Where To Go In Wynwood If You’re Sick Of Wynwood

Wynwood can be overwhelming, but here are some casual places where you can actually have a conversation.

Wynwood is like selfie sticks or the concept of escape rooms. It was a lot more fun and interesting ten years ago. The once arts district has since been gentrified with the force of a thousand Tesla-driving developers, drained of pretty much all local art, and turned into a place where people go to get incredibly drunk. And if you are one of the folks interested in getting incredibly drunk, this guide is not for you. This guide—a mix of bars and restaurants—is for people who want to find the relatively relaxed slices of Wynwood, free from tacky clubs, intoxicated hordes, and migraine-inducing music.

The Spots

We tend to be as suspicious of big Wynwood restaurants as we are of an unknown number that wants to talk to us about the money we’re owed by the IRS. But Doya is a wonderful surprise, and dinner here is as delightful as finding out the IRS does, in fact, owe you $5,000. There’s really nothing we don’t enjoy about Doya. The big Aegean restaurant has some lovely outdoor seating and a spacious dining room that never feels cramped or chaotic. The best part about Doya is the food, though. The menu is a huge list of very good meze plates. The octopus in the octopus salad is as tender as fresh mozzarella, the lamb kebab is beautifully cooked, and the huge mussels are served in a perfectly balanced wine and garlic sauce.

Kush is the best spot to enjoy Wynwood while hiding from Wynwood. This is thanks mostly to its location, which is right on the southern edge of Wynwood—far enough from most bars and clubs that you won’t have to worry about some drunk dude trying to steal a fry off your plate. But also, Kush is always a good time. It’s one of the best restaurants in Miami, and serves phenomenal burgers you’ll want to write a song about.

Wynwood’s Pez Loco is a Mexican seafood restaurant in that weird outdoor mall thing where Salty Donut also lives, which is a complex mercifully free of annoyingly loud clubs or bars. Pez Loco is fairly upscale, stylish, and usually pretty chill. The food and drinks are also very good. Start with the thick, super crunchy tostadas and a trio of salsas that include a perfect salsa verde, a fiery mango salsa, and one with tomatoes and chocolate. The smoked pineapple salad tastes like the soul of tacos al pastor reincarnated as a cool, refreshing appetizer. But if we had to choose just one dish for a peaceful solo meal here, it would be the octopus puttanesca: tender pieces of octopus in a spicy, savory tomato sauce accented with orange peel and tossed with radiatore.

Fans of beer, Star Wars, or reasonably chill bars where you can actually hear the person next to you will probably enjoy J Wakefield. And if you happen to like all three, you’re going to love it. J Wakefield is a small brewery covered in murals of Star Wars characters (including a Baby Yoda dumpster in the front). It’s a simple space with indoor and outdoor seating. There’s always a good selection of rotating beers, and also an incredible smash burger pop-up, Ted’s Burgers, that flips patties outside on the weekends.

At Beaker & Grey, dinner will be fun, taste good, and come with a zero percent chance of bad dance music playing so loud that your fork vibrates off the table and onto the floor. This spacious restaurant is on North Miami Ave, which is right on the sideline of Wynwood and away from the densest, drunkest crowds. Cocktails here are great, and the food is reliably good and meant to be shared. Order the cheeseburger croquettes, chicken wings, and anything else two-thirds of the table can agree on.

There is quite possibly no restaurant in Wynwood more isolated from Wynwood than Hiden. The tiny omakase counter is located behind a door inside The Taco Stand, which you can only open with a code that’s emailed to you on the day of your reservation. Dinner costs about $200 per person (not including drinks) and the meal will consist of about 18 courses of astronomically good sushi. Also, they have the best bathroom in Wynwood, with one of those very high-tech toilets with a heated seat. Just thought you might like to know that.

The food at Momosan is fine, and the ramen is very good. But best of all—at least for the purposes of this guide—Momosan’s energy level hit that sweet spot that made us feel like we were out on the town, but not a town overrun by tequila zombies. More like a fun town with good food and a noise level that doesn’t make us want to shove napkins into our ears.

Palatino is a wonderful little Jamaican restaurant on the quieter side of NW 2nd Ave, a couple blocks north of where Wynwood congestion begins. It’s a fine place to sit down and eat jerk chicken, curry goat, roti, and drink an Irish moss. You will be able to have a conversation with ease here, and we can all but guarantee you won’t have to suffer through any song that David Guetta was creatively involved with.

Even if you are very over Wynwood, you still probably appreciate ice cream. And you’ll find some of the best ice cream in town at Dasher and Crank, a little scoop shop near the southern edge of Wynwood. There isn’t a flavor here that doesn’t sound (and taste) delicious. Personally, we struggle to not order the Salty Beach (coconut ice cream, sea salt, and graham cracker) every time, but we occasionally break our streak for the ube.

Gramps is a time capsule full of everything that made Wynwood exciting before developers tore it to shreds: lots of color, culture, and booze. Inside the bar you’ll find sneaky good cocktails, cold beer, and just the right amount of kitsch. Outside there’s a tropical kaleidoscope of palm trees and paint, where fantastic DJs, drag, and live music take turns sharing the stage. You can spend a lot of time at Gramps without getting bored, and when you get hungry, they also have the best pizza within a five-mile radius.

If you’re looking for plant-based food, or simply for a restaurant that won’t mind if you’re wearing shorts and socks that don’t match, go to Love Life Cafe. It’s a fast-casual operation with tables good for small groups as well as some counter seating for solo dining. The menu is long, and pretty diverse for a plant-based spot, with options ranging from arepas and pizzas to tacos and burgers.

Want a very good poke bowl without having to make a reservation or wait 30 minutes on the sidewalk for a table? Ono Poke is a great fast casual spot, where you can grab a poke bowl to-go or sit down and eat it in a small and relatively quiet dining room. It’s a quick option if you’re trying to get in and out of Wynwood before rush hour starts, or the late-night crowd rolls into town like an intoxicated hurricane.

We should warn you that the crowds at Zak on Friday and Sunday (they’re closed Saturdays) can be intense. So avoid those days if you’re suffering from Wynwood fatigue. However, weekdays are relatively calm, especially if you come between the breakfast and lunch rush. Everything that comes out of the oven here is excellent, including the babka, bagels, and every single sandwich and toast option. They also recently built some outdoor seating that’s shaded by palm fronds, and it’s a delightful, relaxing place to consume bread.

Cerveceria is an indoor/outdoor brewery and restaurant big enough to have its own zip code. Despite the size and amount of beer here, things don’t get too wild. It’s another one of those spots that’s on the outskirts of Wynwood and mostly away from the mayhem—a place you can confidently bring the family. The Cuban brewery serves things like yucca fries, jerk chicken wings, ceviche, and shockingly good plantain chips we’d very much like to pack a suitcase full of. There’s also usually live music outside during the weekend.

Wynwood Brewing is a modest taproom that’s been serving great beer in Wynwood since 2011, which is pretty old for the neighborhood. Thankfully, they’ve stuck around and are still a great place to have a beer, play a board game, and chat. Sometimes there’s a food truck parked outside—and they have outdoor seating now, too. It’s very laid-back and a couple blocks away from the busiest parts of the neighborhood, so you can come here knowing there’ll be no DJ abusing the airhorn sound effect.

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