5 hidden restaurants in Miami that are worth the drive

5 Hidden Restaurants in Miami That Are Worth the Drive

Photo courtesy of Canva

By Jay Simms, Cynthia De Saint

February 5, 2024

From a Victorian-era charmer that serves high tea, to an estate that creates wines made from local tropical fruit, these off the beaten path places will charm you with their unique ambiance.

For those who love fine dining, cool bistros, trendy cafes, or family-owned nooks that serve great ethnic food, South Florida is brimming with options.

There are, of course, the Sunshine State’s most famous eateries, from Komodo in Miami to Blue Haven in Key West and Versailles in Little Havana. But there are also hidden gems—lesser-known, out-of-the-way places that will surprise and delight you not only with their excellent food but their unique, charming ambiance.

Here are five out-of-the-way restaurants for you to discover and enjoy.

The Tea Room, a hidden gem in Cauley Square

Originally built by William H. Cauley in 1903, historic Cauley Square is a former railway town located in Goulds. Back then, the buildings were used to house Flagler’s railway employees as they passed through town. Today, this village is a charming enclave of picturesque shops and handcrafted pioneer houses from the surrounding Redland, all of which now housing individual businesses.

A star among these shops and restaurants, The Tea Room remains one of Florida’s hidden gems. Established in 1974, this enchanting spot is filled with delicate china, beautiful crystal, and exquisite lace. Its six rooms are each outfitted in its own distinct décor and style, so enjoying a meal or just a “spot” of tea here is like stepping back in time to the Victorian era.

There’s indoor and outdoor seating as well as a menu that features soups, salads, and delicious sandwiches like the roasted seasonal vegetable sandwich with garlic hummus on rye bread.

As the name suggests, however, the tea service is the absolute highlight. High Tea, for example, includes mini quiche, assorted scones, cookies, banana breads, and finger sandwiches in a three-tiered platter along with a pot of your choice of tea. There’s even Nursery Tea for children 8 years old or younger.

Doce Provisions, a star in Little Havana

Voted one of the best restaurants in Miami by OpenTable diners, this homey “pedacito” of a Cuban eatery in Little Havana provides delicious comfort food from the Caribbean island.

At Doce Provisions the vibe is welcoming and definitely relaxed. In fact, the ambiance positively invites you to linger over the maduro tostones (fried sweet plantains) and goat cheese croquettes with guava marmalade—or enjoy a cold La Palma, the national beer of Cuba.

The husband-and-wife team of Lisetty Llampalla and Justin Sherrer always dreamed of opening a restaurant. “When I came here from Cuba, I never thought I’d be a chef,” Llampalla, who left the island in 2008, told Miami New Times. “I started out working in a kitchen and now…”

And now, Doce Provisions is one of Calle Ocho’s hottest “tesoros,” with a hidden patio that glows in the warmth of string lights, bright tables, and a wooden stage where diners can enjoy live music on Friday nights. This is the place to take friends to make them feel like familia.

Redland’s Schnebly Winery, a rural gem

Drive an hour south from downtown Miami on long country roads surrounded by acres of farmland and you’ll encounter a different world from the glittering skyline and hustle and bustle of the Magic City.

This area, known as the Redland, is also home to Schnebly Winery, a beautiful estate where, instead of producing wine using grapes, Peter Schnebly creates wines made from local tropical fruit—mangos, lychees, passionfruit, guava, starfruit, coconuts, and even avocadoes. Schnebly offers wine tastings and classes where you’ll learn how to pair wines with food, how to speak about wine, and more.

There’s also a restaurant on the lush premises where you can pair your meal with a glass of Schnebly wine. The Redlander Restaurant at Schnebly Winery is an open-air, farm-to-table restaurant that specializes in farm-fresh cuisine and local produce with a tropical Miami twist. There’s a vegan menu for guests who follow a plant-based diet.

With its tropical tiki huts, lush landscape, and beautiful, crystalline waterfalls, you’ll fall in love with this gem deep in the Redland.

NOMA Beach at Redfish, a seaside charmer

Founded by celebrity chef Donatella Arpaia, the daughter of Italian immigrants and no stranger to great food, NOMA Beach at Redfish is the only waterfront restaurant hidden away in Coral Gables, South Florida’s stunning “City Beautiful.”

With its intimate charm and a rooftop that offers gorgeous views of the water, this hidden gem has been named Most Romantic Restaurant by Coral Gables magazine, and it’s so easy to see why. As the sun goes down over Biscayne Bay, diners can share a delicious meal by Chef Donatella on the restaurant’s beautiful courtyard as they hear the murmur of the gently lapping waves from Matheson Hammock beach.

The menu includes fruit-filled antipasto like the popular granola bowl and delicious entrees like rigatoni pasta in a creamy vodka sauce. There’s even a menu for children, so the whole family can enjoy the flavors and views of this beachside wonder.

Meraki Greek Bistro, an Aegean passion

In Greek, Meraki means artistry, passion, and love for your craft—which would serve well as the motto of this colorful bistro in downtown Miami. Imagine a charming Greek oasis hidden among downtown’s tall buildings—a place that, with its simple lines and color palette, evoques the azure of the Aegean sea and imbues diners with a sense of elegance in its purest form.

The food served at Meraki Greek Bistro is simple yet elevated by Mediterranean flavors and fine wine. It includes every Greek delight, from the hearty Greek potato casserole to spanakorizo, a delicious rice pilaf cooked fresh with spinach, lemon, and Greek herbs. Homemade desserts include sweet baklava and, of course, Greek yogurt with fruit, nuts, and honey.

In this understated cottage with a charming garden and great food, guests are free to mix, mingle, and enjoy service with the best Greek hospitality.

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