A Guide To Miami’s “Super Cute Reasonably Priced Restaurants To Catch Up With A Few Friends”Where to finally meet up with those people you haven’t seen in six months.
Sometimes, there are situations that just don’t fit into a concise, predetermined category. And one such genre of restaurant we keep hearing about over and over again is what we’ve come to call the “Super Cute Reasonably Priced Restaurant To Catch Up With A Few Friends” (SCRPRTCUWFF). In general, SCRPRTCUWFFs are:
But not boring.
Where you can expect to have a full meal, including a drink, for under $50 per person.
Now go ahead and plan that Wednesday night dinner.
Paradis Books & Bread feels like a place designed specifically for this guide. It’s objectively cute, reasonably priced, and on any given night here you will see groups of friends catching up over bottles of excellent wine, $3 slices of pizza, and tinned fish atop freshly baked bread. The North Miami wine bar/bakery is just ideal for those Thursday night dinner plans you forgot you made three weeks ago. It’s a little small inside, but you can usually find an open spot at the outdoor tables.
Next Door is a wine bar run by (and right next door to) Key Biscayne’s Flour & Weirdoughs. And it’s a perfect option for all occasions that call for a chill night out with a bottle of wine and some excellent dishes involving bread. The menu is tight, but as good as you’d expect from one of Miami’s best bakeries. They make a great choripan, plates of pickled things served with crispy baguette chips, and excellent sourdough pizza. Nothing on the menu costs more than $20 either. And if it’s nice out, they slide open the windows to take advantage of the ocean breeze.
La Fresa Francesa is a beautiful Hialeah interpretation of classic French food. The restaurant is segmented into three different dining rooms, which feel like a multi-abuela design collaboration. The art ranges from Girl With A Pearl Earring to random needlepoint landscapes, and doilies are abundant. It’s deeply charming to anyone with an affinity for mismatched maximalism. But the food is more focused. La Fresa’s classic steak frites and french onion soup are amazing, but there are also dishes that could only happen in Hialeah, like a foie gras and guayaba pastelito.
Silverlake Bistro (La Fresa's sister restaurant) is a casual North Beach restaurant with some sidewalk seating, outstanding taste in wallpaper, and simple but really great bistro dishes. Food is the main reason to come here, so bring those friends who will appreciate one of the best burgers in town (which you should absolutely add bacon to), chicken with impressively crispy skin, and duck fat-seared gnocchi. It’s just impossible to have a bad meal here, especially if you add a bottle of wine to the equation.
Cute is everywhere at Milly's, a casual Venezuelan spot in Kendall. The empanada-shaped mirror near the bathrooms, the calming dark blue walls that rival a weighted blanket, and the bright mural of two dessert travelers stumbling upon Milly's like it's a little oasis—so cute. All of it. The menu is classics done well, like arepas, cachapas, and what are definitely some of the best Venezuelan empanadas in Miami. Nothing on that menu is more than $15 either, and Milly’s is a great way to convince any friends who never go south of Coconut Grove to come visit you in Kendall.
Kendall’s Shibui has been cooking Japanese food for Miami since back when a lot of the county thought “omakase” was a local DJ. Not much has changed in the nearly 40 years it’s been open, especially the perfectly cozy second-floor dining space, which features low tables that require you to sit on the ground. Definitely ask for a seat up there (call and make a reservation to guarantee you get one) and don't feel awkward when your legs get tangled up under the table. There is a little bit of everything on the menu, including Japanese-American favorites, like teriyaki and California rolls, and harder-to-find specialties, like beef tataki, natto, and a sukiyaki that’s big enough for four people to share.
Schnitzel House is a higher (but not high) price point option on this guide. You can rack up a bill if you go too hard on appetizers and cocktails. But their big chicken schnitzel with lemon mashed potatoes—a meal all on its own—is just $25. Cocktails average around $14 too, which you don’t see often in this era of $18 negronis. Plus, Schnitzel House has one of our favorite designs in town. It’s got splashes of ‘80s Miami sprinkled throughout the restaurant. There are mirrored surfaces, glass blocks in the patio bar, and it’s such a fun reimagining of the classic German restaurant that used to occupy the same space.
Coral House is an Italian restaurant where dinner feels like eating in someone’s front yard. The space looks more like a house than a restaurant, and the prettiest seating is on the front patio, so save this place for a night when the weather is cooperating. The menu is Italian and includes pasta, salad, and some good pizzas that are almost—but not quite—Neapolitan. This place is perfect for a low-stress group dinner where everyone can drink wine and share pizza.
Miami-Dade County has exactly one Ethiopian restaurant. We’d like more, but hey, at least our one Ethiopian restaurant is incredible. It’s also just a lovely place to have a relaxing meal. The Miami Gardens restaurant is usually full of people tearing chunks of spongy injera bread and using it to scoop up piles of beautifully seasoned and spiced vegetables and meat. The best thing to get here is the Taste of Awash platter: portions of all the vegetarian, beef, and chicken entrees served in tiny piles atop an injera the size of a city bus’ steering wheel. An Ethiopian coffee to finish things off is a good call too—or just get another glass of the dangerously drinkable Ethiopian honey wine.
Pinch is a charming MiMo spot that feels like eating inside someone's house (we're pretty sure it used to be one), and will make you want to take off your shoes (please don't). They do simple dishes fantastically. And the burger, croquetas, and gambas al ajillo will make you look like you’re incredibly interested in what your friends are saying, even if their story is tragically devoid of anything resembling a plot or climax.
Fiorito is a great Argentinian restaurant in Little Haiti, and almost always the right answer for a laidback walk-in dinner involving wine, red meat, and murals of Argentine fútbol gods. Fiorito has indoor seating and an outdoor patio—both firmly within the realm of super cute. The dishes hover around $20 or less, except for some of the bigger steaks (which you can split anyway). And bottles of wine go for as low as $40. Start off with the mollejas crocantes, sausage sampler platter, and—if you’re not in the mood for a big hunk of red meat—one of the pasta options, like the lamb pappardelle.
On the spectrum of what we consider reasonably priced, Ghee is on the higher end. But this place is still an undeniable deal when you consider that it’s one of the very best restaurants in Miami. If you want to stick to a budget, you can get chicken tikka masala for under $25. But you won’t regret spending an extra $6 for the turmeric-marinated local fish in coconut curry. You can also load the table up with naan to help round out the meal. And Ghee’s big, spacious dining room works wonderfully for having a slightly-too-loud conversation while making sure Bethany isn’t taking more than her fair share of the short rib dosa.
NIU Wine is the drinking equivalent of a cashmere sweater. The narrow space has an intimate dinner party energy—with candlelight and tables perfect for small groups of two or three. There’s not really a wine menu. You just chat with the staff, and they bring you some bottles to try. NIU Wine is more bar than restaurant (so don’t come starving), but there is a small (and delicious) rotating food menu of tapas that will go great with a glass of that red you picked because you liked the label.
Thorn is perfect for any millennial friends trying to relive their 20s. Because that was probably the last time you sat on a comfortable Victorian couch inside a warehouse bar, sipping a $13 cocktail while listening to Foster The People and considering whether or not to order the cauliflower (you should). The lounge area in the back is a great place to catch up before you sit down to eat. Plus, there’s a separate ice cream counter if you’ve swapped out late-night drinks for late-night cones since your 20s. And our favorite cocktail here (the voodoo doll) costs $13. That’s the kind of nostalgia we can get behind.
Being waited on can sometimes be awkward when the conversation is too good (or weird) to risk interrupting. Luckily, Naomi’s not only has cafeteria-style service, but also one of Miami's cutest patios. This place serves standard Haitian dishes (minus the pork, so get your griot elsewhere). But what they lack in porcine options they make up for with a selection of vegan options and a great jerk chicken. Pick out what you want, pay, and take your styrofoam box to their back patio outfitted with mismatched furniture and a few roosters.
Soya E Pomodoro looks like it burrowed into the side of a Downtown office building like a hibernating bear, marking its territory with dozens of slightly random paintings and pictures. But this pasta cave is ultimately way more charming than the layer of a fat, sleeping grizzly. They also occasionally host live jazz, serve a pear and cheese-stuffed pasta we love, and have an atmosphere comfortable enough for you to finally admit to your old roommate that it was you who was stealing their laundry detergent.
If you’d like to chat over tacos and margaritas without needing to make a reservation or worry about what to wear, Taquiza is a great place to do it. The North Beach taco shop is very casual, has outdoor tables close enough to the beach that you can feel the ocean breeze, and serves some of the best tacos in Miami. But you are not leaving here without ordering their totopos, which are the Michael Jordan of tortilla chips.