Lately, it feels like all we do is circle the block, wide-eyed and frantic, screaming out, “Is that a spot?!” every eight seconds. There are simply too many cars and not enough parking spots in this city, and we’re getting a little tired of nervously sweating in the driver’s seat, worrying about whether or not we’re going to make our reservation. If you’re feeling the same way, try one of the places on this guide. These are our favorite restaurants with easy to find, relatively inexpensive (or, in some cases, free) parking.
Key Biscayne's Vinya is the kind of neighborhood wine bar that'll instantly make you open Zillow to see if there are any available properties within a one-mile radius of this place. It's a casual yet versatile spot with indoor and outdoor seating, plenty of free parking, and a fantastic liquor store you can browse after you eat. It works equally well for post-work drinks as it does for a lowkey birthday dinner with a few friends and lots of wine. The food here is also so much better than your average wine bar charcuterie. There are small plates, salads (including a gorgeous niçoise), and bigger entrees, like lobster thermidor sitting in a delicious gruyère sauce you get to mop up with slices of toasted brioche. Their manchego croquetas also stand out even in a city oversaturated with croquetas. And luckily the cocktails are excellent too, which is good because when you do pull up Zillow, you might need something stronger than wine.
Blue Collar probably has more customer parking spots than seats. And that’s the kind of ratio we like. There are a few spots right next to the dining room along Biscayne. But if that section is looking a little crowded, then go to the side of the building along NE 67th Street, where you’ll find a row of even more parking spots. The MiMo restaurant is a great option for a low-stress dinner with parents who haven’t quite figured out rideshare apps yet. Plus, the menu full of comfort food classics is unanimously excellent - especially their burger.
The parking lot of this Tamiami Cuban/Korean/Peruvian fusion spot is huge. The restaurant shares its lot with a Publix, a Goodwill, and more businesses that’ll probably be closed if you come here for dinner, which means: more spots for you. And you can celebrate that it only took you 4.8 seconds to find parking with some great dishes like korean fried chicken, arroz con pollo fritters, and a croqueta pizza.
Getting a reservation at Boia De may not be the easiest thing in the world. But once you do snag that reservation, take comfort in the fact that you will have no shortage of free parking options to choose from. It’s one of the perks of being a restaurant located in a strip mall. Other perks of Boia De include having an impossibly cute dining room, potato skins covered in stracciatella and caviar, and bone marrow shots.
We admit, there have been times where we couldn’t find a spot in the narrow parking lot outside Calle Ocho’s El Rey De Las Fritas. But, we estimate about a 75% success rate when we come here. Plus, it’s not located in a particularly busy section of Calle Ocho, so street parking isn’t much of a headache either. Another plus: fritas. Specifically, the best versions you’ll find in Miami, with perfectly spiced meat and a small tumbleweed of crispy potato sticks.
Phuc Yea is another MiMo spot with a private parking lot, which is our favorite three words right behind “ice cream sandwich.” We’ve always been able to find an open spot at this great Vietnamese/Cajun restaurant, and the parking is just steps away from the back entrance. This is good because after you consume Phuc Yea’s jacuzzi-size pho, you won’t be in a walking mood.
Oishi Thai is a great spot in North Miami that serves Thai food, but also some of the best sushi in Miami, which is what we normally get when we come here. Also, they’ve got a parking lot big enough to double park a small army of minivans because they’re located in a large shopping complex. The easy parking situation will give you more time to browse the very large menu. You can’t go wrong with any of the rolls, but definitely start with the white fish truffle, which is served in little spoons of lychee, yuzu, truffle oil, and white fish that you get to slurp like an oyster.
You won’t find many Downtown restaurants on this guide, because it’s a neighborhood that is the parking equivalent of a game of Tetris set on the highest difficulty level. However, Verde is an exception. This casual spot in the back of the PAMM not only has a ridiculously good waterfront view, but it also has its own little parking garage on the ground floor of the building. It’s not free, but it is very convenient, and much better than trying to parallel park on East Flagler while rude people honk at you.
If you’re in a burger mood, but also definitely not in a “spend 45 minutes looking for parking mood” then head to Royal Castle. The historic Miami diner has ample free parking and is known for its delicious sliders, which are absolutely what you want to get here. They sell them in “six-packs” and there’s also a 24/7 breakfast menu in case you want to stick around for some eggs afterward. You did save so much time on parking, after all.
The Miami Ironside complex, home of Ironside pizza, has its own little parking lot that we’ve never had trouble finding a spot in. The parking used to be free, but now it’s a pay by phone situation. However, you’ll make your money back if you take advantage of the BYOB policy, and bring your own bottle of wine to go with one of the very good Neapolitan pies they serve here. They only charge a $10 corkage fee, which is so much cheaper than getting your car towed because you risked it with a sketchy spot just a little too close to a fire hydrant.
Islas Canarias is a classic spot and one of the most popular Cuban restaurants in Miami. Luckily, though, it also happens to be located in a parking lot big enough to host a professional football game. This is why we’ve never had trouble finding a spot within eyesight of the Tamiami restaurant. And this - in addition to the best croquetas in town - is why we’ll happily keep coming back here any chance we get. But another option to consider if you’re in the area is Amelia’s 1931, an equally delicious (but much smaller) Cuban fusion restaurant run by the granddaughter of the Islas Canarias founders.
Kon Chau is one of our favorite places for dim sum and dumplings in Miami, and every time we’ve been here their parking lot is absolutely flush with open spots just begging for our 2016 Honda Accord. They serve dim sum all day - not just on the weekend - and we normally load the table up with roast duck buns, green tea mushroom dumplings, shumai, and a whole lot more. But not so much food that we’re too full to go pick up some frozen dumplings from Lucky Oriental, an Asian grocery store in the same shopping complex.
Clive’s, one of our favorite Jamaican restaurants in town, doesn’t have a very big parking lot. But every time we’ve gone to this Little Haiti restaurant, we’ve easily found a spot. If you’re not so lucky, street parking around here also tends to be plentiful. And even if you do have to walk more than 25 yards from your car to Clive’s dining room, it’ll be worth it to eat some of the best jerk chicken Miami has to offer.
Everything about Jimmy’s, a classic MiMo diner, is wonderfully old school, including the fact that they have a free parking lot. Finding one of those in Miami these days feels like spotting a stegosaurus rex crossing the street. But Jimmy’s is stuck in time in the best ways possible, and it’s one of the best - and few remaining - greasy spoon diners in Miami, perfect for chugging coffee, eating eggs, and banishing hangovers.