El Palacio de los Jugos: Building on Palatial Juice in Miami

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Restaurant Sign Miami

El Palacio de Los Jugos is a local chain that started with juice and added Cuban food.

My red-eye flight from Los Angeles landed as the sun rose over Fort Lauderdale, and initial food thoughts on Thanksgiving weren’t of turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce. They were of roast pork, fresh juice and fried Cuban croquetas. My friend Ben knew just wear to find all three, at El Palacio de Los Jugos, which started as a juice stand more than 40 years ago on Miami’s interior, and has added elements that go beyond jugos naturales, including stalls devoted to meat and seafood.

The city has changed substantially in the past four decades, but El Palacio de los Jugos still has plenty of characters roaming its aisles, as evidenced by a gentleman in line who asked me if I got lost, since I apparently looked out of place amidst the rest of his Cuban expats. but I made it clear I arrived at El Palacio on purpose. He then went on to lament how Miami had gone from “heaven” to “hell,” but before he could identify the Satanic culprits, a counterwoman took his massive cheese order. He never responded, and left dejected, cheese in hand.

Juice Miami

Juices, poured from half-gallon containers and produced daily, include melon de agua, remolacha naranja zanahoria, mamey (pictured), guayaba, tamarindo, maracuya and more.

Fruit Miami

They also offer the option to JIY, juice it yourself, selling heaps of fresh fruit to take home.

Tamales Miami

Near the register, El Palacio de Los Jugos features a big pot of pork tamales.

Tamales Miami

Of course we had to buy two tamales, and they were good, possibly enriched with lard, most certainly studded with pork and wrapped in corn husks and twine.

They had stations with seafood dishes like rueda de cherna (grouper steak), spaguettis con camarones y salsa blanca (spaghetti with shrimp and white salsa) and muela de cangrejo frita (fried crab claws), another with meat, and a third with comfort food dishes like rabo encendido (oxtail stew), ropa vieja (shredded beef) and costilla de res (beef rib).

Cuban Food Miami

At the seafood window, we bought creamy fried bacalao fingers and vinegary hushpuppy-like fritters studded with peppers.

Cuban Food Miami

Fricase Cerdo ($7.99) involved big pork shoulder chunks that come apart in shreds, with brown crusts and a vinegar-licked onion topping.

Tender stewed squid tentacles and capes hosted zesty peppers, onions, tomatoes and more.

Peanut Butter Miami

Impulse buys continued at the register with the purchase of multiple peanut bars ($3 apiece), basically big bricks of slightly gritty peanut butter that had me licking the roof of my mouth like a dog.

El Palacio de los Jugos offered a warm welcome to Miami. It’s just a good thing there was so much time before my family sat down for Thanksgiving dinner, and that there was enough time to run during that span. El Palacio’s food was flavorful, but just about the only thing that’s light is their juice.

El Palacio de los Jugos: Building on Palatial Juice in Miami


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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