The Best Soul Food Restaurants In Miami

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By: Treméne Triplett

Check out these nine great soul food restaurants in Miami. Experiencing both the food and the hospitality will lure you back for multiple visits and give you a glimpse into Miami’s multicultural palate.

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Jackson Soul Food

Whether you’re talking about the original location in Historic Overtown—the historic black mecca of Miami—or the new location in Opa-Locka, Jackson Soul Food devotees love coming back. Between the warm, welcoming atmosphere and the delectable food, admirers just can’t get enough. The yellow tail snapper, shrimp or “any boiled fish” with grits is a local favorite, and the smothered fried chicken served over white rice with string beans, yams and cornbread is soul food legendary.

    Lil Greenhouse Grill

    While Jackson Soul Food has been around since 1946, Lil Greenhouse Grill is only three years old and rocking historic Overtown with a style they call “edgy neo-soul cuisine.” “We are a healthier take on traditional soul food, offering nostalgic dishes in an environment with music, ambiance and conversation—all the things that make blackness beautiful,” says Nicole Gates, managing partner.

    Lil Greenhouse mixes jazz, R&B and Motown sounds to create a cool, community vibe. Creative menu options like Dream Fire Shrimp and Seafood Cakes are a must-try! Accompany your dish with a grapefruit mimosa that lends a taste of Miami—sunshine, sweet and tart.

      Yardbird Southern Table & Bar

      Great soul food can also be found on South Beach at Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, where swanky white couches meet mason jar chandeliers to deliver Southern style. Yardbird is a place that you’ll love hanging out with best friends or significant others.

      The most popular menu item is fried chicken with Swiss cheese stuffed waffles and a side of spiced watermelon—absolutely mouthwatering! And forget an ordinary drink menu—think bourbon-forward cocktails where Kentucky Derby meets South Beach chic.

        World Famous House of Mac

        The afro-clad, brother-man logo for World Famous House of Mac sets the stage for a unique soul food experience in Wynwood. A music mogul owns the spot, and the name refers to the signature dish—macaroni and cheese.

        “The classic mac & cheese is a five-cheese truffle—it’s the foundation of all of them, then it’s how you want it topped after that,” said restaurant manager, Natalie White. “It ain’t your mama’s mac & cheese.”

        Pipe in R&B, dance hall and hip-hop music from the 70s through today, and you’ve got the brightly energetic, yet intimate setting that is House of Mac.

          Flava’s Miami

          Flava's Miami is a breakfast-only establishment in the Perrine area. The aroma of smothered meats will entice you from the parking lot.

          The décor incorporates plaques and pictures showcasing the accomplishments of local politician, Wilbur Bell, who also happens to be the restaurant manager’s father.

          In operation for four years, Flava’s stands out. “Nobody does our waffles like us,” said Zack Bell, the restaurant manager. “It is a cinnamon waffle that can be eaten without syrup.” If you hear a customer asking for a “flop,” they are not looking for a seat—it’s the popular lemonade and tea beverage that all the die-hards know by name.

            MLK Restaurant

            Northwest Miami’s Liberty City offers up soul food haunts like MLK Restaurant that shows off its popularity with a standing-room-only intimate setting, even on a weekday. Bring a big appetite and room for lively chatter as the restaurant holds to its motto printed right on the front of the menu, “Every customer is a friend to the family.”

            MLK serves breakfast and brunch to satisfy their throngs of followers, including more than 2,000 on Facebook. They’re currently located at 5931 NW 17th Ave., which has increased the popularity of this crowd favorite.

              Mattie’s Soul Food

              Mattie's Soul Food packs in the goodness and loyal customers. A weekday visit can find customers pleasantly conversing outside while waiting for their chance to enjoy Mattie’s magic. You can follow the crowd or the more than 4,200 followers on social media that know Mattie’s has something delectable in store. Daily Specials offer traditional soul food with a couple of surprises like spaghetti or shrimp skewers for the taking. Seafood specials help cover nearly every hungry appetite imaginable. Stop by this busy spot, and you might catch owner, Aubrey Hewitt, for a chat and a smile.

                Eloise & Earnestine’s Soul Food

                The cutest rendering of two little old ladies dominates the social media page for Eloise & Earnestine's Soul Food. Called “E and E” by the staff, this neighborhood keepsake near the Gladeview area keeps folks coming back for the classics. The family-run establishment treats its customers like family, as everyone enjoys the hospitality and recipes established by the matriarchs. Whether you’re craving crispy fried chicken, tender collard greens or smoky ribs, E and E will serve it up with excellent customer service and a smile.

                  Red Rooster Overtown

                  The new kid on the block (opened in December 2020), Red Rooster Overtown occupies a spot steeped in history. After Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and other luminaries performed at Overtown’s Historic Lyric Theater, they’d head across the street to socialize at a pool hall that’s now the site of celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson’s latest venture. The Ethiopian-Swedish wunderkind of Red Rooster Harlem and other dining hot spots around the world has brought his passion for food to Miami, where he celebrates the comfort food that’s at the root of American cuisine. Diners have described it as hipster soul with a global flair, raving about the cornbread with spiced rum butter, delicious fried chicken and greens described as “life changing.” Take dinner up a notch with the grilled yellowtail snapper with charred gooseberry salsa. It’s served up in a welcoming indoor/outdoor space, and often accompanied by live music (groove to the Soul & Global Afro Beats on Wednesday nights or check out the Gospel Brunch on Sundays).

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