12 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

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.

In a restored farmhouse, a MiMo osteria serves fresh fish of the day, caught by the restaurant’s own fishermen. A James Beard semifinalist steers an inventive Indian place in Dadeland where the plates marry South Floridian flavors with South Asian techniques. Stellar Cuban mainstays such as ham croquettes and oxtail stew make up the menu at a family-owned South Beach stalwart.

Whether they’re bringing visitors or bringing themselves, Miamians love revisiting these 12 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)

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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Baiocco Osteria (MiMo)

Traditional Italian techniques meet locally sourced seafood at this Roman-inspired restaurant. Housemade pasta specialties are flanked by fresh fish of the day, caught by the restaurant’s own fishermen. In addition to the top-notch plates, locals love the attentive service and rave about the restaurant’s cozy ambiance. The beloved osteria is in a restored farmhouse and modeled after Italian taverns.

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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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Meraki Greek Bistro (Downtown Miami)

Kebabs at Meraki Greek Bistro | Credit: Monica Alvarez

This family-owned Greek standby has served seafood-forward dishes in an airy, white-washed setting since 2016. A meal here shuttles you straight to Santorini, courtesy of Aegan accents such as blue and white pillows, rustic tables, and hanging lights. Staples including kebabs and gyros have sustained Miamians for years. But it’s the creative house specialties, such as youvetsi (baked leg of lamb in herbed tomato sauce, served over orzo) and a Greek spin on nachos, crafted with pita chips, yogurt sauce, and olives, that distinguish Meraki from Miami’s other Greek spots.

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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Bella Cuba (Miami Beach)

South Floridians craving Cuban mainstays such as ham croquettes and oxtail stew head to Bella Cuba, an intimate, family-owned spot in the heart of South Beach. Known for vibrant wall art and warm service, the restaurant is a destination for both locals and visitors. Go for happy hour: from 4 pm to 7 pm, all drinks are $5, with many rum-based cocktails and snacks such as homestyle tostones, empanadas, and Cuban egg rolls to graze on.

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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Lil Greenhouse Grill (Overtown)

Overtown is home to several soul food restaurants, including Lil Greenhouse Grill, which quickly became a neighborhood favorite after opening in 2017. What started as a humble food truck bloomed into a full-service restaurant in one of Miami’s oldest neighborhoods. Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King visited the family-owned spot in 2020, adding to its growing popularity. Fire and smoke flavor many of the menu items, including slow-smoked barbecue wings, grilled shrimp, and a seafood cake burger.

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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