Tuesday, Sep. 22, 2009

10. El Carajo International Tapas & Wines, Miami

Inside a Citgo gas station, just beyond the end of I-95, you'll find one of the city's more curious dining experiences. At the rear of the station's convenience store, through a Mediterranean-style archway, lies El Carajo, a cozy, dimly lit Spanish restaurant and wine store that features a full assortment of traditional tapas (try the mini sausages sautéed in red wine) and heaping entrées (the grilled meats are tops). The selection of wines is also wonderfully comprehensive, covering vineyards from all over California, South America and the Mediterranean. But the best aspect of eating here is the bizarre spectacle of the fluorescent-lit Citgo shop, which is never out of sight of the dining room. Not that this isn't without its conveniences: if, in the middle of your meal, you find yourself in dire need of a quart of motor oil or a pack of smokes, rest assured that you can secure it nearby.