Miami dining: Casual restaurants with great atmospheres

Photo credit: Michael Mok

In Miami, there are numerous dining options no matter where you are in the city, but it can be difficult to find a restaurant with amazing food and great ambiance.

Luckily, The Miami Hurricane has compiled seven spots that meet both criteria.

Café at Books & Books

Why limit your bookstore experience to just books? This is where the saying, ‘Have your cake and eat it too’ comes to life. The selection at Books & Books satisfies at the drop of a hat. You can purchase books and enjoy a treat at the end of your shopping spree. Picture buying your desired book, then cracking it open while devouring the café’s bacon cheddar quesadilla.

While you can eat inside, the outdoor patio will give you a chance to welcome sweater weather. In addition to the vast supply of books and dining, it’s a great place to study with friends. The patio allows for the Miami sunshine to enlighten you and your study group.

Price range: $$

Café at Books & Books is located at 265 Aragon Ave #5008, Coral Gables, FL 33134.

Photo credit: Michael Mok


Healthy, fast and delicious are the perfect words to describe Diced. At this health food restaurant, you can order wraps, bowls, salads and smoothies — it’s definitely a cut above a salad bar. The aesthetic of Diced compliments their food, with a green color scheme and wooden tables that make you feel like you are having food the way it is intended to be eaten.

While they serve ready-to-order bowls, you can maximize your creativity by building your own. The forbidden rice and spicy guava sauce are as exciting to sample as their name suggests. For the vegans and vegetarians, Diced has options for both dietary lifestyles to ensure you eat well.

Price range: $$

Diced is located at 9050 S Dixie Hwy, Pinecrest, FL 33156.

Chicken Kitchen

The minimalist decor at Chicken Kitchen allows you to feel at ease while you dine. This spot is a great place to have near campus as their bowls make for the perfect lunch. The Deluxe Chop Chop packs in many flavors and is always prepared so quickly, you’ll be astonished. The sauces that accompany these bowls are also amazing. A personal favorite is the Mustard and Curry, as the flavorful curry pairs well with the chicken.

Price range: $

Chicken Kitchen is located at 1565 Sunset Dr, Coral Gables, FL 33143.

Photo credit: Michael Mok

Havana Harry’s

Close to campus and some of the best Cuban food Miami has to offer, Havana Harry’s is a favorite for many reasons. The warm lighting, Cuban tiles and aromas provide customers with the feeling that they are eating a home-cooked meal.

Their menu has a plethora of options and all the food is prepared well, making it difficult to order just one dish. The chicken vaca frita is well-seasoned and the mojo sauce compliments this dish well. After enjoying a good meal, you shouldn’t skip out on dessert. The key lime pie is refreshing and will have you feeling a zest for life!

Price range: $$

Havana Harry’s is located at 4612 S Le Jeune Rd, Coral Gables, FL 33146.

Old Lisbon

The relaxing atmosphere at Old Lisbon will provide you with a wonderful dining experience. Eating outdoors here will feel as if you’re actually dining in Lisbon.

This Portuguese restaurant specializes in seafood and it shows. The Paelha Marinheira is an excellent dish to share with friends. The rice in this paella is similar to risotto and includes shrimp, fish, clams, squid and mussels. At Old Lisbon, you will experience the best that Portuguese cuisine has to offer.

Price range: $$

Old Lisbon is located at 5837 Sunset Dr, South Miami, FL 33143.

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100 Montaditos

As we continue our fascination with tiny homes, it’s important to note that this obsession does not have to stop with houses. If you’d like to experience a Spanish taverna, go to 100 Montaditos and the colors and cuisine will transport you there.

The tiny sandwiches at 100 Montaditos make it easy to eat that many since they’re so delicious. The grilled chicken, crispy onion & aioli is not your average lunch sandwich and will have you ordering a second. To those interested in fusion, the Philly steak and cheddar cheese is also a viable option. Who says sandwiches are just limited to lunch? The Sweet Montaditos are worth ordering, especially the addictive dulce de leche and almonds montadito.

Price range: $

100 Montaditos is located at 3252 Buena Vista Blvd #104, Miami, FL 33137.

Pincho Factory

To those who like restaurants with a variety of delicious options, Pincho Factory is perfect for you. The chicken kebab with chipotle aioli is a great choice along with the sweet potato tots. If you are an adventurous eater, try the Toston Burger, where the toston replaces the bun in a regular burger.

The innovative food this restaurant features in its menu makes it suitable for everyone — it’s difficult not to find something you’ll like. As their food and rustic chic decor demonstrate, Pincho Factory is like the healthy version of your favorite fast food as a kid, but it grew up, too. Pincho Factory lives up to its “keep it real” light-up quote, as their food is very original to Miami flavors.

Price range: $$

Pincho Factory is located at 30 Giralda Ave, Coral Gables, FL 33134.