This year I have been visiting restaurants that are closer to home. La Isla del Encanto is a place that I drive by almost daily but never really tried the food, except for some bacalaítos (cod fritters) that I picked up to go a while back. It was time to give their food a proper try.
Inside the restaurant was cozy, colorful and very welcoming with the aroma of food gently exuding from the kitchen door. The staff was all smiles, genuine smiles that made me feel at home.
We started with the Mofongo – mashed fried green plantains with garlic and pork crackling. I have always been intrigued by this dish, mostly because I did not see the charm in it – always too dry and hard to swallow. I decided to give it a go here, and it came with a little cup of chicken broth. Pouring the broth over the mofongo made it juicy and succulent. I now have a new respect for this sensational plantain delight.
The little one had the Churrasco Steak – it came with yellow rice with pigeon peas, plantains, and a house salad. She gave me a tiny piece of the meat to try, and it was delicious. The steak was massive, so she took half home. As revenge for her stinginess at the restaurant, I ate the whole thing while she was at a party that night, rice and all. It tasted even better because I stole it.
My dish was Camarones al Ajillo -shrimp in garlic sauce. I loved the presentation – the shrimp were served in a covered casserole, a surprise ready to be unveiled. And it was a surprise indeed – they were swimming in a pool of butter redolent of garlic. I lost all shame and picked up each shrimp by the tail and swallowed it greedily. This dish was loaded with flavor. Heaven!
The dessert was extraordinary – a combination flan and vanilla cake called Flancocho. Two of my favorite things in one bite? And with a cherry and whipped cream on the side? Could life get any better? What a beautifully tasting dessert.
Isla del Encanto is an especially enchanting restaurant with charming service and a super-homey vibe. It is absolutely worth a visit. They have a second location, Isla del Encanto II, which I want to visit soon. It’s not far away and will give me an excuse to scarf down another Flancocho.
Isla del Encanto I
12850 SW 120th St
Miami, FL 33186
305 234 1754