8 neighborhood restaurants that Miamians love

At Ghee, chef Niven Patel sources the produce for his Indian-inspired plates from his farm in nearby Homestead. | Credit: Ghee - Downtown Dadeland
A spread of Indian dishes from Ghee in Miami

Miami is known for its larger-than-life restaurants that serve as brief preludes to splashy nights out. But locals have an arsenal of inviting, low-key haunts they can return to for one-of-a-kind flavors and vibes.

A James Beard semifinalist steers an inventive Indian place in Dadeland where the plates marry South Floridian flavors with South Asian techniques. A Vietnamese-Cajun mashup in MiMo draws crowds for its non-stop party vibes. An unassuming dining room in South Beach channels the spirit of Emilia-Romagna.

Whether they’re bringing visitors or bringing themselves, Miamians love revisiting these 8 neighborhood gems. Read on to book a table at these beloved local restaurants now.

Blue Collar (MiMo)

Blue Collar is the place in Miami for stick-to-your-ribs American comfort food. Since opening in 2012, this MiMo spot has gained a loyal following among locals looking for homestyle meals with big portions, including barbecue baby back ribs, braised pork, and brown stew chicken. The 70s-inspired interiors spark nostalgia for throwback dishes such as chicken parmesan, one of the most popular menu items. The restaurant is also committed to social justice and donates $1 from every shrimp and grits meal to the Black Lives Matter movement.

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Phuc Yea (MiMo)

A spread of Vietnamese Cajun dishes on the patio at Phuc Yea in Miami
Vietnamese Cajun plates at Phuc Yea. | Credit: Phuc Yea

This cheekily named restaurant is a beloved area mash-up, serving Cajun-inflected Vietnamese food. The menu is inspired by owners Aniece Meinhold’s Southeast Asian heritage and Cesar Zapata’s Gulf Coast roots. Phuc Yea’s gigantic portions of dishes such as buttermilk- and lemongrass-marinated Vietnamese fried chicken make it especially group-friendly, and locals flock here for shareable bowls of Cajun fried rice packed with crab, shrimp, Andouille sausage, and Chinese sausage. Along with great food, locals love Phuc Yea for the lively vibes: with a full-time DJ and red lantern display, MiMo is a perpetual neighborhood party.

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Ghee – Downtown Dadeland (Dadeland)

Ghee’s Indian menu is inspired by chef Niven Patel’s travels. | Credit: Ghee – Downtown Dadeland

Acclaimed chef Niven Patel has earned praise from the James Beard Foundation, Food & Wine, and the MICHELIN guide, to name a few. But Miamians are diehard fans, too. They come for Patel’s inventive Indian plates, inspired by the chef’s travels to the Cayman Islands and the Florida Keys. He takes a farm-to-table approach to food: much of the produce served on the menu—including the taro leaves, tomatoes, and kale—is grown at his farm in nearby Homestead. That bounty fuels dishes such as spicy papaya salad and vegetarian dosas, helping Patel execute a locally beloved cultural balancing act.

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Via Emilia 9 (South Beach)

In a residential pocket of South Beach, Via Emilia 9 appears unassuming from the outside. But inside the neighborhood gem, find a dining room that channels the spirit of the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy. Whether sitting indoors or on the restaurant’s patio, feasting at Via Emilia 9 feels like you scored an invite to a friend’s casual dinner party. The menu includes fresh pasta, best enjoyed in dishes such as tortellini en brodo o alla panna (tortellini in broth and cream sauce) and tagliatelle with prosciutto di Parma.

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Caffe Abbracci (Coral Gables)

Away from the hustle and bustle of Miami in Coral Gables, Caffe Abbracci has dished up classic Italian food for more than three decades to locals alongside presidents, politicians, and professional athletes. In the dining room, white linen-clad tables under stately chandeliers set an opulent scene. Enjoy plates such as squid ink-tinted black lobster ravioli and veal Milanese. The family-owned restaurant is so community-driven that 16 employees have been with the restaurant since its opening day in 1989.

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Pinch Kitchen and Bar (Miami Upper East Side)

Spanish garlic shrimp at Pinch Kitchen and Bar, where the globally inspired menu changes seasonally. | Credit: Pinch Kitchen and Bar

Pinch Kitchen and Bar is a buzzy open-kitchen restaurant that uses local ingredients and changes its menu based on the seasons. The restaurant’s name comes from the common cooking refrain (“a pinch of this, a pinch of that”), a philosophy that’s mirrored by the various cultural influences on the menu. During the week, diners can sample dishes such as Tibetan momos (dumplings) or “K-Town” guacamole seasoned with housemade kimchi and Korean spices. On the weekends, the guava French toast and bottomless mimosas urge locals to hang out all afternoon.

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Glass & Vine (Coconut Grove)

This family-friendly spot in peaceful Peacock Park is next to a playground, making it an ideal happy hour perch for the area’s parents. Watermelon salad, nori-crusted tuna, and cornflake French toast are menu favorites at this relaxed restaurant, complete with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. Live music fills the air Wednesday through Saturday evenings, adding to Glass & Vine’s ultra-chill ambiance.

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Cebada Rooftop (Coral Gables)

On the pedestrian-only Giralda Avenue in Coral Gables, this rooftop spot is ideal for after-work gatherings. The cocktails are locally inspired and have playful names. Case in point: Bro, Why Are Your Paints So Tight, made with vodka, guava, sugar, and lime. Don’t miss Cebada’s happy hour on Tuesday through Friday from 5 pm to 7 pm, when select cocktails are $10. The tropical menu features raw bar bites, make-your-own charcuterie boards, and Roman-style pizzas with options including sausage and kale and oyster mushroom with onion, mozzarella, truffle cheddar, and onion purée.

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Amber Love Bond is a Miami-based food + beverage writer who can typically be found somewhere delicious with her laptop in tow and a cocktail in hand. See what she’s sipping and follow her adventures on Instagram.

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