Where To Eat When You’re Sick Of Being Told To Order 2-3 Small Plates Each

The Miami restaurants where you can get your own damn plate of food.
Where To Eat When You’re Sick Of Being Told To Order 2-3 Small Plates Each  image

Small plates have their perks. It can be fun to try a bunch of different things and pretend you’re a Roman emperor for roughly 45 minutes. But sometimes you don’t feel like spending $16 to fight over a grilled octopus tentacle the size of a No. 2 pencil, only to end up at the nearest drive-thru an hour later because you’re still kind of hungry. But as more and more restaurants have moved to serving small plates over the years, it can be surprisingly hard to find a place where a single plate of food is enough for an actual adult human. But they do exist, and we put some of our favorites on this guide, from a classic Nicaraguan spot for carne asada to the best Thai food in town.



Coconut Grove

$$$$Perfect For:Happy HourOutdoor/Patio SituationDrinking Good Wine


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This great Argentinian restaurant is small—with the exception of its portions. And if you're really hungry, you're coming here for the meat parrillada, which comes with two tender skirt steaks, two perfectly grilled short ribs, two chorrizos, two morcillas, two juicy chicken thighs, and could easily feed four. The dining room looks like a Buenos Aires bistro—but the best seats are outside on a tiny deck elevated about a foot off the ground. Sit there and you might feel like royalty as you watch everyone else eat at normal height. They also have the earliest weekday happy hour in the Grove, which goes from 3pm-6pm.

Panya Thai is our favorite Thai restaurant in Miami. The casual, windowless restaurant on 163rd St (one of Miami's tastiest streets) makes the city's best Thai food, and although we recommend getting the spicy jumping squid on the table as an appetizer, there are plenty of big entrees that'll fill you up just fine on their own. This is one of the only places in town where you can get big bowls of boat noodle soup, which features rice noodles floating in a mahogany-colored, sweet and savory pork broth. The curries are great too, and even if you just want a simple pad Thai, they have Miami's best version of that too.

Le Bouchon is an incredibly charming little French restaurant in the heart of Coconut Grove. It’s truly a place that can trick your brain into thinking you’re in France for an hour and a half. For one, they give you free champagne when you sit down, which is just plain lovely and so un-Miami. Also, the interior has the look and personality of a lively Parisian bistro. The menu features comforting French dishes with entrees served in portions that feel like a competitive eating challenge. The great mussels come in a massive cast iron pot with a big pile of crispy french fries. And the excellent chicken fricassée is served in an equally large portion that will most likely be living in your refrigerator the next day. 

Korean Kitchen is a great casual Korean spot in North Miami. They do a lot of to-go orders but they also have a little covered outdoor deck and a small dining room where you can sit down, order a bottle of soju, and enjoy some of the best kimchi in Miami. There are many more tasty Korean dishes here served in big, delicious portions. Their seafood pancake is the size of a frisbee, the bibimbap is more than enough for one person, and there are lots of great soups and stews filled with rice cakes, seafood, and more. Come here next time you’re craving Korean and tired of squirrel-sized portions of tuna tartare.

You will not have to worry about small plates at Little Havana’s Pinolandia. You actually won’t even have to worry about plates at all—it’s a takeout spot, and your very good Nicaraguan food will be handed to you in a styrofoam box. Ordering is pretty easy here too: you want the carne asada con queso frito, a couple slabs of grilled steak with rice and beans, and a big hunk of fried cheese. It’s delicious, incredibly filling, and features absolutely zero unnecessary microgreens.

You will probably want to order the entire menu at Silverlake Bistro—not because you have to, but because everything is so good and you’re not great at making decisions. You will eventually have to settle on something, though—and while it is possible to order a few appetizers here, you can also have a great meal with only a single plate. The steak frites, crispy-skinned chicken, and their excellent burger with cheddar and porcini mayo are all like Liam Neeson in [insert Liam Neeson action movie here]. They get the job done all on their own, and need no assistance from a little gem salad.

photo credit: Tasty Planet



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Chug’s in Coconut Grove has the DNA of an old school diner, and—like it should be at a proper diner—it’s possible to order one dish and be full. They have a wonderful burger, pan con bistec, and a pan con minuta. If you’d prefer something in the non-sandwich universe, go for the perfectly cooked snapper. And the all-day breakfast is a delicious thing here too. There are some starters worth ordering—like the medianoche pierogies or any of the croquetas and pastelitos—but having a great meal here certainly doesn’t require 12 plates on the table.

There are plenty of tasty dishes to order at this small, casual North Beach counter. But if you're on the hunt for a single heaping plate of food that can feed not only you, but three of your closest friends—then order the bandeja paisa. The huge plate includes steak, fried pork rind, beans, plantains, rice, avocado, and an egg. And it’s not just the quantity that’s impressive (or the fact that all that costs just over $10). The thin steak is cooked with just a touch of pink in the center, and the plantains go so well with the saltiness of the pork.

Frenchie’s Diner is a French bistro in Coral Gables with a chalkboard full of dishes that do not require three supplemental small plates to leave you full. You’re coming here for a leisurely, decadent, and casual meal—which you’ll get whether you order the rich French onion soup or a crackly-skinned duck confit. Sit under the gentle glow of Frenchie’s red lighting and be sure to finish with the chocolate mousse that’s thick, bittersweet, and served in a coffee cup.

Chef Creole is a Little Haiti institution, and also another place where you can count on receiving a styrofoam box full of delicious Haitian and Caribbean food. The oxtail, grilled conch, and wings are a great call here. You can take it to-go (they have a drive-thru too) or walk it across the parking lot to their outdoor seating in a little tiki hut with a roof made from palm fronds. It's a lovely place to drink beer and eat oxtail on a breezy day.

Allapattah’s Plaza Seafood is the kind of place you go when you want a Styrofoam box stuffed to the brim with fried seafood. Our favorite thing to order here is the fish butterfly, a very affordable portion of great fried fish, rice, beans, and tostones. It's mostly a to-go spot, but they have a little covered patio where you can sit and eat if your food simply smells too good to survive the ride home.

The pho at this tiny North Miami Beach Vietnamese spot is not one of those sad, watered-down versions that requires overzealous squirts of sriracha and hoisin to be edible. Pho Mi 2 Go serve’s one of Miami’s best pho—and it's more than enough for one hungry person who's going to scream if they hear the word "tapas" again. The broth here is so rich and beefy that it really doesn’t need any doctoring, although we find that a squirt of lime juice or a Thai basil leaf in each spoonful certainly doesn’t hurt. Get the beef combo pho, which includes brisket, garlicky meatballs, and raw slices of steak that cook in the hot broth. 

At this classic Italian spot, you’re treated with familiarity, whether they know you or not—but if they do, service is so personable they probably remember your high school GPA. This is old school Italian-American food, meaning you will leave about three notches past full. Our favorite dish here is the veal parmesan. It’s not on the menu, but they can prepare veal any way you want. The restaurant has two sections: a gorgeous bar with a stained glass ceiling and an intimate dining room. It’s a delightful time warp—with soundproof ceilings and walls—but a welcome one that insulates your table from neighboring conversations.

Naomi’s is one of our favorite Haitian restaurants in Miami (and also one of our favorite places to eat outside in the city). Food here is served cafeteria-style. You can pick between proteins like goat stew, jerk chicken, and oxtail, which are then thrown into styrofoam containers with sides like rice and peas, mac and cheese, and plantains. You can take your food to-go, but as long as it’s not raining or unbearably hot, walk around to the side of the building, find a seat in their lovely courtyard, and befriend a rooster while you eat.

Even competitive hot dog eating champion Joey Chestnut would have trouble taking down three entrees at Blue Collar. Well, he could probably do it, but he’d need a nap afterward. The wonderful MiMo restaurant is like a museum of mostly American comfort foods, and serves heavy plates of ribs, rotating braised meats, spicy oxtail, and one of the best burgers in Miami. Portions are always generous at the small restaurant, but the truly remarkable part about Blue Collar is not the quantity on your plate, but the quality of every last crumb, which you will inevitably finish even though you’re about 43% past “full.”

Clive’s is a really great Jamaican restaurant in Little Haiti, and home to some of the best jerk chicken too. There are more very good entrees (which come with two sides) like curry goat, oxtail, jerk pork, and fried conch. We usually only order one entree when we eat here, and even that’s enough to send us home with enough leftovers for the next 24-48 hours.

This spot is Temporarily Closed.

Wynwood’s Kush is refreshingly simple. You want a burger. And while picking between their very delicious burger varieties may be a little less simple, we have faith that you’ll figure it out. And if you really can’t decide, get the frita. And while the Wynwood Kush is our favorite location, any of the spots from Kush hospitality are also pretty reliable places to go when you’ve grown weary of menus that require a five-minute explanation.

Enriqueta’s is one of the best old-school Cuban spots in Miami, and a place where you’re all but guaranteed not to pay $14 for a single sardine. The casual restaurant is on the outskirts of Wynwood, sitting comically close to a high-rise apartment that probably wasn’t able to successfully negotiate for Enriqueta’s lot. This is good news for us since we can still come here for a great (and incredibly affordable) breakfast or lunch. Focus on the massive sandwich selection, featuring a very solid pan con bistec and one of the best croqueta preparadas in Miami.

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