MIAGuide

The Best Pop-Ups In Miami

The fuel range on your Honda HR-V might last longer than these pop-ups, so check them out before it’s too late.
A burger with a purple bun.

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings / @eatthecanvasllc

Like unneutered chihuahuas, pop-ups are unpredictable, move around a lot, and hope to god they don’t get kicked out of the spaces hosting them. It might feel exhausting to keep up with them, but the Miami pop-ups on this guide are worth the extra hour you were already going to spend on Instagram. These sporadic cooks are responsible for the city’s best smashburgers, vegan Tex-Mex, and dumplings. And while the information on this guide was accurate when we hit publish, pop-ups are, after all, constantly popping up and down and left and right. So we’ve linked out to each of their Instagram pages below—that’s where you’ll find their most up-to-date information.

THE POP-UPS

photo credit: Mariana Trabanino

Japanese

Coral Gables

$$$$Perfect For:Eating At The Bar
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Where: Mainly at Seven Seas for a late-night meal.

Chicken is often morphed into nuggets for children, or baked for an easily forgettable weeknight meal. But this yakitori pop-up butchers every conceivable part of the chicken into bite-sized pieces of poultry poetry. These skewers are available outside the dive bar Seven Seas from Thursday through Saturday starting at 10pm. To accompany the delicious chicken thighs, inner thighs, shoulders, and hearts, Yakitori Yatai makes some incredible vegetable skewers—like black truffle potatoes and shiso ponzu butter corn. Anything they stab with a bamboo stick will taste great. And make sure to order their yuzu lemonade that would put every child’s lemonade stand out of business if it was available in stores.

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings / @eatthecanvasllc

Where To Find Them: Tinta y Cafe in Miami Shores.

The chefs at this Miami Shores pop-up make magic with ingredients you probably have smooshed into the bottom of your sneakers right now. They turn sea grapes into sorbet and use bait fish in their crudo. EntreNos has taken the all-things-local mission statement further than anywhere else in town by sourcing 99.9% of its menu from the frustratingly long state of Florida. And four nights a week they turn a casual sandwich shop into a restaurant that makes you contemplate how delicious your own backyard is. If your favorite day of the week is the trip to the farmers market, this could be your new favorite dinner spot in Miami. Even though it’s just a pop-up, we think it’s one of the very best restaurants in Miami.

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings / @eatthecanvasllc

$$$$Perfect For:VegansVegetarians

Where To Find Them: Tâm Tâm on the last Sunday of every month.

On the last Sunday of every month, Isabel’s takes over the kitchen at Tâm Tâm and gives us a day of vegan magic. All it takes is a textured vegetable protein and a no-skips Latin playlist to transform the Vietnamese restaurant into a plant-based Tex-Mex party. A table of two won’t have any issue ordering the entire menu (which changes all the time). If they have it, get the barbacoa. Slightly sweet and creamy mole is the base for a mountain of soy protein that has a delightfully bouncy texture. Reservations are announced on their Instagram a week before the last Sunday of every month, so be on the lookout for that.

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings / @eatthecanvasllc

Where To Find Them: Hard to say, but worth the effort. 

Want to hear about the saddest thing to ever happen to us? It was when we learned that Masa Craft was leaving its old kitchen in a Doral brewery just a week after we finally ate their ube longanisa frita smash, which instantly became our favorite thing between bread in the entire city. But even though Masa Craft no longer has a reliable home, it is still in pop-up mode at bars, farmers market, or other random events they’ll post about. Masa still bounces around town serving bulgogi cheesesteaks, croquetas, and occasionally that ube longanisa frita smash. Next time they announce a pop-up, don’t wait until it’s too late.

photo credit: CLEVELAND JENNINGS / @EATTHECANVASLLC

$$$$Perfect For:Late Night Eats

Where To Find Them: At Brick for a late-night meal.

Li Cho is a Haitian fried chicken pop-up that lives inside Wynwood’s outdoor club, Brick, and makes one of the best fried chicken sandwiches we’ve eaten drunk or sober. Of the three options on the menu, go for the maduro sandwich with crispy chicken, spicy mayo, and sweet fried plantains between toasted brioche buns that look like an ad for tanning spray. Li Cho is open from 9pm until 2:30am on Thursday and Friday, and opens in the afternoon on Saturday (starting at 4pm) and Sunday (starting at 2pm). If you want to experience this place while Brick is a little more chill, stop by around 10pm, when the backyard isn’t too crowded yet.

Where To Find Them: At Off Site every Monday night.

Haochi was one of the many outstanding pop-ups that took over the impossibly small kitchen at Union Beer Store, which is now tragically closed. But Haochi lives on, making Monday dinners three trillion times more exciting at Off Site in Little River. Their menu changes often, but usually consists of the best dumplings you’ll ever have in Miami (so order them all). Otherwise, you can usually expect some sort of numbing Szechuan noodle situation. And the last time we went, we had a steak tartar served on top of a scallion pancake that will forever be the best Monday we’ve ever lived through.

photo credit: Courtesy Cowy Burgers

$$$$Perfect For:Eating At The Bar

Where To Find Them: Usually every Sunday at J. Wakefield Brewing. 

Two words: bacon jam. That gloriously chunky ingredient, which is used liberally in the titular Cowy burger, makes this one of the absolute best smashburgers in Miami right now. And even the burgers without the bacon jam—like the craver covered with confit red peppers—are great. They’re a tad messy, but they give each burger a diaper-esque wrapping job that saves your lap from sauce drippings. Cowy also makes life easy on their fans by diligently posting upcoming pop-up schedules on Instagram.

Where To Find Them: Many places, but usually at Imperial Moto Café Sunday morning.

Anyone who’s found themselves complaining about Miami’s lack of California-style burritos and tacos (us, on more than one occasion) should hunt down this pop-up. Luckily, Adrian’s is quite communicative on Instagram, so they’re easy to find. On Sundays, they set up in front of Imperial Moto Café from about 10am to 2pm, serving excellent breakfast burritos, ribeye tacos, and what they call a “brunchwrap supreme,” which is basically an extra crunchy version of their breakfast burritos. Stuffed with monterey jack, tater tots, steak, eggs, and salsa, it’s a fantastic hangover option.

Where To Find Them: Doing takeout every Sunday at Tâm Tâm (except the last Sunday of the month).

If you weren't fortunate enough to try Fratesi's Pizza during its pop-up days at Over Under, good news: it's back. Sort of. This time the bar pies are coming out of Tâm Tâm's kitchen every Sunday for takeout only. They used to dine in, but the crowds got a little too intense. Nevertheless, the pizza is still excellent. Their bar pies are ultra thin, super crispy, and the melted cheese nearly covers the entire surface of the pizza.

photo credit: Ryan Pfeffer

$$$$Perfect For:Walk-Ins

Where To Find Them: Slightly unpredictable so keep an eye on their Instagram. 

Turn on Instagram post notifications to keep track of this very good Turkish pop-up that operates on a sporadic monthly basis. One of the chefs is from Mandolin, and Kül’s food is an extension of the kinds of excellent Aegean flavors you’ll find over there. The menu changes with every event—they’ve grilled in Palma’s parking lot and done a four-course dinner with QP Tapas—but it usually shows off a mix of great small plates like monkfish kebab, burnt carrot and miso hummus, and grilled tilefish collar. Last time we caught them at NIU Wine, we ate a spicy razor clam sandwich and a crispy prawn surrounded by wedges of dreamy ripe tomatoes.

Where To Find Them: Tuesdays at J Wakefield and also lots of other places.

In the world of Miami pop-ups, The Wolf of Tacos is approaching classic status. The al pastor pop-up still holds it down at J Wakefield every Tuesday, but is also seemingly present at every event where there’s room for a portable canopy and a trompo. This is because the Wolf's al pastor is one of the best versions in town and comes freshly carved from a vertical spit, just how the taco gods intended. The housemade salsas are lovely and we still get excited any time we encounter this place randomly in the wild.

photo credit: Pedro Sanchez Mayorca

$$$$Perfect For:Eating At The Bar

Where To Find Them: Occasionally at J Wakefield, Fort Lauderdale’s Sidewalk Bottle Shop, and more. 

Sandoches calls its Japanese sandos “inspired by Latin America.” But other than some subtle touches like cebolla criolla and an aji salsa on the pork belly, these are basically just tasty renditions of Japanese sandwiches. The crust-on shokupan is squishy yet sturdy, and protein options usually include things like brisket katsu, chicken katsu, and egg salad. But the best thing on the menu is the side of fried, fluffy mashed potato balls topped with an airy cheese sauce. Sandoches is good about posting upcoming pop-up locations, so keep up with their Instagram to find them and their little potato balls next.

Where To Find Them: Not many places these days, but apparently a restaurant is coming soon.

This pop-up deserves a lot of credit for making Miami fall in love with smashburgers. Before there was one every seven inches in Wynwood, there was Ted’s, selling out every Sunday at J Wakefield. You won’t find Ted’s at Wakefield much these days, but the reason for their recent low activity is because an actual restaurant is apparently on the way. We hope so, because these are still some of the best smashburgers in the city—the kind of smashburger that looks like it was smashed by Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson (famous Icelandic strongman, in case you were about to Google that.)

photo credit: CLEVELAND JENNINGS / @EATTHECANVASLLC

$$$$Perfect For:Walk-Ins

Where To Find Them: At Gramps Getaway every day, and Smorgasburg on the weekends.

This pop-up is all about oysters. Whenever we encounter them around Miami, they’ve got a small but impressive selection of regional mollusks sitting on ice, waiting to be shucked and handed over with a little cup of hot chili mignonette. Lately, The Lazy Oyster has been easier to find because they’ve taken up a daily residency at Gramps Getaway. There, in a little outdoor hut, they offer raw oysters, lobster rolls, and the occasional special like razor clams or chargrilled oysters topped with elote. It’s exactly the kind of menu you want to encounter at a waterfront bar in Miami with frozen drinks. But they also offer oyster delivery in case you want to have an at-home oyster date night with your cat.

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