The Definitive Eating Guide to Kendall
Most people will tell you that any land west of Coral Gables is “Kendall”. This presumption is false. The area is mainly comprised of Kendale Lakes, The Crossings, The Hammocks, Kendall West, Three Lakes, Sunset, and -- at its furthest point -- Country Walk. Then after ignoring you as you explain that they are wrong, they will make some highly obvious joke about Kendall’s lack of “cool”. And sure, Kendall may not be brimming with foie gras-topped donuts and restaurants specializing in craft cocktails, but it defends itself with diversity, mom & pop establishments, and specialty shops like Jamaica Kitchen, Scully’s Tavern, and Cien Años de Pandebono. From silky smooth milkshakes to delicious wings and mac & cheese, here’s your guide to eating well in Kendall.
Best milkshakes: <a href="http://www.thrillist.com/venues/eat/miami/restaurants/norman-brothers-produce" target="_blank">Norman Brothers Produce7621 SW 87th Ave
As a local produce market, it would be criminal not to have a dedicated shake/juice station. In between shopping, grab an ice cream or froyo milkshake in flavors such as strawberry, banana, peanut butter, chocolate, vanilla, and key lime, which come in a nostalgic ‘90s-era teal and purple Solo Jazz Cup. We just saved you a trek to Homestead.
Best Italian meets Latin mash-up: <a href="http://www.thrillist.com/venues/eat/miami/restaurants/secreto-italian-restaurant" target="_blank">Secreto11652 N. Kendall Dr
Italian cuisine gets an infusion of Latin flair in the way of tostones topped with braised short ribs and champagne risotto with mozzarella cheese and grilled chicken in an apricot sauce. More unique than their large list of daily rotating specials (including fun renditions on the aforementioned risotto) is the fact that art from local artists takes up every inch of the restaurant’s walls.
Best Peruvian: <a href="http://www.thrillist.com/venues/eat/miami/restaurants/dr-limon" target="_blank">Dr. Limón13766 SW 84th St
The ceviche doctors are in and their prescription is… possibly laced with LSD… which you’ll notice when you get a look at everything from the menus to the server's outfits. Although none of those things keep people from waiting up to two hours for bowls of their sweet and tangy ceviches, along with other Peruvian classics like causas, chupe de camarones, tallarines verdes con churrasco, and chaufas.
Best late-night: <a href="http://www.thrillist.com/venues/eat/miami/restaurants/los-verdes" target="_blank">Los Verdes15455 SW 137th Ave
Right on the outskirts of Three Lakes and Country Walk sits a haven for late night binges of Colombian style hot dogs, maize bowls, burgers, quesadillas, and toston sandwiches. Open until 4:00 am on most nights, the party continues with neon furniture and loud music.
Best bakery: <a href="http://www.thrillist.com/venues/eat/miami/restaurants/sweetness-bake-shop-cafe" target="_blank">Sweetness Bakeshop9549 SW 72nd St
They were popular as the food truck Sugar Rush, but nothing beats a brick and mortar with all-day access to cupcakes, whoopie pies, G.O.A.T. cookies, and Relentless Roasters lattes. Plus, they’ve got FREE Wi-Fi and board games, giving you a proper excuse to spend all day there. Unfortunately, however, it’s closed on Mondays.
Best mac and cheese: <a href="http://www.thrillist.com/venue/drink/miami/bar/barley-and-swine" target="_blank">Barley an American Brasserie9059 SW 73rd Ct
With brick- and chalkboard-accented walls, gluttonous portions, and the motto “Praise the Lard”, they’re infusing some of that hipster flair into Kendall. They’re most famous for their daily mac and cheese schedule of Carbonara-style chorizo and manchego, and BAE, which stands for bacon and eggs.
Best date spot: <a href="http://www.thrillist.com/venue/eat/miami/restaurants/devon-seafood-and-steak-kendall" target="_blank">Devon Seafood Grill11715 Sherry Ln
Not only is this restaurant date-ready with its indoor/outdoor bar, lakeside outdoor patio, comfy couches, and fire pits... but nothing says “romantic night out before going home to watch Netflix” like a juicy steak and a bottle of Cab, of which they’ve got numerous options.
Best Japanese: <a href="http://www.thrillist.com/venues/eat/miami/restaurants/shibui-japanese-restaurant" target="_blank">Shibui Japanese Restaurant10141 SW 72nd St
A long-time favorite of Kendall high schoolers since the early ‘80s, this wooden Japanese temple is about as authentic as it gets, featuring boats of rolls and chirashi (just don’t expect any matching plateware anywhere). Make sure to grab a spot on the second floor, which features floor seating and an awesome view of the room below. Lately, they’ve also been experimenting with sake cocktails.
Best splurge: <a href="http://www.thrillist.com/venue/eat/miami/restaurants/chef-adriannes-vineyard-restaurant-and-wine-bar" target="_blank">Chef Adrianne’s Vineyard Restaurant and Wine Bar11510 SW 147th Ave
Not only is this one of Miami’s most romantic restaurants for its dim lighting, all-wood California-style decor, and rich menu items like pork belly and chocolate-Nutella bread pudding, but it’s the standard for special occasions with the better half -- and outings when your co-worker has the company credit card.
Best tacos: <a href="https://www.thrillist.com/venues/eat/miami/restaurants/tacos-and-tattoos" target="_blank">Tacos & Tattoos10720 SW 113th Pl
Unfortunately, you can’t get tattoos after downing some sweet tacos (at least not here), but you can chow on chorizo rice bowls, creative burritos, and Nutella-filled donuts. The artsy spot is tiny, so opt for a spot outside or take it to-go. Also, they rep the Taco Tuesday trend hard, so if you need a Tuesday night out, here’s the play.
Best spot you don’t know about: <a href="https://www.thrillist.com/venues/eat/miami/restaurants/mr-mrs-bun" target="_blank">Mr. and Mrs. Bun15572 Sunset Dr
Most people get married when they fall in love. Not this couple. They used their wedding fund to open a delicious restaurant of Peruvian sandwiches, fries with dipping sauces like blueberry ketchup, and baked goods that entice from the counter. Hit it up during non-rush hours for a quick in and out.
Best for the health conscious: <a href="http://www.thrillist.com/venues/eat/miami/restaurants/off-the-grille" target="_blank">Off the Grille Kendall12578 N. Kendall Dr
Another strip mall, another chicken joint... this Caribbean-inspired spot is a bit different though, as it features healthy options all over the board, specifically catering to the Paleo dieters. There’s even a cantina service for those that don’t like to cook and yucca fritters and island chips for those special cheat days.
Best for groups: <a href="https://www.thrillist.com/venues/eat/miami/restaurants/pisco-y-nasca" target="_blank">Pisco y Nazca8405 Mills Dr #206
Just over a month old, this trendy Peruvian spot from the guys behind Bulla is a welcome addition to the ‘hood. Not only are the spacious digs beautiful, but their menu of ceviches, chaufas, and grilled platters are great for sharing. Pro tip: the communal bar tables are perfect for large groups and making new friends. Plus, with a list of 100+ beers and pisco cocktails, you’re less likely to get rushed.
Best burger: <a href="http://www.thrillist.com/venue/drink/miami/bar/keg-south-of-kendall" target="_blank">Keg South of Kendall12805 SW 136th Ave
Their famous wings tend to overshadow a perfect burger -- 1/2 pound of fresh ground beef, charred on the outside, medium on the inside. A simple equation, really, but one that is worth the trek to warehouse land. Otherwise, you can’t beat this dark tavern with a dozen TVs for all the game watching, pool tables, and ‘90s-era video games.
Best bagels: <a href="http://www.thrillist.com/venues/eat/miami/restaurants/outrageous-bagel" target="_blank">Outrageous Bagel Co8843 SW 107th Ave
Kendall may not have a substantial list of eat-in breakfast options (let’s not even bring up brunch), but at least there’s bagels. These guys bake 24 different kinds of ‘em every damn day, with homemade cream cheeses and some serious sandwich options.
Best ventanita: <a href="http://www.thrillist.com/venue/eat/miami/restaurants/la-carreta" target="_blank">La Carreta11740 SW 88th St
Skip the inside and make a beeline for their ventanita section where the same three ladies with the Latin sass are ready to dole out the strong cafecito, croquetas, and plancha-pressed sandwiches. The line is more of a gregarious crowd, so push your way through and order like you only speak Spanish.
Best sub shop: <a href="http://www.thrillist.com/venues/eat/miami/restaurants/hungry-bear-sub-shop" target="_blank">Hungry Bear Sub Shop10521 SW 109th Ct
We don’t blame you for turning into a hungry bear every day around noon. Thankfully, this spot's got a quick in-and-out system for those who need their honey mustard chicken with grilled onions, mushrooms, and green peppers fix.
Best wings: <a href="http://www.thrillist.com/venues/drink/miami/bars/sports-grill-kendall" target="_blank">Sports Grill9090 SW 97th Ave
Any true Kendallite has chosen a side on the great wing debate: Keg South vs. Sports Grill. You may even live in a house divided, which makes Sunday’s ground zero for family feuds. But it’s all good, more chargrilled wings tossed in signature sauce and Worcestershire for you.
Best pizza: <a href="http://www.thrillist.com/venues/eat/miami/restaurants/vesuvio-pizza-and-panini" target="_blank">Vesuvio Pizza & Panini13081 SW 88th St
After two decades flinging and rolling the dough at megalomaniac pizza chains, the owner decided he could do better take-out. Lucky for Kendallites, the product is a huge, thin crust, NY-style pizza with fresh ingredients that gets the thumbs up and seal of approval from New Yorkers themselves.
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In case you were wondering, writer Mandy Baca is a native Kendallite. She still lives there. Follow her on Twitter.