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By: Terry Galvin

Dining out is one of the great joys of traveling. This is especially true in Greater Miami & Miami Beach, where the culinary scene is influenced by the cultures of Latin America, the Caribbean and the rest of the world. Travelers who have mobility challenges and other disabilities want to know what restaurants, food tours and other culinary experiences are excellent choices for them in this exciting foodie destination. The good news is that people who use wheelchairs and other mobility aids, as well as those who need accommodations for vision, hearing, neurodivergence and other differences, can all enjoy dining in Miami.

Recommended Restaurants For Travelers With Disabilities

The restaurants below represent a sampling of the amazing dining experiences that are available in Greater Miami & Miami Beach. Most were recommended by Heidi Johnson-Wright, an accessibility professional and longtime Miami resident who uses a power wheelchair, and Cory Lee, who uses a power wheelchair and writes a blog called Curb Free with Cory Lee about his travel experiences (be sure to check out his Miami Travel Guide).

Exterior of Amara
Dine while enjoying waterfront views at Amara at Paraiso

Amara at Paraiso, Miami

Amara at Paraiso, which specializes in Latin American-inspired dishes, is a good spot for accessible waterfront dining in Miami. The building with a stunning view of Biscayne Bay has a ramp at the north side of its main entrance and offers valet parking (valet parking space and self-parking spaces on the street are limited). People who have hearing challenges or those who are most comfortable in quiet settings will find that a table by the water will be their best bet.

Bombay Darbar Indian Restaurant, Coconut Grove

For those seeking authentic and delicious Indian food in an upscale setting, Bombay Darbar Indian Restaurant in Coconut Grove is a great option. It has a level entrance and offers accessible indoor and outdoor seating.

Pubbelly Sushi
Take a shopping break to try EST.33 Thai Craft Brewery & Kitchen

Brickell City Centre, Brickell

Brickell City Centre is a shopping and dining destination in the heart of Brickell that’s home to restaurants offering a variety of cuisines. It has its own parking garage and a direct connection to Miami-Dade Transit’s accessible Metromover. Dining options include EST.33 Thai Craft Brewery & Kitchen, where Asian flavors mesh with American barbecue; Pubbelly Sushi’s playful American take on Pan-Asian delicacies; and Chinese-Latino fusion at CH’I.

Cantina Beach Dusk
Enjoy upscale Mexican food with an ocean breeze at Cantina Beach

Cantina Beach, Key Biscayne

Cantina Beach serves up high-end Mexican food and 110 premium tequilas at its oceanfront location in The Ritz-Carlton hotel in Key Biscayne. It enjoys all of the accessibility features of the luxury hotel, and a ramp connects the lobby with the restaurant.

Costa Med Bistro + Wine, Key Biscayne

Costa Med Bistro + Wine in Key Biscayne is on the quieter side for diners who have hearing challenges or who welcome a more laid-back setting where conversation is easier – and it’s also highly rated by TripAdvisor, Yelp and other consumer review websites.

CVI.CHE 105, South Beach & Other Locations

Cvi.Che 105 offers an extensive menu of excellent Peruvian food, including ceviches and causas, the traditional potato dish native to Peru. CVI.CHE 105 has four locations in Greater Miami & Miami Beach. The one on Lincoln Road in South Beach has parking garages and parking lots conveniently located nearby.

Havana Harry’s, Coral Gables

Havana Harry’s has a menu inspired by Cuban, Spanish and Latin American cuisine. Its level entrance and accessible parking make this a good option.

Hometown Barbecue, Allapattah

Hometown Barbecue is a rustic spot in a produce company’s truck terminal in Allapattah. If it’s smoked, they have it and it’s delicious: Sample everything from turkey breast to sausage, pastrami bacon, brisket, and pork or beef ribs. The outdoor garden seating area is the same level as the parking lot.

Mareva 1939 at the National Hotel, South Beach

Mareva 1939 is on the terrace of the famed Art Deco oceanfront National Hotel in South Beach, benefiting from the hotel’s beauty and accessible features. It serves “Spanish cuisine with a twist” for breakfast and dinner. A lift avoids stairs at the hotel entrance, and the terrazzo floor leading to and going through the restaurant is all at the same level. This spot is relatively relaxed and quiet, so it’s a good option for those with hearing loss or diners who don’t like a lot of ambient noise and activity. An elevator is available to reach the poolside deck and the Aqua Bar and Grill.

Peacock Garden Resto Bar & Grill, Coconut Grove

Enjoy your meal in a lush, hidden garden nestled near Biscayne Bay in Coconut Grove at Peacock Garden Resto Bar & Grill. Offerings include smoked trout pate, ceviche, Mediterranean octopus, a Cowboy Steak for two, a rack of New Zealand lamb and pappardelle with short ribs.

soya carpaccio
Don't miss Soya & Pomodoro for delicious Italian fare

Soya & Pomodoro, Downtown Miami

You’ll find fine Italian food in a welcoming, homey atmosphere at Soya & Pomodoro, a Downtown Miami restaurant tucked into a former bank building that has a surface parking lot and a parking garage nearby.

Tiger prawn at Zuma
Find modern Japanese cuisine at Zuma inside the EPIC Hotel

Zuma, Downtown Miami

Zuma, on the ground floor of the Kimpton EPIC Hotel on the Miami River in Downtown Miami, features modern Japanese cuisine from its three kitchens: a main kitchen, a sushi counter and a robata grill. Entering the hotel’s lobby and the restaurant requires zero steps. Parking is convenient.

Time Out interior
Sample a variety of food at Time Out Market Miami

Food Halls

For convenience and accessibility, there’s nothing quite like having restaurants arrayed on the same floor in the same building. Two notable examples in Greater Miami & Miami Beach are very different from your typical mall food court. Time Out Market Miami is an expansive and popular food hall in South Beach, and The Citadel food hall near Little Haiti has a rooftop bar that’s accessible by elevator.

Miami Restaurants With A Purpose

At least two Miami restaurants make accessibility part of their business plan by employing a diverse workforce.

Our Grounds, Kendall

Our Grounds is a nonprofit coffee shop in Kendall that provides vocational training, education and employment to adults who have intellectual and cognitive disabilities. Our Grounds opened in 2019. Its menu includes such items as breakfast croissants, avocado toast, yogurt parfaits with fresh berries, bagels and berries, hummus toast and lox on a bagel – but its main product is giving a purpose and an income to its staff.

Pilo’s, Brickell & Wynwood

Derek Gonzalez, who founded Pilo’s Street Tacos in the Brickell neighborhood and Pilo’s Tequila Garden in the Wynwood neighborhood, was inspired by a favorite aunt, Pilo, who had Down syndrome. About 20 percent of the employees at each Pilo’s location have developmental disabilities. The employees are referred to the company by service organizations, and they are trained in a program that Gonzalez calls Pilo’s University.

Accessible Miami Food Tours

Wheel the World, a company that promotes travel by people who need mobility accommodations, offers two food tours in Miami: one in Little Havana, which showcases the destination’s Cuban cuisine and culture, and one in the artsy Wynwood neighborhood. The tours include cultural stops, but mostly they’re opportunities to sample great food. The tours don’t include transportation, so guests will have to make their own way to each tour’s starting point, but the company does provide knowledgeable guides who can assist travelers. The routes have been checked for wheelchair accessibility.

Tips For Miami Diners With Disabilities

Call Restaurants for Details About Accessibility

Finding information online about the accessibility of individual restaurants can be challenging. Yelp reviews, for instance, often indicate that a restaurant is “wheelchair accessible,” but you won’t typically find details about accommodations for wheelchairs and other special needs.

It’s wise to simply call ahead to ask about concerns such as ramps versus lifts and whether the ambiance is quiet enough for people who aren’t comfortable with noisy environments, according to Irenaida “Ire” Diaz, president and chief executive officer of Miami-based Advocacy Network on Disabilities. It’s always a good idea to call ahead to ensure that restaurant lifts and elevators are working before heading to your dining destination.

Transportation and Parking Considerations

Another important consideration is parking. Many businesses depend on parking lots or parking garages that might be close enough for highly mobile people or those who use a power wheelchair, but are not convenient for those who use walkers or have other mobility challenges. Restaurants often offer valet parking; ask whether the business waives the fee for those with reduced mobility. People with specially equipped vehicles should ask if self-parking is possible.

Florida recognizes disabled-parking placards from every state and from around the world. It also offers temporary cards for a small fee to those who qualify.

Miami-Dade County has an online list of taxi companies with vehicles capable of handling wheelchairs.

Technology Helps Those with Low Vision

Miami restaurants have joined the movement to offer online menus, making it possible for people with low vision to peruse them with their phone or tablet and use all their favorite screen-reading and text-enhancing features.

Find more information about Accessible Travel in Miami.

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