Driving through MiMo can feel like you’re traveling through a vintage postcard in certain parts, between all the throwback motels and neon signs. But MiMo isn’t just a place for your grandparents to tell you about the days when alligators outnumbered people - it’s also one of the best places to eat in Miami. The diversity of restaurants here is impressive, with one of the prettiest date spots in the city, a Vietnamese/Cajun mashup, and Miami’s favorite arepas all within a mile of each other. This guide has the 16 best places to eat in the neighborhood, with a mix of the classics you haven’t visited in way too long and some exciting places that are worth fighting even the worst traffic on Biscayne Boulevard for.
There is no hotel in this neighborhood that showcases MiMo architecture in all its ’50s glory better than The Vagabond. And the hotel’s restaurant, Gregory’s, is also a fantastic mix of old and new. The all day diner has familiar dishes like patty melts and slices of pie - but you can also get a get a root beer sour with whiskey, some very good pastas, and more creative American food they probably weren’t eating in the ’50s.
From the outside, Osteria Baiocco looks more like a Georgia sorority house than somewhere to get surprisingly great pasta. Inside, though, there are all the hallmarks of a neighborhood Italian spot: copper pans hanging on the wall, servers in white button-downs, and wine stacked to the ceiling. It’s a quirky space, but the food here is straightforward and delicious. Start with the I fritti romani, a crispy little sampler platter of perfectly fried things like zucchini flowers, cod fish, and a tomato rice ball. Then move onto the fantastic pasta - the gnudi di spinaci e ricotta are delicious little spinach and ricotta dumplings and we could probably eat about 300 of them.
Cake Thai serves some of Miami’s best Thai food and the original Upper East Side location is great for a quick casual meal or takeout. The simple space only has a handful of tables, but the menu gives you plenty to look at. It’s very big and includes curries, wok dishes, veggies, noodles, fried rice, salads, soups, and an appetizer selection (the southern Thai-style fried chicken is excellent). It’s also good to remember that Cake Thai is open till 11pm on the weekend in case you’re in need of a good late dinner option.
The interior of O’Munaciello features a life-size statue of an angel with outstretched arms hanging from the ceiling. There’s a large diorama of an Italian village in the corner and strange little statues scattered around the dining room. But you won’t notice any of it when the pizza hits the table because it’s that good. This excellent Neapolitan pizza definitely requires a fork and knife to eat, but it’s not a soupy mess in the middle. The crust (which comes in regular and black charcoal) is soft and bubbly on the outside and thin and tender towards the center. The cornicione di ricotta has an amazing stuffed ricotta crust and is good enough to distract you from the pizza deity dangling 20 feet above your head.
Blue Collar is a strange little Miami institution that lives inside a MiMo motel, and it’s worth visiting a dozen times throughout the year because you’ll want to try everything on the menu. It’s an odd and delicious mix of food, some of which makes sense here, like latkes, Cuban sandwich spring rolls, and crispy skin snapper. And then there’s other randomness that does not, like pot roast, jambalaya, and something called the big ragout, which is basically an entire Italian deli stuffed inside a hoagie. Tragically, on your quest to try it all, you’ll end up falling in love with one dish (like their cheeseburger on a Portuguese muffin) and never be able to order anything else.
This place is so pretty that it’s worth coming here even if you’re under strict doctor’s orders to not consume any food or water over the next 48 hours. The main attraction here is the tropical, super lush backyard, where you should absolutely request to sit, and if you’re lucky, you’ll get a table right next to the lagoon. The food is a somewhat random mix of Mediterranean dishes and it’s best to stick to appetizers like the shwarma or crudo - or just go straight to the backyard tiki bar (open Thursday-Sunday) for drinks. Sunday brunch is also a good move on a pretty (meaning not lava-hot) day.
Technically Pinch is located just outside MiMo on 86th Street, but you’re already in the car and it’s literally only an extra 90 seconds if you get a couple of green lights. This place does lunch, dinner, and a really great weekend brunch that’s always crowded. At dinner, stick to the small plates, like the dumplings, wild calamar, and croquetas stuffed with rotating ingredients. Take a look at the daily special on the chalkboard above the bar too. The Pinch burger is the biggest hit during lunch and brunch because that’s usually the only time they serve it and it’s really good - the kind of thick, super juicy patty you need to unhinge your jaw like a python to eat.
It’s hard to get mad at a restaurant dedicated to grilled cheese, especially one that treats the childhood classic with as much respect as Ms. Cheezious. They work in ingredients that take the simple sandwich to another level, like prosciutto, ham croquettes, and pulled pork. The sandwich shop has some outdoor seating in its backyard and the MiMo location does a good job of blending in with the neighborhood aesthetic thanks to the awesome vintage neon sign above the entrance, which features an excited young lady sitting on top of a grilled cheese sandwich.
Andiamo looks like it might take off and fly into outer space at any moment. It was originally built in 1956 as a tire shop and it’s one of the best examples of the “Miami Modern” architectural style. It’s now a very popular pizza place - thanks in part to Miami’s lack of reliable pizza places, but Andiamo’s pizza is also much better than just a last resort. It’s on the thicker side of the thin-crust spectrum and comes with a lot of topping options. Our favorite is the very heavy Sunday pie with meatballs, ricotta, pepperoncini, parmesan, and basil. Most of the seating is outside, so it’s a great choice if you want to eat pizza while watching cars whiz by on Biscayne.
If there was such a thing as a high school for arepas (we smell a young adult novel), Doggi’s versions would easily win the senior superlative for most popular. Everyone loves these arepas, which are as fat as structurally possible. They have a wide range of ingredients you can stuff inside your warm arepa, including hearts of palm, fried pork belly, and plantain. The arepa Santa Barbara (churrasco, tomato, avocado, and cheese) is a favorite and would probably be the high school quarterback in this novel we’re about to start pitching. Come here for the huge breakfast special too, featuring beef, plantains, avocado, cheese, and eggs so you can practice your own arepa-stuffing skills, which will prove very useful one day.
This place calls itself “Viet-Cajun,” though people come here mostly for the Vietnamese dishes - specifically the pho, which has a great broth and comes in portions big enough to share. It’s a pretty upbeat place, and the cocktails are worth ordering and tend to come with a pretty garnish you can either eat or dry off and stick in your hair. There are a few separate smaller dining rooms to sit in, which keeps things snug in a good way. You can come here with friends before a night out or with a date you want to keep awake as you tell them - for the third time - about breaking your wrist while whitewater rafting.
La Placita serves Puerto Rican food, which you may be able to infer from the absolutely massive Puerto Rican flag mural that covers the outside of the building. Inside is just as loud and splashy with a tropical aesthetic that’s even present in the bathroom, where a soundtrack of jungle noises play on a loop. It’d be quite awkward if a place this proud of its heritage didn’t deliver on the food, but La Placita plays it straight with the classics. The mofongo is simple and tasty and you can customize your order with protein options like ropa vieja, shrimp, and chicken. Add some chicharrones de pollo and a piña colada and you’ll seriously consider painting a giant Puerto Rican flag on your house too.
Yes, we know Wabi Sabi is actually in the Upper East Side, but sometimes we like to break the rules. At first glance, this little shop just looks like a casual grab-and-go option. But we like to hang out for a bit while eating one of their bowls for lunch, which you can customize with a base of sushi rice, cha-soba noodles, or greens and top with very good tuna or salmon. There are daily specials too, which include things like wagyu, uni, and toro.
Jimmy’s is MiMo’s reliable diner, and it does all the things reliable diners are supposed to do. There are leather booths that suck you in like quicksand, local radio playing in the dining room, and counter seating where you can comfortably dine solo and chug cup after cup of coffee. You can get an order of eggs with hash browns and sausage links for under $7, then come back for lunch and grab a patty melt on rye. Dinner isn’t an option at Jimmy’s - unfortunately it closes at 4pm - even though they shot that dinner scene in Moonlight here.
On a nice, breezy day in MiMo, you want to sit at one of Dogma’s outdoor tables with some chips, a hot dog, and a beer. The sidewalk hotdog stand has been a local landmark for years - the kind of place where you’ll see little leaguers celebrating a win alongside a couple of club kids in sunglasses trying to beat a hangover. The hot dogs showcase styles from around the country with Chicago, Atlanta, and Coney Island versions. But they also go international with a Colombian dog featuring Thousand Island dressing, chips, swiss cheese, pineapple, and bacon - which is exactly what you need if you just danced for nine hours straight at Space.
Barmeli69 is a casual little restaurant that is the physical manifestation of wine mom culture. There is wine, of course, and plenty of it, as well as printed-out memes (all of which usually involve a joke about loving and/or drinking wine) taped to the wall. The food here is exactly what you want to go along with a nice bottle after a long day. There are prosciutto-wrapped dates under the “snack ‘n’ chat” section of the menu, a handful of cheese plate options, and some bigger Mediterranean seafood dishes like grilled branzino. It’s an easy neighborhood option that can work for a quick date or a nice dinner with mom, who - yes - will take another glass of the pinot grigio, thank you very much.