The Infatuation is built on the idea of “Perfect For” categories, catering to your specific restaurant needs and situations. Date night? Birthday dinner with friends? Your college roommate from FSU is finally coming to Miami and has an excel spreadsheet worth of allergies? We can handle it.
But sometimes, there are situations that just don’t fit into a concise, predetermined category. And there is one such genre of restaurant we keep hearing about over and over again - at parties, in group texts, or in crowded ride-shares when we accidentally click the “pool” option. It’s what we’ve come to call the “Super Cute Reasonably Priced Restaurant To Catch Up With A Few Friends” (SCRPRTCUWFF). In general, SCRPRTCUWFFs are:
- Somewhat quiet.
- But not boring.
- Relatively small.
- With entrees mostly under $20 (or the equivalent).
- The option to drink either booze or caffeine.
You have our list - now go ahead and plan that Wednesday night dinner.
Silverlake Bistro is a casual North Miami restaurant with some sidewalk seating, outstanding taste in wallpaper, and simple but really great bistro dishes. Food is the main reason to come here, so bring those friends who will appreciate one of the best burgers in town (which you should absolutely add bacon to), chicken with impressively crispy skin, and a gorgeous plate of steak frites. It’s just impossible to have a bad meal here, especially if you add a bottle of wine to the equation.
Taqueria Hoja is a little taco spot you’ll find at the end of a bright hallway inside a Downtown building. The counter service spot is casual, and - despite its size - we’ve never struggled to find an open table. Tacos are what you’ll be eating here, and options include classics like carne asada and al pastor, as well as vegetarian versions like a very good koji sweet potato taco topped with a great morita sauce. They also have wonderful margaritas, which - at $12 each - are probably some of the cheapest margs you’ll find in Downtown.
Miami-Dade County has exactly one Ethiopian restaurant. We’d like more, but hey, at least our one Ethiopian restaurant is incredible. It’s also just a fun 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 things to get here are the Taste of Awash platter or the vegetarian combo if you don’t eat meat - both of which are great to share with a small group. An Ethiopian coffee to finish things off is a good call too unless you’re trying to go to sleep in the next eight hours.
Of course this guide is going to have a tiny natural wine bar filled with subtle shades of pink and shareable small plates - especially one that’s as good as Margot. This place is actually in the same hallway as Taqueria Hoja, so feel free to combine the two concepts as a dinner/drinks one-two-punch. But you can also just come here for a glass of wine and snacks like crudo, marinated olives, and a big pile of ham and potato chips while eavesdropping on the various first dates happening all around you.
La Latina is on the more casual end of the places on this guide, but is nonetheless a great spot to meet for a quick lunch or dinner without doing too much damage to your respective weekly dining budgets. You can get a great arepa for under $10 - or bigger pabellón platters for just a few bucks extra. And it’s quite nice inside too, with bright wallpaper and windows that let in a lot of natural light. You can always keep things going by walking next door to the wine bar Lagniappe, a spot in Miami’s “super cute” hall of fame.
You’ll notice there aren’t any Wynwood restaurants on this guide, because it’s not really a neighborhood known for being a relaxing and affordable place to eat. But Doya is as good as it gets in Wynwood in terms of “super cute, reasonably priced.” The big Aegean restaurant has some lovely outdoor seating, and a spacious dining room that’s pretty enough for a date but casual enough for an easy Wednesday dinner. The best part about Doya is the food, though. The menu is a huge list of meze plates, and just about everything is great - from the incredibly tender octopus salad to the beautifully cooked lamb kebab. Since it’s meze, you’ll need to get multiple plates on the table. But you can still have a good meal here without blowing through the month’s dining out budget.
Casa Florida works just fine when you’re in the mood to drink and eat underneath palm trees and string lights. There’s pretty much only outdoor seating here, and it’s usually quiet enough to have a conversation, but not so quiet that any moments of awkward silence will feel unbearable. This is more of a place to drink than eat - because the cocktails are very good and also the food menu is sort of limited. But there are solid things to snack on and share like heart of palm ceviche, fish dip, and hamachi tiradito.
Cafe Kush is a great little MiMo spot from the Kush team. Unlike their other concepts, this restaurant has a slight French tilt to its menu, and some lovely waterfront seating along a little canal. In addition to great burgers, you can also order steak frites, croque monsieur, and a gorgeous double-cut pork chop here. It also works for brunch or lunch, since most of the outdoor seating is shaded. Plus, they have beer and cocktails - always good when listening to your friend summarize their previous 13 months of online dating.
Editor’s Note: Over Under is temporarily closed
Over Under is an unpretentious spot your friend(s) will like, especially if these friends appreciate a good cocktail and cheeseburger. Over Under has both, as well as more good bar food like a fried chicken sandwich, wings, and smoked fish dip. It can get a little lively here during weekend nights, but you can always come for brunch and eat jackfruit chilaquiles and horchata french toast while your friend catches you up on the latest updates from your mutual high school bully.
For a slightly classier alternative to staying in, drinking wine, and ordering pizza, go to Ironside. Here, you can still bring your own bottle of wine (they’re BYOB), sit outside in a pretty courtyard, and eat much better pizza than you would have if you called that chain down the street (the pasta isn’t a bad choice either).
Paradis Books & Bread really feels like a place designed specifically for this guide. It’s objectively cute, reasonably priced, and on any given night here you will see groups of friends catching up over bottles of natural wine and tinned fish atop freshly baked bread. The North Miami wine bar/bakery is just ideal for those Thursday night dinner plans you forgot you made three weeks ago. It’s a little small inside, but you can almost always find an open spot at the outdoor tables.
Soya E Pomodoro looks like it burrowed into the side of a Downtown office building like a hibernating bear, marking its territory with dozens of slightly random paintings and pictures. But this pasta cave is ultimately way more charming than the layer of a fat, sleeping grizzly. They also host live jazz Thu-Sat, serve a pear and cheese-stuffed pasta we love (the fazzoletti di formaggio e pera), and have an atmosphere comfortable enough for you to finally admit to your old roommate that it was you who was stealing their laundry detergent. Entrees get a little pricey here, but the pastas (which are what you should be eating) all hover around $20.
Pinch is a quieter option if you want to hear every detail about what’s been going on with your most dramatic friend. But even if their stories aren’t as thrilling as you hoped, the food will make up for it. There’s nothing too crazy on the menu at this Upper East Side spot - they just do simple food fantastically. And the burger, croquetas, and gambas al ajillo will make you look like you’re incredibly interested, even if the story is a complete let down.
This place might not feel super cute inside, but what the dining room lacks in super cuteness, the outdoor tables make up for. So, in case it wasn’t clear, sit outside - especially at night, when the string lights are all lit up. The small menu at the Little Havana spot is Cuban fusion, and has some solid dishes like arroz imperial, fried chicken with plantain waffles, and chorizo croquettes.
If you’d like to chat over tacos and margaritas, Taquiza is another great place to do it. Though we’re going to suggest the North Beach location over the busier and often louder South Beach location for the purpose of this guide. The North Beach taco shop is a little more intimate and has an ocean breeze if you sit outside, but still serves the same great tacos and - more importantly - the totopos, which are the Michael Jordan of tortilla chips.
This Coconut Grove seafood market/restaurant is a perfect place for you and some friends to spread out, drink beer, and politely try not to eat all the conch salad while someone tells a very long story summing up the last year of their life. Shore To Door serves a rotating menu of local seafood Thursday through Sunday. The menu changes often, but whether you stop by when they have smoked fish dip, whole fried snapper, or conch salad, it’s going to be excellent. Beer is in the cooler, and you can help yourself.