In some cities, finding a place to eat with a big group is a common dilemma. But Miami hosts so many bachelorette parties, packs of tourists, and parties of 15 who would like separate checks that we’re usually more interested in the opposite question: where can we go to avoid big groups?
We know this makes us sound a bit like the lovechild of Ebenezer Scrooge and the Grinch, but once you sit between a Real Housewives-themed birthday party and a group of spring breakers who are using the word “chicks” with terrifying frequency, you’ll appreciate the serenity of these 12 places too.
The Jim And Neesie
Just because you’d rather not have to watch the table to your left drink vodka through phallic straws doesn’t mean you want to sit in a quiet room and eat crackers while you read the dictionary. You deserve to have fun too, which can sometimes mean a drink or three. In addition to serving good food, Jim and Neesie in Mid-Beach makes great cocktails - especially their margaritas. They go well with the oysters with cucumber mint mignonette and the excellent crispy octopus too. The best part is you can enjoy it all in what feels more like a dim living room than a noisy restaurant where servers carry whistles around their necks
Not only is the narrow dining room at Boia De pretty much made for parties of two, but the people coming here are mostly on dates or grabbing dinner with a few friends - not trying to celebrate because Randy just closed an epic deal and wants to blow some of that sweet commission on a round of Jäger bombs for the crew. You won’t find Jäger here anyway, just some tasty aperitivo cocktails and a great selection of wines by the glass. The mostly Italian menu is one of those you could throw darts at and be just fine - but definitely order the potato skin, which comes topped with stracciatella and caviar, the beef tartare, and ask about their custom ice cream flavors if you’re in a dessert mood.
There may be a few people at NIU Kitchen celebrating - even if it’s just the fact that they’re having one of the best meals in town. But at least everyone here is usually well behaved. Maybe because NIU Kitchen is so cool, it attracts people who know how to not act like asses in public. Or maybe it’s because everyone is too busy trying to wrap their head around the delicious cold tomato soup with mustard ice cream to engage in any bad behavior. The fact that this place is so tiny, and everyone here could turn their heads and judge you at the same time, could also be a deterrent for belligerence.
Via Emilia 9
South Beach isn’t a neighborhood that’s well-represented in this guide, because it’s a place that was designed almost exclusively for big, loud groups who want to take shots and celebrate something. You won’t find those people at Via Emilia 9, though, a relatively calm Italian restaurant a few blocks south of Lincoln Road. Here, instead of a sweaty horde of 17-year-olds trying to use fake IDs to get into a hookah bar, you’ll find very good pasta, tender grilled artichokes, and gnocco fritto, which might be our new favorite way to consume dough.
Pinch is the kind of place you go to when you want something way more better than you could possibly make at home, without having to put on anything fancier than what you’re already wearing in your living room. Chances are, most people at this small Upper East Side restaurant are going to be using their inside voices when their mouths aren’t full of things like croquetas, ceviche, and spicy brussels sprouts. Pinch is both casual enough to make leaving the house not feel like a mission and delicious enough to make you glad you didn’t just stay in and have some stale cereal.
With a restaurant the size of Kush, it’s usually safe to assume you won’t have to deal with a party of eight who want to sing one of those extended versions of “Happy Birthday” with extra verses and choreographed clapping. This Wynwood staple is tiny, which means you may have to wait, but it’ll be worth it - especially Friday-Sunday when you can wait for a table at Kush’s next-door bar/waiting room. It’s still lively enough inside to laugh loudly and have a few beers, but the amazing burgers are really what everyone is paying attention to. And they’re big enough to act as a mild sedative, which keeps things pretty chill.
Wabi Sabi is a seriously good restaurant that, at first glance, might just look like a casual grab-and-go option. But you should not just grab and go. You should sit and stay inside the relaxing little Upper East Side shop and get one of Wabi Sabi’s bowls, which you can customize with a base of sushi rice, cha-soba noodles, or greens and top with very good tuna or salmon. There are daily specials too, which include things like wagyu, uni, and toro.
The disturbances at Blue Collar are minimal, because anyone seated here is going to spend most of their time staring at the menu like your dog stares at you when you start unwrapping deli meat. And when the food does come, you’ll mostly hear clanking forks and chewing. You come to this tiny MiMo restaurant - which does excellent versions of Sunday dinner classics - to eat until you’re well past full. And you can do that with their great ribs, a selection of braised meats, and one of the best burgers in the city that will convert you to the ways of the Portuguese muffin.
Hiden is an omakase counter that can only fit a maximum of eight people - not including the two chefs who run the tiny kitchen. You do, however, have to drop $170 per person to have dinner here. But Hiden delivers the big, blowout meal that we’re all looking for sometimes. It’s located in the back of a taco place, and you have to enter a secret code to get in. Dinner consists of around 18 courses of bucket-list sushi and A5 wagyu ribeye that causes involuntary groans that might make everyone nervous if they weren’t already busy doing the same thing.
This small neighborhood cafe in Buena Vista is the kind of place you go to every time the thought of going to a grocery store and cooking something feels as daunting as free soloing El Capitan. The reliably good food here leans Mediterranean, but they have everything from paninis to salads and even a cheesesteak. There are also a lot of vegetarian options and very good smoothies if you want to keep things kind of healthy. The dining room is about the size of a studio apartment and you’re equally unlikely to encounter a bachelorette party on the sidewalk tables outside.
Rincon Escondido Tapas
Judging by the old-timey signage and wooden exterior, you might think Rincon Escondido was some sort of country western-themed restaurant. But thankfully no one is wearing cowboy hats and spurs inside the Spanish/Argentinian spot. There’s usually just one employee taking orders and a single chef who you can hear cooking a few feet from your table. It’s all tapas here, so bring a few people to share - but the tortilla de chorizo, fried goat cheese balls, and Serrano ham croquettes are all good enough to consume without any help.