There are two things you’re guaranteed to find in Little River: lots of warehouses and a rapidly accelerating list of new restaurants. But alongside those new restaurants, there are also Little River classics that’ve been serving the neighborhood long before the words “Little River” were on the tip of every developer’s tongue. This guide has both those kinds of restaurants—from a West Indian staple to an outdoor seafood spot channeling the spirit of Jimmy Buffett.
photo credit: Merritt Smail
There’s really no need to look at the menu when you walk into the casual Pack Supermarket. You’re here for fried chicken. Haitian-style fried chicken (or poul frit) isn’t as heavy on the breading as other versions and only gets a dusting of cornstarch for crispiness. And Pack makes our favorite version in Miami. It’s still juicy, well-seasoned, and an exceptional deal, because you can get three drumsticks—plus a side of rice and beans and pikliz—for about $8. There are a few tables inside, but most folks take their food to-go.
Rosie's will make you fall madly in love with brunch again—even if you never even liked it that much to begin with. This place moved around a bit as a pop-up before landing in Little River. It now serves its mostly Southern American menu on an outdoor patio with covered seating and a very impressive tree. Both the sweet and savory sides of the brunch spectrum are represented here, so you can get a gorgeous stack of fluffy lemon ricotta pancakes or fried chicken and biscuits that look like they’re modeling for a photo shoot. There are also cocktails, mimosas, and an excellent seasonal lemonade that's just what you want to be sipping in the sunny outdoor lot.
B&M Market looks like just another bodega when you're driving down 79th Street, but this place also serves some of Miami's best West Indian food from its tiny kitchen. Walk to the back of the store and you'll see people waiting for their ackee and saltfish, oxtail stew, and jerk chicken wrapped in one of Miami’s best rotis. To place an order, just stick your head into the kitchen and let the chef know what you want (or place a takeout order in advance online). While you wait for the food, check out the shop’s selection of Caribbean drinks, which includes an Irish Moss that tastes like a cinnamon milkshake and is a lifesaver if you accidentally go overboard with the very (very) spicy pepper sauce on the table.
photo credit: Cleveland Jennings
At first glance, Off Site looks like a small, chill bar perfect for a beer and a conversation—which it is. But the really remarkable thing about the Little River nano-brewery is the food. They have a small menu with recognizable things like a burger, Cuban sandwich, hot dog, wings, and fried chicken sandwich. It seems like normal bar food, but each dish is outrageously good and among the best versions of these very popular foods you’ll find anywhere in Miami. It makes Off Site feel like a museum dedicated to classic finger food.
Low Key Miami
Fried seafood and frozen cocktails in an outdoor space that hosts live music is one of Florida’s greatest food traditions. And Low Key is keeping that tradition alive in Miami. This place is in a barebones outdoor patio (the same one Rosie’s operates from), sparsely populated with picnic benches and shaded tables. They serve very good raw bar dishes and bigger entrees like a stellar fish and chips, a grouper sandwich, and clam frites—all served with impressively crispy crinkle-cut fries. The food goes great with the frozen piña colada or bottle of wine you can also order here. This is the kind of place to camp out for hours with some friends, listen to music, eat fish dip, and just generally emulate the spirit of Jimmy Buffett.
Not only is Le Jardin one of the few Haitian restaurants open until midnight, but they make really good food too. They do an excellent griot with enough of a kick that you may think twice before dipping it into the pikliz, along with a great legim with perfectly cooked white rice and a sòs pwa seasoned with cloves. The food shouldn’t take much longer than 15 minutes if you’re doing takeout, but there are a few tables where you can sit and throw back a few beers while you wait (if they’re not already taken by regulars doing the same).
It’s almost impossible to find a bowl of pasta under $20 in Miami these days, and even harder to find one that doesn’t suck. But Pastamarket is where you want to be on those nights when you need a very good bowl of reasonably priced noodles in a place with absolutely no dress code. The menu lets you make all the choices: you pick from about ten different pasta options, and an equal amount of sauces. Even though it sounds like the ordering system of a fast-casual chain restaurant, the quality is great. If the weather allows, sit outside as the patio is a lot more charming than the small dining room.
Little River has never really been a hotspot for Cuban food, but if you’re in need of a simple, tasty pan con bistec, a proper cafecito, and a pastelito, head to Bread N’ Pan. This very tiny cafe is squeezed between warehouses and a little hard to find, but look for the yellow awning. There’s not much of a menu here, so you just talk to the owner to see what they have, which usually consists of a couple sandwiches, maybe a soup, and a selection of baked goods like muffins and big pastelitos. It looks like a to-go operation from the outside but they have a really tiny dining room with a few tables. It’s a great spot to take a lunch break and hide from your coworkers in peace.
The Citadel is a big food hall in Little River with a few vendors we really love that are worth prioritizing. United States Burger Service is responsible for our hands-down favorite burger in town, Frice Cream makes our favorite ice cream, Lil Laos is delicious (and Miami's only Laotian restaurant), The Shores does good Florida seafood, and Ash Pizza serves a solid Neapolitan pie. The Citadel itself is great for big groups, pretty casual, and has a full bar as well as rooftop seating with a surprisingly good sunset view.
Mamma Leone Bakery Little River
This Edgewater bakery has a location in Little River now, and it’s got all the stuff we loved about the original Mamma Leone, like a simple but delicious prosciutto panini, stuffed focaccia, and Italian donuts filled with all kinds of sugary stuff. There’s not a ton of room here, so don’t come with a huge group. But it’s a great place to grab a loaf and some dessert to go, and there’s a decent amount of counter seating that makes it a perfect spot for a quiet lunch.
Ironside Kitchen Pizza & Coffee Co
Ironside is a solid BYOB pizza place with spacious outdoor seating in a lush courtyard and a reasonable $10 corkage fee. The space is nice and spread out—with both small tables great for couples and very big groups. Unless it’s unbearably hot, sit in the courtyard. That outdoor seating is the best part about this place, and it's ideal for everything from dates to dinner with a few friends you haven't seen in way too long. The menu includes salads, pasta, and some small plates, but the Neapolitan pies are what you should focus on.
If you are in dire need of dessert—and a lot of it—go to Cindy Lou's Cookies. The Little River dessert shop is known for its huge and wonderful cookies and we like them a lot, especially the one with Snickers and potato chips. But some of the best things here aren't cookies. The rotating selection of pies are excellent and the fudgy brownie has a crunchy top layer of Rice Krispies. There are a couple seats in the small storefront, but this is mostly a takeout operation—which is good because whatever you order here will make you produce noises no stranger should hear.
Bakery Boys is a tiny Haitian to-go restaurant where you can get a styrofoam box full of some very good food—and a lot of it. They have dishes like soup joumou, Haitian spaghetti, and more. But we like the griot best. The chunks of pork have a crispy exterior, tender interior, and are served with thick tostones and a pile of tangy pikliz. Get a bit of everything together in one bite, and your mouth be thankful to exist in Miami. There is a small table by the counter, but this is definitely a takeout spot. There’s also no steam counter set up, so expect your food to take ten or 15 minutes to prepare.
The Plantisserie is a place you can hit up whether you’re looking for a quick meal or need some dinner supplies to cook at home. The vegan market/deli has plant-based empanadas, lasagna, ropa vieja, and a very good shepherd’s pie. If you’re in a rush, they also sell frozen versions of most of their entrees, as well as pizza, lentil burger patties, organic wines, and some more pantry items that will probably cause you to spend at least $25 more than you planned.
Almacen Central is what you want when you're looking for a chill lunch or breakfast spot to get some work done or just hang out and have a conversation. The Argentinian restaurant is located inside a big collection of warehouses that you can't spot from the street. The dining room is casual, quiet, and has lots of natural light. They serve reliably good dishes like chicken milanese (in sandwich form and on its own), beet salad, and a great prosciutto sandwich. They also open for dinner on Thursday and Friday. That's when you'll find more ambitious rotating specials like fugazzeta.
Hachidori is a restaurant in Little River serving mostly Japanese dishes, including one of the better bowls of ramen you'll find in Miami. That's what we usually focus on when we're here. But they also have a really underrated sake selection as well as a private room in the back called Kojin, where they offer an intimate tasting menu. It's a fun experience that usually offers a handful of interesting dishes, but you can also just come here to sit at the bar, drink sake, and eat izakaya snacks.
Big Mama’s BBQ
Big Mama's BBQ is a little outdoor barbecue spot on 79th Street that serves a mix of things like fried chicken, cheeseburgers, and pulled pork. It’s all solid enough to make a trip here when you’re craving a big plate of ribs, but Big Mama's sides are even better than the entrees—especially the Cajun fried okra, savory BBQ beans, and sweet cornbread. This place is pretty much just a to-go window, but they also have a fenced-in patio where you can sit down and eat on a barrel that’s been MacGyver-ed into a little table.
Tran An is a small Vietnamese restaurant where you can get pho, rice and noodle bowls, and small plates like shrimp chips and spring rolls. But our favorite thing to get here is a banh mi—specifically Tran An's OG Classic. It comes stuffed with a house Vietnamese pork roll, head cheese, and a generous smear of country pâté. The restaurant may be small, but it’s far from simple inside. There are mounted golden animal heads on the walls and a bathroom that feels like a tiny nightclub. Still, it's a good place for a casual weeknight dinner or a solo meal because they have a few tables meant for one person.