For a native Floridian, I (sadly) can’t say I’ve been to South Beach much, so I recently decided to head out there for lunch with a couple friends.
Bolivar* was the lunch spot. A little restaurant covering various LatAm (that’s Latin American, FYI) cuisines including Colombian, Venezuelan, and Peruvian, among others. The ambiance inside was pretty festive and fun… off to a good start so far!
I really like Colombian food, so I ordered the Bandeja Paisa, which is a traditional Colombian platter of char-grilled steak, crispy pork belly, caramelized plantains, red beans, fried egg, rice, and grilled corn cake. Sounds delicious, right? I was hooked by “platter,” and was totally looking forward to a mountain of food. Well, here it is…
The good: The steak (those pieces that look like charcoal rocks in the background, left), despite looking not very appetizing in the picture, was actually quite tasty and not too dry! I’d give it a fine-good. The pork belly in the foreground, left was pretty tasty too. Sadly though, after getting about two-thirds of the way through, the oil started settling in and I couldn’t quite finish all those delicious chunks. I’d give the pork belly a fine.
The all right: The fried egg, avocado, and rice were okay-fine. Nothing too special there, but I did think the egg was nicely presented, avocado fresh, and rice seasoned well/slightly. I guess that’s all I could really ask for with the basics.
The bad: The plantains unfortunately seemed to be overcooked in oil and get a below average rating from me. There were also only two pieces… And the red beans? The cup was a good size, but that didn’t make up for the temperature of the food. Who likes semi-cold, salty beans?! For sure not me! The corn cake tasted all right, but it was also a smaller portion than I was expecting. (You can see a corner of it in the right side of the picture above.)
Overall, for the price I paid for this meal ($17 w/o tax and tip), I wasn’t super impressed with the quantity of food, but did enjoy the meats. I may consider returning in the future if I’m in the area, but I’m sure there are also other restaurants in or around South Beach that are also worth checking out. Oh, and this restaurant automatically charges 18% gratuity for everyone, regardless of party size, so that left me feeling meh… could it possibly be a South Beach thing… ??
661 Washington Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33139