It sometimes seems like certain restaurant addresses are doomed, and for years I believed 7980 N. Tamiami Trail, a cramped space attached to a convenience store, was one of them. Multiple restaurants have come and gone there over the years, none of them worth remembering. Which was why, when Mirna’s Cuban Cuisine opened at that address, I didn’t rush to check it out.

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Boy, was that stupid. Mirna’s hasn’t just lasted. It’s thriving.

During lunchtime on a recent Tuesday, the narrow front dining room was filled with grandparents and grandkids catching up at one table, while workers from the airport across the street were gabbing at another. One couple huddled together to watch a World Cup match on a cell phone. The sound of clattering dishes from the small kitchen in the back mingled with warm conversation and a Spanish-language announcer yelling “Goooooaaaallll!” during the Senegal-Poland match.

The menu, which largely follows Cuban tradition, keeps the place packed. It includes platters of ropa vieja ($9.75) and vaca frita ($9.75), plus sandwiches like pan con lechon ($6.25-$8.25), literally “bread with pork.” The ropa vieja plate arrives with a hefty tangle of shredded beef, a densely packed dome of brown-purple rice and beans, crispy fried yuca and a small green salad. The meat is tender and juicy, and the salty flesh contrasted with sweet sautéed green and red peppers and onions.

Consider the curse at 7980 N. Tamiami Trail broken. 

Mirna's Cuban Cuisine | 7980 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, (941) 316-9793

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