Because you live in Miami, you A) don’t need Mister Rogers to remind you that every day is, in fact, a beautiful day in your neighborhood, and B) probably do need someone to remind you which restaurants in your neighborhood aren't from New York/an Applebee’s. So we've assembled a list of our favorite neighborhood restaurants in a dozen Miami 'hoods, which hopefully people can like just the way they are... or tell us why not in the comments section below.
When you’re living in the most densely populated 'hood south of Manhattan, you A) probably pay $2,500 a month for a view of somebody else’s balcony, and B) don’t consider anywhere you’d go a “neighborhood” restaurant... until you walk into Stanzione 87, where you’re typically greeted by baby-faced owner Franco Stanzione, who'll totally urge you to watch his much-more-maturely-faced chef hand-make pies with ingredients direct form Naples in less than a minute.
Still have the Mister Rogers theme song in your head, don’t you? Well you COULD listen to your cassette single of “Humpin’ Around” IF your mom hadn’t thrown it out. And if it wasn’t now lining the bar at this Coconut Grove burger and beer hall, where they're keeping true to their name by grilling burgers made with Florida grass-fed beef, topping them with Sunshine State produce, and serving it all with craft beers from the state that – at the time of publication – was the last to arrest Justin Bieber.
Two reasons we love EH: their viral Christmas card featured the entire staff in nothing but Santa hats, and the “Wakin-N-Bacon” brunch menu with stuff like Cap’n Crunch pancakes, which keep Gablers lining up outside Giorgio Rapicavoli’s former pop-up, even in our brutally cold Christmas months when the wind chill gets down to 62.
Miyako Japanese Restaurant
Tiny restaurants in Doral are popping up faster than the bottom half of the Marlins lineup, but this Japanese power-lunch spot has kept itself alive with the best sushi west of 95, a special menu only available to regular customers, body sushi events, and the most, um, entertaining Thai doughnut presentation your inner 12yr-old could imagine.
When you see a brick house in a place like Little Haiti, you probably think one thing: meth lab. But you should be thinking about this warm, welcoming, Maradona poster-lined restaurant where brothers Cristian and Maximiliano Alvarez cook Argentine grub like octopus tentacle appetizers, and fried sweetbreads that're even more addictive than what you must be smoking to miss this place.
This overwhelmingly homey spot on Biscayne is basically a cross between a country attic and a backyard, if that backyard had potato sack-lined booths, picnic tables, a gazebo-style bar, and a massive mirror lined with reclaimed wood. And served pig wings, Jar-o-Duck, and a bacon-onion marmalade-/duck butter-covered porterhouse. Which would pretty much make it the best backyard ever.
Tucked between a head shop and a barber shop is this Venezuelan joint decked out in knick-knacks from owner Carlos Matheus’ abuela’s house, making even lunch on a Tuesday feel like Saturday dinner. Except instead of “Sabado Gigante” playing at ungodly loud volumes, you’ll hear Carlos explaining to you the origins of every item on his menu, from the Venezuelan national dish Pabellon to the Miss World-namesake Reina Pepiada.
North Bay Village/North Beach
Sushi Deli at Japanese Market
Who’s got the best sushi in Miami? Zuma? More like Who?-ma. Naoe? More like No-way. Toni’s? More like Phoni’s. Ok we could do this forever….ask a local and they’ll tell you straight up the best sushi in the Magic City is at the tiny deli counter in this almost-unmarked storefront on the 79th Street causeway. Just belly up to the bar and ask Chef Michio Kushi to make you something special.
Guadalajara Mexican Restaurant
The family behind Guadalajara knows how to keep Pinecresters happy: by offering top-notch Mexican food like smooth, spicy homemade salsa and char-grilled meats for prices that don't make you say, "They're charging HOW MUCH for a plate of tacos?".
Decked out to look like a Parisian hole-in-the-wall (minus the chain-smoking and cold weather), this SoFi sidewalk café run by a Euro/Latin-fusion family keeps their cuisine simpler than a Metrorail map (like that's hard!) with stuff like short ribs, garlic grilled shrimp, and a gluten-free veggie lasagna that actually tastes like a lasagna.
Service in South Beach is typically only slightly better than the DMV in Hialeah, except at Oliver’s, where most of the people enjoying some truly epic breakfasts are West Ave locals, so they actually have to do stuff, like... um, be NICE to their customers.
Even though Nedal Ahmad has opened a new Gables location, his original shop in a Bird Road strip mall maintains its Weh-cheh-tuh character, while churning out some of the city’s best burgers, flame-grilled pinchos, and a brunch that'll guarantee the rest of your day is beautiful... except for all the Spanish-language signage and travel agencies you've got to drive by to get there.
1. Café Mistral110 Washington Ave, Miami Beach
2. Lokal Burgers & Beer3190 Commodore Plz, Miami
3. Stanzione 8787 SW 8th St, Miami
4. Eating House804 Ponce De Leon Blvd, Miami
5. Miyako Japanese Resturant7902 NW 36th St, Doral
6. The Federal Food Drink & Provisions5132 Biscayne Blvd, Miami
7. La Latina Miami3509 NE 2nd Ave, Miami
8. Japanese Market & Deli1412 79th Street Causeway, Miami Beach
9. Guadalajara Mexican Restaurant8461 SW 132nd St, Miami
10. Oliver's Bistro959 West Ave, Miami Beach
11. Pincho Factory9860 SW 40th St, Miami
12. Fiorito5555 NE 2nd Ave, Miami
Decked out to look like a Parisian hole-in-the-wall -- minus the chain smoking and cold weather -- this SoFi sidewalk café run by a Euro-Latin fusion family keeps their cuisine simple with stuff like short ribs, garlic grilled shrimp, and a gluten-free veggie lasagna that actually tastes like a lasagna. Plus breakfasts with fresh, housemade made croissants, breads, and fruits.
Don’t let the graffiti-covered brick walls and cassette tape mosaics fool you: far from an average dive bar, the Lokal is a sustainability-conscious gastropub, slinging surprisingly healthy bar fare. Regulars frequent this Coconut Grove spot for favorites like the Fidy-Fidy burger, made with house-ground beef and bacon, finished with melted Monterey jack cheese and sweet onion marmalade, as well as smaller bites like the perfectly crispy sweet potato fries. We suggest ordering a craft beer and heading for the patio: given the special food menu for dogs, it’s a popular spot for puppies.
Brickell's Stanzione 87 serves up authentic Neapolitan pies that take less than a minute to cook in the wood-burning oven. The mozzarella is made in-house and the rest of the essential ingredients are imported from Italy, so the pizza is as close to source as you can get in Miami. The space is pretty small -- with only about 40 or so seats at small marble tables -- but a glass-walled open kitchen offers quite the pizza-making entertainment. It's a pretty solid take-out option, too.
Eating House isn't a regular restaurant, it's a cool restaurant. Chef Giorgio Rapicavoli's spot began as a pop-up in 2012 before it took a permanent, brick-and-mortar turn in Coral Gables a few years later. It's hard to decide what Rapicavoli does better: local ingredient-driven dinner or over-the-top brunch. Whatever it is, all the dishes coming out of the kitchen -- like Cap'n Crunch pancakes or black truffle carbonara -- are similar in their sheer creativity.
This Japanese power-lunch spot has kept itself alive with the best sushi west of 95, a special menu only available to regular customers, and body sushi events.
The Phuc Yea! crew's homey spot on Biscayne is serving comfort food that you can wash down with 15 wines, beers on tap, and cocktails... just not all at once. Their light, fluffy biscuits have been ranked as some of the best in the country and are just a little sweet with a honey apple cider glaze. This modern American tavern serves up lunch, dinner and boozy brunch, and their Bloody Mary, made with Southwestern-style chipotle, cilantro, horseradish and agave wine, is not one to miss.
This Venezuelan arepera serves traditional, um, arepas using the freshest ingredients, and they've also got a slew of gluten-free and vegan options for you to choose from.
This tiny deli counter in this almost-unmarked storefront on the 79th Street causeway boasts some of the best sushi in Miami, curtesy of Chef Michio Kushi.
Guadalajara offers up top-notch Mexican food like smooth, spicy homemade salsa and char-grilled meats for prices that don't make you say "They're charging THAT for a plate of tacos?" in a Spartan, friendly space that.
Oliver’s serves up American-sized portions and is popular among locals residents who come back again and again. The epic breakfasts and signature omelets which whip any $2.95 special on Ocean Drive don't hurt either.
Pincho Factory specializes in two things: burgers and kebabs, but it's the burger that catapulted the fast-casual resto to must-try status. Owner Nedal Ahmad's signature Toston burger, topped with jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, and homemade cilantro sauce then sandwiched between two fried plantains, won the annual South Beach Burger Bash in 2015. Since then, Pincho Factory has made a mark with its menu of greasy and good street food, which includes customizable kebab wraps, rice bowls, and salads.
Step inside this welcoming, Maradona poster-lined resto where brothers Cristian and Maximiliano Alvarez own and cook authentic Argentine grub that’ll have you saying stuff like “No, really the octopus tentacle appetizer and fried sweeatbread are incredible!”