We have never had more trouble getting into restaurants. We swear there was a time when you could walk into 27 on a Thursday night with no reservation and be seated within 15 minutes. But those days feel like ancient history, and all this rejection from Resy and OpenTable is starting to negatively impact our self esteem. If you’ve been experiencing similar difficulty/emotional fatigue, hopefully this guide will help. It’s got 15 restaurants that you can (most likely) walk into tonight without a reservation. But, you know, it’s never a bad idea to call first and ask what the wait is. Just in case.
It’s hard to find a good restaurant in Brickell that’s not fully booked until 2023. But Boss Cow is one of the best walk-in options in the neighborhood. The little seafood spot certainly gets crowded, but there’s bar seating and more tables than it looks like from the outside. It’s mostly a raw bar spot, but there are also some good cooked dishes on the menu, like lobster ramen and seafood omelettes over rice, which you can pair with a bottle of rosé that won’t cost $100.
One of the benefits of being a restaurant inside a warehouse is that there’s no shortage of seating options, and that’s what makes Hometown such a great walk-in restaurant. You order at the counter and then the seating is first come, first served. Even when it’s crowded, you can still (probably) find a table outside or snag a bar seat. But honestly, we’d eat this food while riding a unicycle on the shoulder of I-95. It’s that good. The smoked turkey BLT, ribs, brisket - it’s all phenomenal. There are also cocktails and occasional live music on the weekends. But even then, you should find a table with ease.
South Beach is a land of reservations and long waits for tables. We can’t guarantee you won’t have to wait for a table at La Leggenda, but we’ve always been seated immediately at this secluded (and very good) pizzeria just across from the always-slammed Española Way. Pizza is what you should be eating here. They have indoor and outdoor seating, wine, and serve a really great Neapolitan pie. And even though it’s only a baseball toss away from a Señor Frog’s, this place is pretty peaceful and quiet enough to have a conversation.
You really need a reservation for about 99.99% of the mind-blowing omakase options in Miami - except one: Sushi Yasu Tanaka. This vendor inside the Design District’s MIA Market doesn’t even take reservations. Just walk in, and order one of the nigiri platters, hand rolls, or the $59 11-piece omakase. And even though MIA Market feels more like a cafeteria for rich adults (because it sort of is) than an intimate omakase counter, you can rest assured that the sushi at this place is as good as any $200-per-person dinner in Miami.
Brunch is not known for being a low-stress meal. It not only requires frantically texting friends at 10:30am to make sure they wake up, but usually a reservation as well. Except at Rosie’s in Overtown. They don’t take reservations, and every time we’ve come here we’ve gotten a table immediately. The food not only comes out quick, but it’s phenomenal - all of it. Any form of fried chicken here is going to be great, but also keep an ear out for specials, like their excellent pastrami hash, which is a dish worth sending 17 wake-up-texts to a friend.
Stanzione is in Brickell, so our imaginary lawyers are advising us to give you the following disclaimer: Brickell is an incredibly dense and crowded neighborhood, so there is always a chance any restaurant in the area could be unexpectedly slammed. However, we’ve easily walked into Stanzione before (they don’t take reservations) and we’ll try to walk in again, because the Neapolitan pizza here is incredibly good. They also have eggplant parm, burrata and prosciutto, and a small but great wine list. It’s casual, but still nice enough for a date or a weekend dinner with a few friends who appreciate the combination of wine and pizza dough.
There aren’t a ton of places in South Beach where you can 1) walk in without a reservation, and 2) expect to have an amazing meal every single time. This is why you should always keep Taquiza in mind. The restaurant is casual, and good for both a post-beach snack or a quick dinner before a night out. But the best part about this place is the food. The great Mexican spot (which also has a North Beach location) serves fantastic tacos, margaritas, and must-order totopos.
Sushi Chef is a great, casual Japanese restaurant on Coral Way with a huge menu. Come here for sushi, karaage chicken, and a fantastic grilled yellowtail collar. You won’t need a reservation, and it’s a perfect affordable, low-stress weekday dinner. They also have a little market with pantry items for sale, so you can grab some yuzu extract on your way out.
The Citadel is a food hall in Little Haiti and it can get crowded, but you’ll never be turned away at the door. Plus, even when it’s packed, finding a table in the huge space is easy enough. It’ll be worth it too, because some of our favorite food in the city is here: United States Burger Service, Lil Laos, Frice ice cream, and an excellent new seafood spot called The Shores, who make a fried oyster sandwich that now lives in our subconscious. They also have a rooftop, which is the only thing you might need reservations for.
Taqueria Hoja is the low-key taco/margarita spot we’ve been trying to manifest more of in this city. It’s a small restaurant inside a building in Downtown, where you can sit down and enjoy crispy shrimp and potato flautas, a koji sweet potato burrito, and some excellent tacos - all while sipping an equally great smoky pineapple margarita. And the best part? None of this requires a $50 deposit on Tock.
Itamae, the absolutely perfect Nikkei restaurant in the Design District, just started taking reservations. But, thanks to some spacious outdoor seating in a pedestrian-only plaza, we’ve really never had any trouble getting seated here - which is odd, because this is hands-down one of the best restaurants in Miami. However, we’re not complaining. Come here next time you want a fantastic meal consisting of wine and some of the best ceviche and sushi you’ll ever try.
Certain parts of Calle Ocho can get slammed, but Mi Rinconcito Mexicano is just a tad west of the street’s busiest part. And this casual, colorful spot is one of the best Mexican restaurants in Miami. It’s very hard to not have a great meal, especially if you’re in the mood for tacos, sopes, and margaritas. Reservations are not a thing here, though we can see a world where there is a wait for a table - so try to come at slightly off hours if you truly don’t have the time.
Another walk-in friendly food hall to know about: 1-800-Lucky. Keep in mind that this is Wynwood, so things can get very crowded on weekend nights. But, we’ve always been able to find a table here eventually. And when you do too, order some drinks and prioritize two vendors: Jeepney and B-Side. Jeepney is a great Filipino stand, serving delicious sisig and one of the best burgers in town. And B-Side is a sushi counter run by the Itamae team, who are to raw fish what A24 is to movies.
Wabi Sabi is an excellent Japanese restaurant in the Upper East Side. They do donburi bowls and the kind of delicious sushi that normally requires a reservation and a very thick credit card. But you don’t need to spend a ton to have a good meal here. If you do want to go big though, they have a nigiri omakase for $100, as well as two other omakase options ranging from $75 to $41. And the best part: you can enjoy all of the above in Wabi Sabi’s quiet, lowkey dining room.
When walking around South Beach reservation-less and hungry, consider Benh Mi. It’s mostly a takeout spot, though there are some stools inside and a few outdoor tables for parties of two. But more than the atmosphere, the real reason to come here is for the best bánh mì in Miami. There are five bánh mì options on the menu, including a cheesy egg omelette, char siu mushroom, fried chicken, roasted pork, and short rib. And they’re all just absolutely perfect.