Diving into Miami’s dining scene: all the affordable, hidden gems

Photo credit: Lauren Greene

Miami’s diverse cuisine makes the Magic City exciting for food connoisseurs worldwide. However, some of the most popular restaurants are also among the most expensive. With the city’s Michelin Guide, come equally delicious, far more reasonable hidden gems.

Here is a list of well-known restaurants and their less expensive, but just-as-good counterparts.

Expensive: Joe’s Stone Crab

For 110 years, Joe’s Stone Crab has served great seafood and hosted pop culture icons like President John F. Kennedy and Barbra Streisand. The generous portion of crab cakes and rich flavor work well to rationalize the price. In fact, they are lauded as some of the best the city has to offer.

Price range: $$$$

Joe’s Stone Crab is located at 11 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139.

Affordable: Garcia’s Seafood Grille & Fish Market

Between the view of the Miami River and the affordable menu, it is difficult not to love Garcia’s. For an appetizer, try the scallops, which are seared to perfection and the lemon sauce provides a nice zing. If you’re looking for an entree that’s as good as the view, order the lobster ravioli which also comes with shrimp. The pink sauce compliments the flavorful ravioli well.

Price range: $$

Garcia’s Seafood Grille & Fish Market is located at 398 NW N River Dr, Miami, FL 33128.

Expensive: Little Hen

America loves a good tea party — look no further than our founding fathers and their iconic Boston Tea Party in 1773. Today, Little Hen illustrates that America’s love for tea parties is still going strong. The cozy, floral decor of Little Hen will transport you away from the city. However, this is not Miami’s only aesthetically pleasing tea service.

Price range: $$$

Little Hen is located at 3451 NE 1st Ave Suite 100/102, Miami, FL 33137.

Affordable: Tea Room at Cauley Square

Want to have your tea and drink it, too? The Tea Room at Cauley Square is slightly far from campus, but the pastel colors and antique chairs make the trip to this Instagrammable spot worthwhile. The mint green iced tea is a fun alternative to coffee. If you want to emulate traditional afternoon tea, try the cucumber and cream cheese finger sandwiches — you won’t be sorry!

Price range: $$

Tea Room at Cauley Square is located at 12310 SW 224th St, Miami, FL 33170.

Expensive: Villagio

The Shops at Merrick Park is an upscale mall and the dining options are no different. The Italian cuisine at Villagio is fresh, filling and fabulous. The caesar salad’s quality ingredients will have you feeling invigorated for the next course. Filled with veal and topped with pink sauce, the “tortellini Aurora” is an exciting option for pasta enthusiasts!

Price range: $$$

Villagio is located at 358 San Lorenzo Ave Suite 358, Coral Gables, FL 33146.

Affordable: Pizza Johny’s

Pizza Johny’s serves way more than pizza! The menu features everything under the sun, including wings, salad, pasta and spinach pinwheels. Their classic Caesar salad is a must, especially the dressing. For those who love pasta, try the fettuccine alfredo with chicken. The creamy sauce with the good quality chicken makes for a terrific classic. Pizza Johny’s is small and reminiscent of a typical Northeastern Italian restaurant.

Price range: $

Pizza Johny’s is located at 9529 SW 72nd St, Miami, FL 33173.

Expensive: Michael’s Genuine

Crisp and refreshing describes the atmosphere at Michael’s Genuine. This contemporary American restaurant was featured in the 2022 MICHELIN Bib Gourmand and is appropriately located in the Design District. The avant-garde crushed almonds in the slow roasted and grilled short rib add texture and make this a memorable meal.

Price range: $$$$

Michael’s Genuine is located at 130 NE 40th St, Miami, FL 33137.

Affordable: Arbetter’s Hot Dogs

If you’re craving American food at a fair price, Arbetter’s Hot Dogs is your best bet. Since 1959, Arbetter’s Hot Dogs has provided Miamians with quality meals. From the plain all-beef hot dog to the Zelda dog, which comes with every topping, there is something for everyone! In addition, the old structure and classroom-style chairs make it a hole-in-the-wall restaurant with unique ambiance.

Price range: $

Arbetter’s Hot Dogs is located at 8747 SW 40th St, Miami, FL 33165.

Expensive: Diced

Dispersed throughout South Florida, Diced offers Floridians quick, healthy lunches. Customers must order a base, which includes a wrap, bowl or salad. Then, you can pick your toppings — a cut above the average salad bar. For vegans and vegetarians, Diced offers its clientele a veggie option and a “Vegan Chick’n.”

Price range: $$

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

Affordable: Chicken Kitchen

Chicken Kitchen is a great place to bike for lunch or walk if you’re not in a rush. The Chop-Chop Bowls are beloved by Miamians and will get you through the day. Chicken Kitchen understands its customers’ needs, providing a plethora of options for numerous dietary restrictions!

For vegetarians, there is the Vegetarian Chop-Chop, which comes with avocado and black beans. If you’re trying to avoid carbohydrates, fear not and try the No-carb Chop Chop, which is best with the Mustard’n Curry sauce.

Price range: $

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