MIAGuide

Where To Avoid Big Loud Groups Who Want To Go "Woo!"

A.k.a. the anti-clubstaurant guide.
Where To Avoid Big Loud Groups Who Want To Go "Woo!" image

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings

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 birthday party of Tik Tok influencers and a group of spring breakers who are using the word “chicks” with terrifying frequency, you’ll appreciate the serenity of these relatively peaceful restaurants too.

THE SPOTS

Italian

Coral Way

$$$$Perfect For:Outdoor/Patio SituationCasual Weeknight DinnerWalk-InsDate Night

Coral House looks more like a home than a restaurant. And people here tend to conduct themselves as if they were in a friend’s house, so no napkin-waving or table-dancing. The prettiest seating is on the front patio, so save this place for a night when the weather is cooperating. The menu includes pasta, salad, and some good pizzas that are almost—but not quite—Neapolitan. It’s all good, but also reasonably priced, which makes this place a great spot for a casual date night or relatively chill group dinner where everyone can drink wine and share pizza.


photo credit: Cleveland Jennings

At first glance, Off Site looks like a small, chill bar perfect for a beer and a conversation—which it is. But the really remarkable thing about the Little River nano-brewery is the food. They have a small menu with recognizable things like a burger, Cuban sandwich, hot dog, wings, and fried chicken sandwich. It seems like normal bar food, but each dish is among the best versions of these very popular foods you’ll find anywhere in Miami. It makes Off Site feel like a museum dedicated to classic finger food—and it’s still a fun place to drink for folks who are allergic to bottle service.

Miami-Dade County has exactly one Ethiopian restaurant. We’d like more, but at least our one Ethiopian restaurant is incredible. It’s also just a lovely place to have a relaxing meal. The Miami Gardens restaurant is usually full of people tearing chunks of spongy injera bread and using it to scoop up piles of beautifully seasoned and spiced vegetables and meat. The best thing to get here is the Taste of Awash platter: portions of all the vegetarian, beef, and chicken entrees served in tiny piles atop an injera the size of a city bus’ steering wheel. An Ethiopian coffee to finish things off is a good call too—or just get another glass of the dangerously drinkable Ethiopian honey wine.


Next Door is a wine bar run by (and right next door to) Key Biscayne’s Flour & Weirdoughs. And it’s a perfect option for all occasions that call for a low-key night out with a bottle of wine and some excellent dishes involving bread. The menu is tight, but as good as you’d expect from one of Miami’s best bakeries. They make an outstanding choripan, eggplant escabeche served with sliced baguette, and a few sourdough pizzas. Nothing on the menu costs more than $20 either. The space isn’t really big enough to handle a huge group, but it’s perfect for couples and small groups that are very sick of DJs in the dining room.

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Unlike so many Wynwood restaurants, Hiyakawa is a serene, peaceful space where you’ll have no trouble devoting your full attention to the delicious plates in front of you. It also has this curved architecture that kind of makes you feel like you’re eating inside a fancy cave. This place makes some of Miami's best sushi (and one of the city's very best omakase experiences). Try to hit just about every section of the menu when placing an order—especially the sugata-mori appetizer, a rotating fish that's presented whole, with delicate strips of sashimi you get to grab right off the fish's belly. Just know that you will spend some money here.


Silverlake is a casual North Miami restaurant with outstanding taste in wallpaper and one of the most consistently delicious menus in Miami. This place is cute enough to show someone you’re trying, but relaxed enough to not make you self-conscious about that stain you just noticed on your shirt. Food is why you’re coming here though, and you can always expect to find one of Miami’s best burgers on the menu, as well as gnocchi mac and cheese and some sort of crispy-skinned bird.


Jass is a Mediterranean restaurant about five blocks north of the Design District, slightly hidden on a residential street. And this place is almost too perfect a date night spot. It has real candles, brick walls, and live jazz on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday—which is never so loud that you have to scream across the table. But even if you're not trying to woo a potential suitor, you should still come here. The Mediterranean food is good (and reasonably priced). Definitely order the clay pot of lamb, which comes encased in a dome of delicious brioche your server will slice open at the table. And know that the live music usually starts around 8:30, because that’s a big reason why you’re coming here too.


Thanks to velvet curtains and hidden soundproofing, Zucca is one of the quietest restaurants in Miami, with soundproofing that turns mighty Miami voices into smooth murmurs. It’s why your parents like it, but also why you should try it if you’re very tired of restaurant DJs. Plus, the Italian food is very good. Zucca’s slightly charred octopus is tender and comes with a zesty watercress and chickpea salad, but the highlight of this dish is a black squid chickpea sauce that needs to be on every bite. Then there’s the paccheri pasta you could wear on your wrist like a bracelet, which is served in a lobster-filled tomato sauce. For dessert, go with the airy saffron and passion fruit panna cotta.


The list of things we love about Krüs is longer than the spiral staircase you take to get to the dining room. On that list is a crudo so beautiful you’ll be nervous to make eye contact with it, a serene (but fun) atmosphere that does for date nights what gamma radiation did for Bruce Banner, and glass block windows that face west and make the entire restaurant feel like one big flickering candle during sunset. Because it’s upstairs, things are quieter at Krüs than at its downstairs sister restaurant, Los Felix. So rest assured that no one will bump into your chair while you're eating that magical crudo.


Inside this Gables spot, you’ll find a small bar, a few two-tops and four-tops, and a chalkboard listing out the day’s dishes. What you won't find: sweaty zombies swaying on their feet while staring into the light of their phones. Between courses, the parchment paper on your table will read like the tea leaves of a good meal—with oily trails of butter from tender escargot, a smattering of tangy steak tartare, and drops of french onion soup. You’re coming here for a leisurely, decadent, and relatively quiet meal. Just be sure to finish with the chocolate mousse that’s thick, bittersweet, and served in a coffee cup.


This classic Gables restaurant is an Italian restaurant where you can order veal parmesan with fork-friendly fries while sitting next to an NBA player and never know it. To create privacy, a chest-high divider splits the main dining room in half, and there’s so much soundproofing on the walls and ceiling, you’ll enter a meditative state before dessert arrives. If you’re looking for a stiff drink, there's a separate bar area, where you’re greeted by a stained glass ceiling that will make you want to whisper a few Hail Marys before lifting a cold martini to your lips.


Edgewater has plenty of casual spots serving very good things to eat, and La Latina is at the top of that list. The small restaurant has excellent Venezuelan food and makes some of the best arepas in Miami, most of which cost less than $10. There are also bigger platters that come with rice, beans, plantain, and a protein, as well as sides like the tequeños (that you should always order). All of the above tastes significantly better when drowned in the pink house sauce, by the way, so locate a bottle of that.


Ahi Sushi is only about the size of a very nice walk-in closet, and quiet enough inside that you almost forget you’re in the beating heart of Calle Ocho. The sushi counter can seat six to eight people comfortably, and their small a la carte menu has really good maki, nigiri, and sashimi. They also do a great omakase for $130 per person, if you're in the mood to splurge. They're BYOB too, so hit up Union Beer Store across the street for some beer or wine before you sit down.


NIU Wine is the drinking equivalent of a cashmere sweater. The narrow space has an intimate dinner party energy—with candlelight and tables perfect for small groups of two or three. There’s not really a wine menu. You just chat with the staff, and they bring you some bottles to try. NIU Wine is more bar than restaurant (so don’t come starving), but there is a small (and delicious) rotating food menu of tapas that will go great with a glass of that red you picked because you liked the label. 


Pinch is the kind of place you go to when you want something way 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.


Most folks know Wabi Sabi, an excellent Japanese restaurant in the Upper East Side, for its donburi bowls. Those are still a great order here, but the menu has expanded over the years, and now they offer maki, nigiri, and sashimi—and it's all really good. You can order nigiri and handrolls by the piece, but they also have several omakase options—all under $100. Plus, you can enjoy all of the above in Wabi Sabi’s lovely little dining room, which is the ideal setting for a non-screamy meal.


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.


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 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 unlikely to encounter a bachelorette party on the sidewalk tables outside (unless they are very lost).


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.

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