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By: Joe Ellick and Casey Kendall

The Little River neighborhood in Miami is developing into a vibrant international food scene with a number of excellent restaurants that have garnered a lot of press.

Settled around 1890, Little River is one of Miami’s oldest neighborhoods, but it languished after Interstate 95 routed traffic around this small area just north of Little Haiti. Beginning around 2014, developers Matthew Vander Werff and Ashley Melisse Abess set out to put it back on the map.

The reborn Little River area is a walkable neighborhood again, becoming known for its vintage Miami Modern (MiMo)architecture, trendy galleries, eclectic coffee shops and diverse restaurants.

The Citadel

The Citadel is a dining, shopping and entertainment destination housed in a block-long 1950s building in Little River. Along with retail, gallery and entertainment spaces, the redeveloped complex houses a food hall with a dozen restaurants and a rooftop bar. The Citadel is open Tuesday through Sunday; The Rooftop is open Wednesday through Sunday.

Among the highlights of the food hall are:

  • Lil’ Laos, serving spicy Southeast Asian cuisine based on sticky rice, is a collaboration between Sakhone Sayarath and Curtis Rhodes, known for his role as executive chef of Cafe Roval in Miami.
  • Manjay, familiar to Miami foodies for its Wynwood location, serves innovative Caribbean dishes reimagined from the family recipes of Haiti-born chef Christian Dominique.
  • The Shores Fish Market & Oyster Bar recalls the vibe of a vintage Florida fresh fish market. According to its owners, The Shores is “a takeaway where you can get superior seafood in a casual setting.”

Kojin

Just down the street from the Citadel, Kojin offers a sake bar and a menu inspired by traditional Japanese cuisine (washoku) from executive chef and co-owner Pedro Mederos. Reservations are required.

Off Site

Off Site is a nano brewery with a simple menu that has local critics raving. About a block away from The Citadel, this indoor/outdoor establishment offers twists on classics such as a corn-battered champion dog with curry mustard, crispy smoked wings, and pork rinds with a smoky dry rub. But this is more than just bar food – the “snacks” menu also includes caviar with onion dip and house-cut chips.

Rosie’s: The Backyard

Rosie’s: The Backyard is a work in progress, the next step in a progression from a pop-up food truck to a foodie landmark on the outdoor patio of the restaurant’s future site. Chefs Akino West and Jamila Ross – partners in both business and life – gained a local following at their Copper Door Bed & Breakfast in Historic Overtown. The brunch menu at Rosie’s is always subject to change, but such offerings as Gulf shrimp and grits with smoked sausage, lemon ricotta pancakes and chocolate croissants with guava will lure visitors to Little River. Reservations are suggested.

Tigre Restaurant & Bar

Tigre Restaurant & Bar is a great place for a romantic meal. The décor of this MICHELIN-recommended Argentinian restaurant right on the waterway will take your breath away – and so will its extensive menu. Begin with palmito salads, tender coal-roasted beets or buñuelos, and then sip an apéritif before you try the sea bass, mussels, or Argentinian skirt steak with grilled artichokes.

Tran An

International chef Jon Nguyen serves up a modern take on the traditional Vietnamese bánh mì shop at Tran An, inspired by his family’s Hanoi roots. You’ll find small-plate spring rolls and salads; beef, chicken or vegan pho; bánh mì sandwiches; and bowls with broken white jasmine rice or noodles. Check out the chef’s favorites, which may include Hanoian port noodles with crispy rolls or lemongrass beef stew noodles. Vegans will enjoy the vegan curry noodles with spicy curry tofu.

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