South Florida's Best Mojito
|miamism via Flickr Creative Commons|
1. Dada Restaurant & Lounge
Hip and eclectic, Dada remains one of the decidedly cool kids in Delray Beach's constantly updated dining scene. The hand-muddled mojitos come crammed with fresh mint leaves and are available in a variety of flavor infusions like mango, passion fruit, and raspberry. The bartender uses fresh fruit and a light hand with the sugar, so the flavor is sweet but not children's-breakfast-cereal-sugar-shock sweet.
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This posh Brazilian steak house is special-occasion pricey, but the meat-lovi ng mojito swiller will find this a place to satisfy cravings for both freshly carved proteins and freshly muddled mint. For times when a South American red wine hangs heavy on a muggy Florida summer night, the refreshing lightness of the expertly blended mojito can complement the skewered pork and beef paraded by your table.
3. Mario's Catalina Restaurant
The full-service bar at this high-end Cuban-Spanish restaurant specializes in mojitos and sangria, so don't hesitate to satiate your craving for freshly muddled mint with the Cuban classic. These suckers are on the strong side and can sneak up on you, so consider this fair warning as you make the decision on whether to go for that third (or fourth) round.
In the thick of the tourist traps adjacent to Fort Lauderdale beach, this reliable seafood joint has something to appeal to locals and out-of-towners alike. Stick with the traditional mojito ($9), or go for something with a bit of a "spring break '88" edge. You don't need to be on vacation to order one of the restaurant's mojito freezes ($8.50), available in the traditional flavor or mango. Or try the limoncello blend ($9) for something a bit more continental.
5. Havana's Cuban Cuisine
Though the pitchers of sangria get top billing on the house-specialty cocktail listing, don't overlook this neighborhood joint's take on the mojito ($7.95). The minty cocktail is a smart choice to wash down plates piled with rice and black beans, fried sweet plantains, and shrimp sautéed in a Creole sauce.
6. Cabana El Rey
The Delray Beach outpost of this small chain uses real sugar cane to sweeten its specialty mojitos. Though they can tend on the sweeter side than tolerated by some drinkers, the fruity flavor options -- coconut, strawberry -- will appeal to those looking for a tropical-isle vibe.
7. Bongo's Cuban Café
The Gloria and Emilio Estefan-helmed Cuban restaurant in the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood offers an extensive selection of mojitos, from a classic with Bacardi superior rum, fresh mint, lime, and sugar-cane juice to more involved versions incorporating fresh fruit like pineapple, mango, strawberry, or watermelon. Order by the glass or by the pitcher.
8. Kapow! Noodle Bar
Of the dozen or so herb-infused signature cocktails at Mizner Park's hippest happy-hour destination, the ginger mojito may be the most crisp and light. Made with Thai rum, fresh mint, and a ginger-infused simple syrup, this Asian-inspired take on the classic cocktail is a refreshing sip. Not too sweet and not particularly strong, it's easy to pound back a few of these in one sitting.
9. Lola's on Harrison
It would stand to reason that a restaurant that gets most things right -- Lola's is a past recipient of two Best Of awards -- would produce a memorable version of the minty cocktail so common in the subtropics. Go for the lavender-infused version if it's available, or stay low-frill and order straight up.
10. Sabor Cuban Continental Cuisine
A mojito is the go-to companion for the bargain-priced Cuban cuisine at this easily overlooked restaurant. The on-the-strong-side cocktails match the casual atmosphere and pair well with dishes like Cuban/Creole minced beef, stewed shrimp, ropa vieja, and other familiar fare.
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52 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach, FL