MIAGuide

Where To Get Dinner With Someone Who Talks Too Loud

Places to take that human megaphone you call a friend.
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Miami is a city that does not seem to grasp the concept of an inside voice. This means we all have a Loud Mouth in our lives who we love (or at least tolerate) and occasionally agree to have dinner with. But the consequences of bringing that person to the wrong restaurant might involve making enemies with an entire dining room. Don't do that. Instead, bring that human megaphone you call a friend to a restaurant where volume is irrelevant, music is loud, and you will receive zero dirty looks when they start oversharing about their last one-night stand.

THE SPOTS

Latin

Little Havana

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Yelling is sort of mandatory at Little Havana's Cafe La Trova, thanks to the great live music that takes place in the dining room. And there’s also the fact that the bartenders occasionally whip out instruments and start jamming behind the bar. So, needless to say, things get loud here. But that's also the point. Cafe la Trova is the best spot in Miami to have a big, loud, and fun dinner that actually tastes good. The whole fried snapper and perfect daiquiris are far from an afterthought, and every meal we have at this Cuban spot here feels like a celebration, even if it’s just a regular old Tuesday. 

Downtown's Over Under has the DNA of a dive bar, upscale cocktail bar, and a very good restaurant all rolled into one. They'll occasionally do karaoke inside or stick a DJ right in the middle of the dining room. It's perfectly acceptable to get a little drunk here, but also fine to just hang out, drink water, and eat a cheeseburger and fish dip. All this is to say: Over Under wears a lot of hats. And none of them will mind if the volume of your voice is above average.

South Beach's Sweet Liberty is another bar where you can also eat good food. But it's first and foremost a bar, which means it is very much a safe space for friends who say hello by running towards you while literally screaming. Cocktail options are plentiful, and also include the world's best piña colada. To eat, there are great versions of bar snacking favorites like buffalo wings and chips with caviar onion dip as well as bigger entrees like steak frites and a solid cheeseburger. 

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings / @eatthecanvasllc

$$$$Perfect For:Lunch

Apocalypse BBQ feels like a Kendall house party. Twisted Sisters blares in the background and folks waiting for tables lean against walls, gazing longingly at smoked ribs. There’s also an Igloo cooler full of free Miller High Life on Wednesdays (and sometimes just when the line gets long). It’s the perfect place to bring your friend, Arturo, who laughs like Chewbacca and eats like him too. He’ll reach a new personal record for words per minute as he gorges himself on wings and ribs that are massaged in a cafecito rub and tossed in colada-flavored barbecue sauce. Sit there nodding, pretending you heard every word you didn’t while eating a skull-shaped piece of cornbread.

That stretch of Calle Ocho by Domino Park clogged with tourists is like a buffet of loud restaurants. But Sala’o is one of those few restaurants where the food is actually good and the blaring Latin music doesn’t feel so out of place. Sala’o specializes in modern Cuban seafood dishes, like sardine croquetas that hide slivers of roasted red peppers or a bowl of crispy fried glass minnows. They also have interesting cocktails, including a sherry old fashioned made with piloncillo (AKA unrefined cane sugar) and a jumbo coconut water ice cube. It’s not only a great place to take a loud friend, but the ideal place to take an out-of-towner who has been shouting “I’m in Miami, bitch!” since they touched down in MIA. At Sala’o they can let everyone know where they are (for the 20th time), get a selfie doing a little perreo, and then sit back down to enjoy a pan con minuta.

A perk of eating inside a warehouse is that your voice won't bounce off a low ceiling or cramped walls. But of course, that isn't the only perk to eating inside Allapattah's Hometown Barbecue, which is literally an old warehouse. This place serves all the things we expect from a stellar pit-smoked barbecue spot. Their ribs, brisket, mole-dusted wings, and smoked turkey BLT all make us want to go immediately chop down a tree so Hometown’s smoker place never runs out of wood. But this huge Allapattah warehouse also offers lots of great things we don’t necessarily expect at a barbecue joint, like excellent cocktails, a yucca bowl drizzled with avocado mayo, and a huge charred broccoli with chili oil and poblano crema.

Dinner at Esotico is a loud, boozy affair. The music is thumping and there's a decent chance you'll see a server bang a gong in the dining room while preparing a tableside cocktail that bursts into flame. In other words, this is precisely the sort of place to bring that friend who insists on holding a normal conversation in very crowded elevators. This is more of a place to drink and turn up with the assistance of lots of rum, but they do have a big menu with dumplings, poke bowls, ceviche, and an octopus hot dog—which is exactly what it sounds like and also better than it sounds like.

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