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12 Classic Miami Restaurants Everyone Should Try

These spots are worth the visit

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There’s a reason certain restaurants are still around—ambiance, service, and above all, good food. There are times when people want old school, tried and true classics. Places that never disappoint and thus, are still around. Here’s a list of some of Miami’s classic restaurants listed in geographical order from north to south.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

La Camaronera Seafood Joint and Fish Market

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The Garcia brothers initially opened La Camaronera in 1966 as a fish market. Ten years later, the brothers decided to add deep fryers and u-shaped counters to the market and began selling the day’s catch. Today, the family owned, Cuban fish fry and fish market continues to be a popular spot serving a variety of fish dishes including the much talked about pan con minuta (fried snapper sandwich), fried shrimp platter, and conch fritters.  

Joe's Stone Crab

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For more than a century, Joe’s has been the stone crab destination. But there’s more than just stone crabs here. Along with a slew of seafood dishes available, other highlights include a (surprisingly) inexpensive half fried chicken, key lime pie, and free parking for all patrons dining at Joe’s — which in itself pays for the fried chicken and key lime pie.

Versailles Restaurant Cuban Cuisine

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Versailles has been on the map since opening more than four decades ago and a common place to find politicians seeking political support as well as tourists and locals wanting to eat Cuban food. With a variety of hearty and reasonably priced daily specials such as vaca frita de pollo (shredded fried chicken) and arroz imperial (chicken and rice with ham, mayo, and melted cheese), Versailles keeps patrons happy and coming back for more.

La Carreta

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The original location of La Carreta opened on Calle Ocho opened in 1976 and has since spawned eight locations throughout South Florida — including Miami International Airport and Mercy Hospital. Customer favorites include the Cuban sandwich with mariquitas (crispy plantain strips), and palomilla steak with rice, black beans, and sweet plantains. Daily specials are also offered and vary depending on the location visited.

Casola's Pizzeria & Sub Shop

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What began as a counter service pizzeria in 1982, is now a bustling eatery serving up some of the largest slices of pizza in Miami. While there is no doubt that most frequent Casola’s for the pizza, the subs and croissant sandwiches should not be overlooked—plus patrons get to sample the pizza while waiting on orders.

Islas Canarias Restaurant

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While the debate over Miami’s best croqueta will always prevail, the scale tends to tip towards Isla Canarias. The family owned restaurant was established in 1977 and now also has a café/bakery serving those looking for a quick bite. Enjoy traditional Cuban cuisine with fifteen daily specials available for lunch and dinner, as well as breakfast every day of the week.

Christy's Restaurant

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Coral Gables’ resident steakhouse has been in business since 1978. Enjoy a classic experience beginning with a Caesar salad and ending with the table side flambéed baked Alaska. For those not craving meat, Christy’s also offers seafood and poultry as well as soups and salads.

Tropical Chinese Restaurant

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In late 1984 Tropical Chinese opened its doors in a strip mall on Bird Road. Serving Hong Kong style cuisine and push cart dim sum, those craving Chinese food head here for that fix. The menu highlights include the two-course Peking duck carved table side for the crispy skin with pancakes and then returned to the kitchen where it is wok sautéed with vegetables and back to the table to consume, the spicy Szechuan peppercorn fish, and the curry coconut beef hot pot.

Arbetter's Hot Dogs

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Get that chili dog fix at family owned Arbetter’s, where the chili recipe comes from the Italian born matriarch of the family—the cheese fries are also a customer favorite. The eatery opened in Downtown Miami back in 1959 and relocated to its current location about twelve years later. The location isn’t fancy but it keeps the prices down and the customers returning and after all, isn’t it all about the food?  

Frankie's Pizza

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Miami’s home of the square pizza has had a devoted following since 1955. Pizza lovers have been enjoying slices on the premises as well as at home for many years. Frankie’s half-baked pizzas are ideal to take home and eat later or to have shipped to those who want a slice of home.

Captain's Tavern Restaurant

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Whomever said that good seafood cannot be found inland has never eaten at Captain’s Tavern. For almost 50 years, owner Bill Bowers has been relying on a network of seafood suppliers who deliver whole fishes that are instantly filleted on site. Make sure to check out the Tuesday night special of two-for-one Maine lobsters weighing a minimum of one pound each, and the wine list hailed as one of America’s 50 Most Amazing Wine Experiences by Food & Wine.

Knaus Berry Farm

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While the sticky bun king is only open for a little less than half a year, South Floridians flock to Knaus Berry Farm when it does open its doors. The lines are long but worth the wait. The concept began with a roadside strawberry stand and grew into what has become a Redland’s staple in 1959. Aside from the popular sticky buns, Knaus Berry Farm also sells produce, baked breads, pies, cheesecakes, and jellies. Make sure to grab a shake to go or enjoy while picking some fresh berries on the farm.

La Camaronera Seafood Joint and Fish Market

The Garcia brothers initially opened La Camaronera in 1966 as a fish market. Ten years later, the brothers decided to add deep fryers and u-shaped counters to the market and began selling the day’s catch. Today, the family owned, Cuban fish fry and fish market continues to be a popular spot serving a variety of fish dishes including the much talked about pan con minuta (fried snapper sandwich), fried shrimp platter, and conch fritters.  

Joe's Stone Crab

For more than a century, Joe’s has been the stone crab destination. But there’s more than just stone crabs here. Along with a slew of seafood dishes available, other highlights include a (surprisingly) inexpensive half fried chicken, key lime pie, and free parking for all patrons dining at Joe’s — which in itself pays for the fried chicken and key lime pie.

Versailles Restaurant Cuban Cuisine

Versailles has been on the map since opening more than four decades ago and a common place to find politicians seeking political support as well as tourists and locals wanting to eat Cuban food. With a variety of hearty and reasonably priced daily specials such as vaca frita de pollo (shredded fried chicken) and arroz imperial (chicken and rice with ham, mayo, and melted cheese), Versailles keeps patrons happy and coming back for more.

La Carreta

The original location of La Carreta opened on Calle Ocho opened in 1976 and has since spawned eight locations throughout South Florida — including Miami International Airport and Mercy Hospital. Customer favorites include the Cuban sandwich with mariquitas (crispy plantain strips), and palomilla steak with rice, black beans, and sweet plantains. Daily specials are also offered and vary depending on the location visited.

Casola's Pizzeria & Sub Shop

What began as a counter service pizzeria in 1982, is now a bustling eatery serving up some of the largest slices of pizza in Miami. While there is no doubt that most frequent Casola’s for the pizza, the subs and croissant sandwiches should not be overlooked—plus patrons get to sample the pizza while waiting on orders.

Islas Canarias Restaurant

While the debate over Miami’s best croqueta will always prevail, the scale tends to tip towards Isla Canarias. The family owned restaurant was established in 1977 and now also has a café/bakery serving those looking for a quick bite. Enjoy traditional Cuban cuisine with fifteen daily specials available for lunch and dinner, as well as breakfast every day of the week.

Christy's Restaurant

Coral Gables’ resident steakhouse has been in business since 1978. Enjoy a classic experience beginning with a Caesar salad and ending with the table side flambéed baked Alaska. For those not craving meat, Christy’s also offers seafood and poultry as well as soups and salads.

Tropical Chinese Restaurant

In late 1984 Tropical Chinese opened its doors in a strip mall on Bird Road. Serving Hong Kong style cuisine and push cart dim sum, those craving Chinese food head here for that fix. The menu highlights include the two-course Peking duck carved table side for the crispy skin with pancakes and then returned to the kitchen where it is wok sautéed with vegetables and back to the table to consume, the spicy Szechuan peppercorn fish, and the curry coconut beef hot pot.

Arbetter's Hot Dogs

Get that chili dog fix at family owned Arbetter’s, where the chili recipe comes from the Italian born matriarch of the family—the cheese fries are also a customer favorite. The eatery opened in Downtown Miami back in 1959 and relocated to its current location about twelve years later. The location isn’t fancy but it keeps the prices down and the customers returning and after all, isn’t it all about the food?  

Frankie's Pizza

Miami’s home of the square pizza has had a devoted following since 1955. Pizza lovers have been enjoying slices on the premises as well as at home for many years. Frankie’s half-baked pizzas are ideal to take home and eat later or to have shipped to those who want a slice of home.

Captain's Tavern Restaurant

Whomever said that good seafood cannot be found inland has never eaten at Captain’s Tavern. For almost 50 years, owner Bill Bowers has been relying on a network of seafood suppliers who deliver whole fishes that are instantly filleted on site. Make sure to check out the Tuesday night special of two-for-one Maine lobsters weighing a minimum of one pound each, and the wine list hailed as one of America’s 50 Most Amazing Wine Experiences by Food & Wine.

Knaus Berry Farm

While the sticky bun king is only open for a little less than half a year, South Floridians flock to Knaus Berry Farm when it does open its doors. The lines are long but worth the wait. The concept began with a roadside strawberry stand and grew into what has become a Redland’s staple in 1959. Aside from the popular sticky buns, Knaus Berry Farm also sells produce, baked breads, pies, cheesecakes, and jellies. Make sure to grab a shake to go or enjoy while picking some fresh berries on the farm.

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