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El Palacio de los Jugos Now Serving In South Beach

Lechón Asado at El Palacio de los Jugos, photo by lee kleinSouth Beach El Palacio de los Jugos, photo by lee kleinThe Hot Line At El Palacio de los Jugos, photo by lee kleinWhole Fried Fish At El Palacio de los Jugos, photo courtesy El PalacioYucca Fries At El Palacio de los Jugos, photo courtesy El Palacio

It was at the Miami Book Fair some years ago that I met cookbook author and then-New York Times food writer Molly O’Neill, who in the course of conversation confessed to never having had an arepa. I felt the need to remedy this, so I convinced Molly into letting me take her to El Palacios de los Jugos at NW 57th Avenue and West Flagler. She was delighted with the whole shebang: fresh tropical juices and shakes; the coconut cut with machete and served with straw for sipping; the fruit and vegetable market; the lechón asado, plantain chips, fried fish, chicharrones and, yes, arepa. Thing is, she needed to get back to the Fair for a reading and we were running late. I drove like a New York cabbie and got her back in time -- just one of many memorable meals at the Flagler branch.

Lechón Asado at El Palacio de los Jugos, photo by lee klein

A couple of months ago, El Palacios opened up a South Beach locale at 555 Jefferson Avenue: smack dab in my neighborhood. It’s brighter and spiffier than the other five or so Palacios, but the food remains solid and fairly priced. “Fairly priced” is a term rarely associated with a South Beach dining establishment.

South Beach El Palacio de los Jugos, photo by lee klein

As I say, it’s been open awhile, but if you live in the area and haven’t yet checked it out, you might consider doing so – for breakfast, lunch, dinner, fresh coconut water...

Whole Fried Fish At El Palacio de los Jugos, photo courtesy El Palacio

Good golly, I wish it’d been around when Molly was here.

The Hot Line At El Palacio de los Jugos, photo by lee klein

Yucca Fries At El Palacio de los Jugos, photo courtesy El Palacio