9 Local Eateries That’ll Make You Look Good
August 14, 2017
We all have our absolute favorite go-to restaurant, the places that are on point every time you go. The eateries where everything from music, ambiance, service, and food align for the perfect level of consistency. No matter the day or night of the week, you know you won’t be let down. They’re the kind of hidden gems you’d take your mom to and also spend a first date with someone who feels just as special. We’re not talking about the obvious spots that fall under this category like Mandolin, Zak the Baker, and FINKA, we’re talking about the ones you might not know about and the ones we can’t wait to show off.
Nestled humbly in Little Haiti, Fiorito is a perfect example of magical simplicity. From the hand-built wooden exterior to the intimate bistro digs inside, it’s easily one of the best Argentinian spots in the city. Their food is always on point: we suggest the corn empanadas, the steak salad, and their perfect hand-cut french fries. Created by brothers and operated by friends, it has that familiar and warm feeling no one can manufacture.
LungYai Thai Tapas
When you hear “Little Havana” Thai isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Well, since Lung Yai Thai Tapas opened just around two years ago, Calle Ocho has drawn the attention of many foodies looking to satisfy the Southeast Asian craving. It’s small and somewhat hidden, which immediately adds to its homegrown charm, with a menu that’s both authentic and modern at the same time.
Driving up Biscayne Boulevard, you would definitely pass it if you didn’t know where you were going. Seemingly hidden, and attached to a car wash next door, you wouldn’t expect the bona fide Italian-Argentinian fare that awaits you within Tatore. Fresh homemade pasta seduces you as you walk in, waiting for your hand-picked selection through a glass display case. Racing bikes, vintage soda bottles, travel posters, and cafe lights all decorate the interior to lure you across the sea and into one of Miami’s most secret treasures.
Heading in the other direction along Biscayne, another gem sits beautifully in the MiMo District: Bar Meli. Anyone who’s been to the Mediterranean and explored the Grecian isles would agree this is just about as close you can get in the city. Seriously, the octopus practically speaks Greek and is a must-try. Everything from the lighting and atmosphere, to the wine memes in the bathroom and nightly live music make it the perfect spot to meet up with an old friend. Say hi to Liza Meli herself, who’s usually slinging drinks behind the bar.
When we talk about magical, Cafe Roval falls perfectly under that spell. It’s everything you want from an old coral house-turned swing-time bistro and backyard lounge. Fountains and pools add beautiful soundtracks to the outdoor patio while vintage posters and eclectic decor line the walls of the speakeasy-like interior. It’s breathtaking from the moment you see it and their food is at the same level, too. From the same team that brought you favorites like Van Dyke’s and News Cafe, this one’s perfect for an anniversary of special romantic occasion.
Joe’s Take Away
Probably the most recognized on the list, Joe’s Take Away is the perpetual loophole when wanting to eat at Joe’s Stone Crab on a time crunch. You’ve got all the same delicious perks and pickings except with a 100% guarantee that your food will come out quick. You can even eat it outside or take the five-star meal home to impress your friends and family. This is the kind of spot that seasons you with Miami pride in every bite.
Mediterranean, Asian, American–the charming hole in the wall is packed with the kinds of flavors we all love. NOA Cafe opened for weekday lunch in 2010 and eventually expanded to dinner and weekend service, to the delight of its proud regulars. This is where you’ll see Pad Thai next to Falafel and Hummus, Korean-inspired ribs and Flourless Chocolate Cake. Next time you’re looking to impress at a lunch meeting or have quiet conversation over some of the best noodles in the city, come check out the rustic and intimate Midtown spot and you won’t be disappointed.
Su Shin Izakaya
If there’s a neighborhood in this city that has dedicated all of its energy to preserving history and authenticity, Coral Gables is at the top of the list. And one of its more true blue locales is Su Shin Izakaya, the unquestioning Japanese restaurant as fresh and real as they come. It’s small and bright and straight to the point, with some of the best dishes in town. Owners bellow hello from behind the counter, slicing fatty tuna as they smile, and patrons are all locals–returning once or twice a week.
Last one on the list is definitely one of our go-tos. Located inside the Miami Ironside creative space, it’s the F&B anchor that really ties it all together. Authentic Italian is the name of the game here, and when we say “authentic” we really mean it: patience with staff who live the free-flowing European way. Beautifully situated in an open-air garden, surrounded by creative ateliers and art installations, you really feel like you’re somewhere in Tuscany. Plus it’s BYOB…can it get any better?