MIAGuide

The Best Restaurants In Kendall

Our favorite places to eat in Kendall, bro.
The Best Restaurants In Kendall image

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings / @eatthecanvasllc

Kendall can surprise you. The huge patch of unincorporated Dade where at least one of your relatives lives has great restaurants (including one of the 25 best restaurants in Miami) that have quietly been doing their thing in la sagüecera for decades. But there are also newer spots making exciting, contemporary food for Miamians who actually live here during hurricane season. Here are our Kendall favorites.

THE SPOTS

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings / @eatthecanvasllc

Indian

Kendall

$$$$Perfect For:Literally EveryoneSmall PlatesVegetarians
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Since Miami always marches to the beat of its own tiki tiki music, it’s fitting that the city's best Indian restaurant is also uniquely Miami. And Ghee is serving food that could only exist in the 305. Take, for instance, the bhel puri chaat, a seamless mashup of bhel puri and ceviche. The turmeric marinated fish uses a local catch, the bhatura has avocado in its dough, and so many of the best dishes source ingredients from Ghee's own farm in Homestead. This is Indian food done Miami style—and done in a way that makes a delicious argument that bhel puris, bhaturas, and vindaloo are just as Miami as pastelitos, Cuban coffee, and arriving very late to a party.

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings / @eatthecanvasllc

$$$$Perfect For:Lunch

Kendall has two very important things: a large suburban sprawl and the ingenuity to make the best of it. And Apocalypse BBQ makes the most out of its slightly ridiculous location in the middle of Killian Greens golf course. There, next to a dozen parked golf carts, it churns out incredible burgers, juicy wings, and smoked cafecito-rubbed ribs. Try to get here early. There’s often a wait (sometimes they’ll just give away free beer when the line gets long) and they run out of things towards the end of the day. But you can throw a dart at the menu while blindfolded and still land on something good.

There isn’t one specific sandwich we recommend here because not only are they all good, but Hungry Bear is about customizing your own ridiculous sandwich combination in a judgment-free zone. If you want teriyaki sauce, muenster, and extra mayo on your chicken taco Philly, go ahead, you freak. There really isn’t a wrong occasion to grab a gargantuan, overstuffed sandwich from Hungry Bear, except if you’re looking for dinner because this is a lunch-only spot.

If you think the words Cuban and vegan cancel each other out, then you need to visit this spot on Sunset Drive. It's not only one of the best vegan restaurants in Miami, but it will remind you of any of Miami’s traditional Cuban cafeterias. It even has a ventanita. Except, the food is all plant-based and the seating is entirely outdoors in the parking lot. They make a good cubano with mojo-seasoned jackfruit and croquetas that taste like the real thing. But we love their “beef” empanadas the best, which are filled with a really tasty picadillo that can easily compete with the best non-vegan versions in town.

Shibui is a Japanese restaurant that has been in the same spot off Sunset Drive since the '80s. Before words like omakase and izakaya were part of Miami’s food vocabulary, this was one of the few places in this part of Dade County that offered traditional dishes like sukiyaki, beef tataki, age dashi tofu, and oshitashi—all of which are still very good here. It’s housed in a retro two-story loft that gives very late ‘70s vibes in the best way possible. Ask to sit up in the loft, but make a reservation because the coveted low tables on the second floor require one.

This Miami classic has stood in the same location for over 70 years, so it’s been a part of Kendall way before finishing every sentence with bro became a thing. While they don’t serve Miami’s best barbecue, it’s solid and there’s something uniquely charming about eating ribs in a log cabin under the Dadeland South Metrorail station. The spare ribs are the thing to get here along with a side of baked beans and coleslaw. The corn on the cob is served in a styrofoam boat filled with more melted butter than you’ll need, but it’s a can’t-miss Shorty's tradition (along with rinsing your fingers in a little cup of hot water after your meal). Make sure to finish with a not-too-tart slice of key lime pie.

You’ll find Jamaica Kitchen in the middle of a massive strip mall with no shortage of free parking. The restaurant is a narrow and mostly to-go spot with a few outdoor tables. Jamaica Kitchen is a Chinese-Jamaican restaurant, a delicious and not uncommon pairing in Jamaica. They have Chinese dishes like shrimp fried rice and foo gua. But you’ll still find pretty classic Jamaican dishes here too, like some very good jerk chicken and patties. That, along with a peanut punch, is our go-to order here.

Fritanga Monimbo is not just the best option outside Little Havana or Sweetwater (the fritanga epicenters of Dade County). No, saying that would downplay how good Fritanga Monimbo is in its own right. They make solid versions of not only grilled skirt steak and queso frito—but also braised lengua in tomato sauce, carne mechada, and fresco de chia. Like most fritangas, this is a very casual spot with some indoor seating, but most people stick to takeout.

This Kendall Cantonese restaurant serves dim sum every day from 11am to 3pm, but Saturday or Sunday is the best day to come for the full push cart experience. The big dining room has a 3D wall installation of two phoenixes looking over the lacquered dark wooden tables, where you’ll see a mix of abuelitas who lunch and aunties meeting for a cup of tea, a few bao, and some gossip. South Garden serves great baked roast pork buns with a generous amount of char siu filling, along with solid fun gor, which features a smooth, chewy skin concealing a crunchy pork and vegetable filling.

Independent, fast-casual Tex-Mex spots are about as hard to find in Miami as free parking. And while we feel quite sad for our collective lives devoid of lard-infused beans, salsa bars, and deep-fried deliciousness—we’re also happy Ernesto’s exists. This is an ideal spot to sit by yourself with a chimichanga, quesadilla, or plate of carne asada fries and wash it down with horchata. If you can’t decide what to get, go for one of the combination platters.

Kendall outsiders may be surprised to see a bagel spot in this guide. But Bagel Express is an old-school Kendall bagel shop located across from Town & Country Mall (or whatever bougie name it goes by now). If the dude across the counter wore more form-fitting clothes, you’d think you stepped into the ‘70s. Bagels here strike the perfect balance between soft and chewy, the lox schmear is smooth and savory, and the coffee is hot.

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