The flavors, textures, and home style goodness of Latin American food could convince the GLOB Master to go south of the border for lunch every darn day. My mission heading into Mi Apa was to have a very nice Meatless lunch. Unfortunately the carnivore in me saw a plate of giant chunks of roasted pork and any meatless thoughts in my head just vanished. The Mi Apa Arepas menu did have some interesting meatless lunch choices including a vegetarian Columbian and Venezuelan arepa. My lunch partner, Lynn Dirk, went vegetarian and picked the Columbian Vegetarian Arepa with mozzarella, mushrooms, tomatoes and green peppers but requested avocados in place of mushrooms. OMG was that a wise decision. The Columbian arepa is an open face-like sandwich where the ingredients are stacked onto a creamy, super flavored corn meal pancake. They also serve a Venezuelan Arepa where the corn meal patty is cooked to a light brown color and folded over the ingredients. Top the Arepas with a dollop of hot sauce and a serious dollop, or two, of mojo sauce and this is a yummy lunch. The GLOB Master ordered the roast pork and black beans and rice for lunch. OMG again! The roast pork just might be the moistest, tenderest, juiciest plate of pork to be found in the GLOB. We topped lunch off with an order of Sweet Plaintains that were cooked to perfection. Talk about a perfect – ALMOST meatless - lunch for two, and for less than $20!
Eyes, stomach open wide to small Latin cafe
I have heard many things about Mi Apa Latin Café. Located in the shopping center on the southwest corner of 34th St and University Ave., it is in a prime spot for plenty of traffic. Apparently, I was one of the few not stopping there until recently.
I was going to Corks and Colors with my roommate, Alyssa, to pick up some lovely coasters we had a chance to paint to beautify our new home (when I say beautify, keep in mind we are amateurs). In any event, we were on our way to get some ice cream when Mi Apa caught my eye. I realized I had never truly taken a look at the small Latin café, let alone walked into it. Even at a very late lunch hour around 3 pm, there were hungry customers bustling in and out.
Alyssa and I got to talking about sandwiches and desserts and before we knew it, our feet followed our mouths right to the restaurant. I was surprised that it was a sit down-style dining experience, as I would have pegged the very small location for an order-at-the-counter place. We opted to sit outside, and a server greeted us promptly. We ordered our drinks and perused the menu. Again, it was more extensive than I expected. Plus everything on the menu, from the delicious-looking breakfast sandwich to the pastries, looked extremely appetizing. There is a Mi Apa restaurant menu link below.
Our bellies sure took over as a shared bite to eat turned into a Latin-infused full blown lunch. We started with a beef empanada, which arrived on the table roughly two minutes after ordering. Again, I had expectations and figured that a location as this would have pre-prepared food items ready to just be warmed up. If so, this was still a very decent empanada. I remarked to Alyssa, "The crust tastes just like those crispy noodles you eat at Chinese food restaurants."
Alyssa (right) and I agreed that maybe one smaller item to share would be in order, but--once again--this meal was nothing we had planned for. Originally we were going to split the traditional Cuban sandwich, as my taste buds were craving the combination of savory meat, mustard, and Swiss cheese. However, my food adventurer mentality reared its curious head and suggested the Miami sandwich instead. Pressed on the same crispy bread as a Cuban, the Miami, which took a little longer to be presented since it was not premade (to my relief), combined crisp bacon atop turkey, ham, and cheese with the refreshing crunch of lettuce and tart tomato that I love in any sandwich, hot or cold. There was a little too much mayonnaise, but the sandwich was extremely tasty anyway. I'm glad Alyssa and I split it, though, as one half was almost the size of a whole sandwich!
We were a tad bummed that we did not get to treat ourselves to a long-overdue ice cream delight, so naturally we had to compensate for that. The $0.79 price tag on a guava cheese pastry may have aided in that decision. This premade option was much bigger than I expected, but I greatly enjoyed how the flaky crust, sweet guava, and savory cheese melded into a harmony of deliciousness.
Considering everything that was consumed, I was blown away to see the final bill for my meal. Without tip, it was just shy of $5.50. How is that even possible!? I was so taken aback; half an empanada, Miami sandwich, and a whole pastry barely dented my wallet. Now I know that for great Latin-inspired food with a nice variety and quick and friendly service, Mi Apa will be my go-to. Not to mention that they have a drive-thru option! This eating adventurer is forever a Mi Apa fan.
The Pluses and Minuses of Mi Apa
Mi Apa (+) indicators: Great service, tasty food, wide variety, very inexpensive for the quality, drive-thru is very convenient
Mi Apa (-) indicators: A a few extra pounds around my midsection if I keep up the visits
Cafe is 'ethnic cuisine' prize winner
By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor
I am your garden variety Anglo Saxon white male.
My father's family came to the New World after imany generations in England. My mother grew up in Dundee Scotland and her family relocated to America to start a life in Central Florida when she was a teenager.
I have lived in Florida my entire life and I possess a certain amount of Southern pride.
So why is it that Latin American cuisine is my food of choice? Mexican, Cuban, Latin American, yellow rice, plantains, tortillas, roast pork.
The Lechon Asada, roast pork to southern boys -- at Mi Apa Latin Cafe on SW 34th St. behind Grandy's could very well be the ultimate ethnic cuisine lunch in the Urban GLOB in my opinion.
Mi Apa's giant serving of roasted, chunked pork stacked high on the plate accompanied by incredibly tasty sweet plantains. and a side order of black beans, is a savory, comforting, filling lunch experience every one should have, especially if you are a professional eater.
This juicy, flavorful pork entree is such a perfect comfort food that this Anglo Florida boy was thinking siesta before I got up from the lunch table.
This is a great cafe for a quick, rewarding lunch experience. The attentive wait staff, and seating both inside and outside the cafe, offers the GLOBer a mid-day stop where serious eaters can be recognized by the lack of conversation going on while they are working on their caloric intake.
Mi Apa has all the pressed Cuban sandwiches -- including the media noche with sweet bread -- available along with a Cuban pot roast, steak. chicken entrees and vegetarian entrees.
My suggestion is the Lechon Asada. Do you think Lechon Asada means, "the other white meat," in Spanish?
I'm going to have to make a quick trip back to Mi Apa and try their sandwiches. I also think I need to make sure their chicken & yellow rice, and pot roast is up to par with their other excellent entrees.
I'm not sure why I am informing other fellow GLOBers, but I do I think it is important this place gets a thorough evaluation from me.
One final important point to make. Mi Apa also serves a Cuban breakfast every morning including cuban coffee and espresso starting at 7:00 in the morning.
The Pluses and Minuses of Mi Apa
Mi Apa (+) indicators: Original home style Cuban cuisine excellently prepared!
Mi Apa (-) indicators: I wanted to eat every thing on the menu . . .
Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Mi Apa. Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments. - THANKS
- Phone Number: 376-7020
- Address: 114 SW 34th St., Gaineville, FL
- Urban GLOB Location: 34th Street
- Web Site: Mi Apa
- Latitude: 29.650722
- Longitude: -82.372837
Mike Edenfield Tuesday, 12 January 2016 11:21 Comment Link
I've eaten at the Alachua location many times and never had a bad meal. The Cuban and Miami sandwiches are the best.
Angie Shepherd Keen Thursday, 21 August 2014 10:10 Comment Link
How coincidental, I too was overtaken by the mere thought of Mi Apa's Cuban sandwich yesterday as I happen to be in the neighborhood running an errand. I didn't see the sign because I was only envisioning all the wonderful Latin choices offered by Mi Apa. They have a drive thru window on the side and the servers are always extremely quick and attentive. All I can say is Mi Apa's Cuban sandwich is simply the best I've ever had! The ham was piled high and the bread was pressed to perfection, and best of all, you can't beat the price. Right on target here GLOB MASTER!!!
susan Monday, 22 April 2013 11:28 Comment Link
Mi Apa now open Alachua also!
Abby Tuesday, 12 July 2011 12:36 Comment Link
It's funny to see that my favorite food at Mi Apa is the favorite of others also: cafe con leche and guava pastry. That's what I always get there. yum!
Marc Wednesday, 11 May 2011 23:16 Comment Link
Where to begin. Coming from an ethnic background I have had better latin cuisines than the ones Mi Apa offers. Originally being from Coral Gables, Fl my ultimate favorite place to eat is in Hialeah, Fl because they serve you like a mother and it doesn't cost a fortune. Mi Apa has decided to decrease their portions and increase the price. For that I will stick to McDonalds for breakfast. On the plus side cafe con leche is the best they got. Monday and Friday mornings are usually the best times to visit and grab some cafe con leche.
Carlos Alejandro Delgado Tuesday, 10 May 2011 15:28 Comment Link
Not hungry enough for a meal; just space for a coffee and possibly a desert, try MI Apa.
+ I usually leave enough room for a cafe con leche guava pastry.
Jim O Friday, 10 December 2010 10:30 Comment Link
We have eaten at Latin restaurants all over town and in Ocala. Mi Apa is one of the best. The items we have tried are the best. Have to say their Cuban Sandwich is 2nd to any other rest. in G-ville.
Adele Friday, 15 October 2010 20:08 Comment Link
I haven't been to GLOBtown in a while but I must say that I love to stop at Mi Apa, especially for black beans, guava pastries, and guava juice. These delicacies are not easy to find. Yes, I consider them delicacies. You can laugh if you want! If I lived in town Mi Apa would be getting repeat business from me. Well, they do anyway but they don't see me enough to know it! I love that it is a locally owned business. Give them a try!