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“Mixed feelings”
Review of El Carajo

El Carajo
Ranked #73 of 4,395 Restaurants in Miami
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Spanish
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Reviewed March 6, 2014

The unique location make you appreciate the décor of the restaurant, but it doesn't really make up for the uneven food. We showed up on a Friday evening without reservations, which I don't recommend. However, they gave us a table with the understanding that we would be gone in an hour! However, they didn't tell the waiter that information, so he was not as attentive as he could have been. Also, he seemed put out that we just wanted tapas and not a full dinner. Anchovies ($9) dressed simply were delicate and good. Chorizo in red wine--an ample portion ($7.50), was tasty but not the best I've ever had, the Spanish omelette ($3.50) was disappointing. A large serving, but in no way like my own or what we had in Barcelona...the potatoes were not as thinly sliced and there was too much egg. The lobster empanada ($4.50) had nice chunks of lobster and the dough was savory. The Fufu (mashed plantains with crab-$10) was okay. My husband liked it, I thought it was bland. I also ordered fried chickpeas ($7) and was surprised that they came in a red sauce with chorizo. That too was tasty enough, but not what I expected. We ordered dessert to go from the bakery case in the gas station, and the quality was excellent. A mango guava cheesecake and a coconut/tres leches/honey cake was fantastic. I

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Thank travellerfromatown
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 23, 2014

Went for lunch for a third time and had the Salmon al Horno en Salsa De Mariscos - 18
Fresh Salmon Broil in Mix Seafood, Tomato Sauce. Came with asparagus and other veggies.

It was delicious! They open for lunch at 11:30 AM and the place has their following.

They also have a wide selection of wines to purchase. Plenty on the menu for the budget minded or not, for the hungry and not so hungry as well.

Will visit again.

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Thank M G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 31, 2014

We have been hearing about this restaurant for quite some time and finally we made it there on MLK weekend. WOW! What a meal! First let me point out that this is a very small but very popular restaurant so reservations are highly recommended unless you want to wait in a gas station convenience store for a while. That being said, we didn't have reservations and planned to sit at the bar and order there but when we told them we had driven for five hours to get there, they told us to wait a bit and then they found us a table within 15 minutes. We ordered several tapas dishes we have tried in Spain and they were just as good here as they were over there. The patatas bravas, chorizo al vino, tortilla espanola, piquillos rellenos were all excellent. The sangria was very good too. We shared a flank steak which was as good as any other, For a restaurant in the back of a gas station convenience store, this was an amazing find! No complaints from us. Looking forward to our next trip down to Miami, we will definitely call ahead and make reservations next time.

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Thank HildaMD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 26, 2014

Definitely one of the most interesting gastronomic experiences in my life. From a visual standpoint, this is a winner. You arrive at a run down gas station and you cannot believe there in a restaurant even close. Go in. There is a bizarrely inviting dining area behind the convenience store facade. It as if some Cuban wise guys where trying to hide a secret dining establishment. It is so bizarre, that you feel it must be great...The menu is very inviting...starts off with a scroll presentation with a mixture of tapas and main courses. We were so excited, we tried many dishes...Ceviche, fried calamari, croquettes, soup, etc. All very beautifully presented...and then the illusion ended...we ate.

Ceviche had an odd orange taste (isn't ceviche supposed to be lime-flavored?). The calamari was the same consistence as the Bubble Yum gum at the convenience store check out counter. Campbell's chicken soup is far better than the El Carajo version. The flank steak was good, but not enough to save the rest.

Our server was a very pleasant chap. Probably more suited to be a Citibank trainee than a waiter. We asked to chill the wine twice, not attended. He was more interested in talking to his bartender friend than attending the few customers who were present. Then the bill comes with 18% tip included plus a $10 corkage fee. We ordered a $60 bottle of wine and he didn't serve it the way we wanted...18% at a gas station + $10 corkage? We should have got a free tank based on the quality of the service.

Concluding...on the back of the menu, the management talks about the meaning of the expression "el carajo". In spanish, I believe all know the slang meaning of the expression. I was interested to see that the origin of the expression comes from the lookout position on the top of the mast of the Spanish caravels ships. As is stated on the back of the menu, the "Carajo" became know as a post were sailors were sent to be punished due to its unenviable consequence to create extreme sea sickness. As such, "vayase al carajo" became a negative expression. However the management lauds that this new El Carajo recaptures the original meaning of the word...discovery, excitement. For me, the punishment-based definition best describes this establishment...

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3  Thank Knownews
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 16, 2014

This place was recommended in the Lost Planet guide to Miami. It truly deserves all the good reviews. We didnt think we had arrived at the right place as it was just a petrol station (gas station - we are British!) the manager was excellent and the food to die for. Can't recommend it enough

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Thank 888sar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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