Coconut Grove always feels like it just got a very good massage. There’s a strange bubble around this historic neighborhood that blocks out the city’s usual chaos, and coming here is like a warm bath Miami can slide into after a long day. This is also why the Grove is a perfect place for a carefree, lazy meal—which is exactly what you’ll see people enjoying here on any given Saturday, from brunch till dinner.
This guide has plenty of spots like that, but also a Spanish restaurant inside a gas station, a Cuban cafe breaking traditional pastelito rules in the best ways possible, and a classic French restaurant that's always a blast. Keep them all in mind the next time you’re hungry and need an escape from the city without wasting too much gas.
Ariete is the perfect place to engage in some classic Miami indulgence while still feeling like a classy adult. Everything on the menu is fantastic, but if you're coming here to celebrate or just want dinner to feel like a special occasion in and of itself, get the canard a la presse—AKA the duck press. They wheel this medieval-looking machine to the table and use it to compress various parts of the duck into a deep, rich sauce. They then use that sauce to smother the absolute best duck you’ll ever taste in your life. The meal, which costs around $135 and serves two, also comes with flaky duck pastelitos, and more rotating sides that utilize every millimeter of the duck and its various parts. The stunningly good monkfish wellington is also a great move.
Le Bouchon is an incredibly charming little French restaurant right in the heart of Coconut Grove. And it’s truly a place that can trick your brain into thinking you’re in France for an hour and a half. For one, they give you free champagne when you sit down, which is just plain lovely and so un-Miami. Also, the interior has the look and personality of a lively Parisian bistro. The menu features comforting French dishes served in generous portions. Start with the garlicky escargots (and remember to save some of the free bread for mopping up the sauce). The foie gras with crispy slices of toast is another starter worth getting on the table. And the mussels are great. They easily feed two or three and come in a massive cast iron pot with a big pile of crispy french fries.
Los Felix is a great Mexican restaurant that really nails every aspect of the Great Restaurant Formula. The menu has interesting Mexican dishes you won’t find anywhere else in town, like a sweet potato tetela plated with a crown of perfectly grilled oyster mushrooms. The tortillas are fresh and thin, yet never tear and spill your pork cheek carnitas all over the place. The minimal dining room is a great size for a date or dinner with a few good friends. They have natural wine, a unanimously excellent menu, and a raw chocolate tart that should be legally required to order for dessert. To sum it up, come here next time you want a delicious dinner in an environment fun enough to make you want to drink 3/4s of a bottle of wine.
Krüs Kitchen is the sister restaurant of Los Félix, located just up the spiral staircase. Like its downstairs neighbor, Krüs feels more like a living room than a restaurant. The airy space—a pitch-perfect date spot, by the way—has a domed ceiling, scattered wooden tables, and shelves of natural wine and pantry supplies (which you can buy to-go). The menu is a seasonally rotating mix of crudos, pasta, and more. Because it changes often, we can't guarantee what you'll encounter here. But our last trip involved a hunk of fresh bread with anchovy/black garlic butter, smoked corn agnolotti, and beef cheek ragu—all incredibly delicious.
Shore to Door is a fish market that also operates as a restaurant on the weekend. There’s no menu here. Instead, the cook—who might be in the middle of cleaning a fish—will tell you what came in off the boat that morning. It could be fried corvina bites, whole yellowtail snapper, wahoo fish dip, or a dozen other sea creatures. But it will be delicious, and you can eat it in their fantastic backyard, which has a bunch of mismatched furniture and an atmosphere that feels very Key West. If you want a beer, just pop open the cooler and help yourself. Keep tabs on how many you drink, because you'll pay at the end of your meal.
Planta Queen is an entirely vegan restaurant (they also have a sister restaurant in South Beach). And even though the dishes here don’t quite do a pitch-perfect impression of the various Asian foods they claim to imitate, they’re still very good. Case in point: a vegan version of crab rangoon that doesn’t necessarily taste like crab rangoon, but is still one of the best fried dumplings in Miami—even before a dunk in the outstanding sweet and sour sauce. The compressed watermelon and miso-glazed eggplant nigiri are also tastier than a decent amount of Miami’s fish-based sushi. Planta Queen is very pretty too. The second-story restaurant has an open-air space, and is great for dates or special occasion dinners with a plant-based friend. Just please end the meal with the mochi, which are light and intensely flavorful.
Navé is an upscale Italian restaurant with a crisp, white dining room that feels like a spa or a fancy medical facility for patients who have been prescribed some combination of seafood and pasta. And Navé does both those things very well—so well that we firmly consider it one of Miami’s best Italian restaurants. While one of the pasta dishes should certainly be on the table, there are more good things at Navé. The crispy snapper milanese is so great that even though it’s the size of a kite, you will desperately wish there was much more. And their veal parm is also impressively crunchy, and easily one of the best versions in town. Navé isn’t a loud, energetic restaurant. It’s got a more subdued, understated personality than its neighbor (and sister restaurant) Ariete. So keep it in mind for a dinner with the in-laws or business meals.
If you’re looking for a burger in or around Coconut Grove, the answer is just about always Lokal. But even if you’re not craving the Juan’s Fidy-Fidy with a patty that’s half beef and half bacon, or their excellent version of a fast-food burger called Ronald’s Better Half, it’s still worth coming here for the New Mexico chili or fried alligator. Or you can just have a beer, stare at all the dogs people bring here, and try to convince your friends to save room for Lokal's ’80s milkshake bar, Vicky's, next door.
Most Miami gas station food consists of shriveled hotdogs and sketchy Jamaican beef patties, but El Carajo is a gas station where you’ll actually want to eat. Past the pumps, candy, and cigarettes, there’s a really great Spanish restaurant in the back, where you can order tons of tapas and drink a bottle of wine. They have a pulpo al ajillo you’ll absolutely finish, bacon-wrapped dates, and fluffy Spanish tortillas. There are also walls full of wine for sale here, which you can buy for your meal at retail price plus a $10 corkage fee.
Thanks to a big renovation and expansion, Chug’s is better than ever, and feels like a completely new restaurant. The Cuban spot has the DNA of a classic diner, with booths, counter seating, and laminated menus you can flip through on each table. It’s a great call for breakfast or brunch, but it’s also lively enough for a weekend dinner (especially since their cocktails are so good). The excellent food is familiar, mostly Cuban dishes and some great sandwiches. But there are plenty of unique twists along the way, like medianoche pierogis filled with ham and lechón, an incredibly flavorful meatloaf, and dessert that should be mandatory to order. But you can also keep it simple and just get the Chug burger, which is hands-down one of Miami's best burgers.
A.C.’s Icees is one of the last remaining bits of old Coconut Grove and an essential hot summer day pit stop. The cash-only food truck serves the best frozen lemonade in Miami and has been run by longtime Grove resident Allan Cohen since 1978. It's usually parked right outside Kennedy Park. There is truly nothing better when it feels like 174 degrees outside than one of Cohen's frosty frozen lemonades (maybe a hotdog too). After you've secured yours, take a walk through Kennedy Park and enjoy a perfect afternoon in the Grove.
Minty Z is a vegan dim sum restaurant in Coconut Grove that serves an assortment of dumplings, bao buns, and other plant-based dishes like General Tso's brussels sprouts and kimchi fried rice. There’s a lot to love about this food, whether you’re vegan or not. The carrot and black sesame bao, a pillowy soft bun that has a slightly nutty taste and walks the ideal line between sweet and savory, will most likely be one of the most delicious things you’ve eaten in recent memory. There are also a couple of outdoor tables and an interior with some fun pop art and snug tables good for dates.
This place is part restaurant, part market and specializes in very good Middle Eastern food. Once you claim your spot in the cafeteria-style line, you can pick a salad, platter, or pita wrap, which you can order with things like falafel, kafta, shawarma, and sides including stuffed grape leaves and za’atar fries. It might be tough to get a table during the lunch rush, but you can always kill time browsing the market, where you’ll find some oils, tea, and other things you definitely will not see at Publix.
Mister 01 started in a random office building just off Lincoln Road, where they're still serving some of Miami's strangest and most delicious pizza. There are now locations scattered around town, including in Coconut Grove's CocoWalk. And this location is a great place to sit down for a casual meal and dig into Mister 01 classics like the star luca pie, which has perfectly contained little pockets of hot ricotta cheese in its thin, folded crust. Or you can get weird with the coffee paolo, featuring mozzarella, gorgonzola, honey, spicy salami, and coffee grounds. It's a pizza that sends us into a temporary state of confusion before winning us over by the third bite. If there are no tables available in the indoor/outdoor space, walk up to their little pizza ventanita, place a to-go order, and have a picnic at one of the nearby parks.
When we want to feel like we’re in Key West without having to undergo that incredibly annoying drive, we go to Monty’s—which is a mostly outdoor space with wooden tables and a thatched roof made from palm fronds. Is it the best Florida seafood in town? No. (Go to Shore To Door for that.) But it's the kind of place you can accidentally get very drunk for a few different reasons: the frozen drinks are very strong but don’t taste like it, the perfectly fine fried seafood is going to make you want to keep drinking them, and the very relaxing water view will make you want to stick around for at least one more drink.
This historic bar is one of the best places to drink in Coconut Grove, but it's also a solid place to sit down for a meal too. There’s some comfortable outdoor seating for nice days and inside you can sip a bunch of different whiskeys in walls that feel and look like they’ve been here since 1920 (which they have). Taurus’ bar food game is incredibly strong since they share a kitchen with their fantastic neighbors Ariete (who also own and operate Taurus), and serve a very tasty rotating menu with dishes like roasted wings, fish dip, pizza, a great burger, and more.
There tends to be more outdoor than indoor seating in the Grove, a neighborhood where it takes some serious self-control to not steal fries from people’s plates as you walk by unsuspecting sidewalk tables. But Glass and Vine stands out, even among all the other places where you can eat outside. The restaurant’s big patio dips into Peacock Park, a lovely bit of green space where you might actually see a peacock roaming around while you eat your watermelon salad and ceviche. You can come for dinner, but this place is best for brunch or lunch on a gorgeous day.
Any Thai restaurant with a chunk of its menu dedicated exclusively to types of sriracha is off to a good start in our eyes. Thankfully that first impression continues through Atchana’s very good food, which includes versions of pad thai, crispy duck, and fried “Son-in-Law Eggs.” And if you happen to like one of those srirachas, you can take a bottle home, as we’ve done multiple times with the great mango version they make themselves.
Kush Coconut Grove is a member of the Lokal family. And while they do have burgers, you should come here if you're craving seafood instead. They have a great selection of fish sandwiches, a solid fish and chips, and also a really good Happy Hour during the week from 5-7pm, featuring a $5 beer/shot combo and reasonably cheap oysters. Brunch here is also a good call, and includes a few excuses to just eat dessert in the morning, like butterscotch banana pecan french toast. Either way, sit outside if the weather gods allow it.
No matter which Harry’s location you go to, the Neopolitan pizza is consistently good. But the one in the Grove is both casual and still nice enough for a date, weekend dinner, or any random night when you can’t remember the last time you had pizza. The crust is big and bubbly and the dough is soft, but it’s still a foldable slice you can eat with your hands. Toppings range from your typical margherita to rock shrimp. There are snacks and a small entree selection too, but stick to the pizza and maybe a warm chocolate cookie if you’re still hungry.
Bombay Darbar is a great place to have a big Indian meal. It’s not a very subtle aesthetic inside, and the blue-and-purple neon lighting makes you feel like you’re about to see David Guetta, not eat some very tasty lamb vindaloo. The menu is a massive greatest hits of basmati rice dishes, chicken, lamb, and things from the tandoor oven. The only hard ordering rule is to make sure you’ve got some naan on the table.