aguachiles
Known as Mexican style ceviche, it has serrano pepper, fresh citrus marinated Gulf shrimp with cucumber & red onion. It is spicy! though also available in a lighter version that does not have any picante. Price. $16
What else Aguachiles? Black Aguachiles with burnt serrano pepper, red onion and garlic, lime juice, Maggi sauce, Worcestershire sauce and cucumber.
DRINK CHOICE: Cantarito Reina de Mayo & Chachalaca
Ingredients: Moradito-Ojo de Tigre mezcal, fresh blueberries, lime juice, simple syrup and lime soda. Price $16.
CINCO MARIACHIS. From 6 to 8pm
BOOK your Table










WHERE. La Cerveceria de Barrio, 1412 Ocean Drive. Directions.
TripAdvisor Ranking #4
Google Rating: 4.2*
Reviews Accumulated 1.2K+
Review Highlights: “Excellent food & Service
TRY ON CINCO: Molcajete Mixto
Shareable? Absolutely. This lava rock bowl is filled with green tomatillo sauce, skirt steak, chicken breast, Gulf shrimp, bell peppers & Panela cheese served with homemade corn tortillas. Price $48 (serves two)
What about Spicy? Try Tostadas de Camaron Toreado, a Crispy Corn Tortilla, shrimp marinated in lime juice, Serrano pepper, red onion, Maggi sauce, Worcestershire sauce and avocado. Price $16
DRINK CHOICE: Classic Margarita. Price $16
BOOK your Table









WHERE: OH! Mexico, 1440 Washington Avenue. Directions.

ABOUT: Celebrating 25 years of Vida & Estilo first restaurant in Miami Beach.
Reviews Accumulated in TripAdvisor, 2.1K+
Review Highlights: “Amazing Margaritas & Fajitas
TRY ON CINCO: Fajitas Mixtas chicken, steak, shrimp & veggies with Refried black beans, white rice, guacamole, sour cream and warm tortillas. Price $36
Drink Choice: La Vieja Margarita.  It is part of the Classic on the rocks selection and features Herradura Añejo, quality premium triple sec, fresh lime juice and organic agave nectar.
Price $18
CINCO DEAL. Beer Buckets 4 x $20 12pm-5pm & Mariachis from 6-8pm
BOOK your Table