New-look Larios on the Beach puts an Estefan spin on Cuban food

The who: Gloria and Emilio Estefan’s 22-year-old restaurant, Larios on the Beach, recently reopened with a new look and a new health-conscious take on Cuban classics. Executive chef Odell Torres runs the kitchen.

The space: The Ocean Drive stalwart still opens up to sidewalk seating but now there’s a new outdoor café and espresso bar. Indoors are mosaic tile murals (one of Gloria herself), cream-colored banquettes, floors made of seashells and a candle-lit lounge with wrap-around couches. 

The dishes: Traditional Cuban with some modern tweaks. Expect to see staples like ropa vieja (shredded beef in a tomato-based sauce), arroz con pollo (chicken with yellow rice) and fried plantains in addition to some innovative spins like barbecue guava ribs, bacon-wrapped maduros and fried green plantains stuffed with shrimp.

Larios’ legendary lechon remains, but Torres has added “Calorie-Conscious Cuban” alternatives like baked plantain chips, grilled grouper and whole-grain brown rice.

Prices are touristy, but portions are big, with starters $8-$15 and mains $19-$49.

The bottom line: The Estefans’ traditional Cuban supper club is reborn with a fresh look and lighter dishes.