Miami’s Coconut Grove offers diverse, affordable — under $20 — places to eat

Posted November 23, 2019


Coconut Grove is the home of many immigrants who came to the area in the mid-1800s. An influx of Americans from the northeast, British and Bahamians all flourished the neighborhood, making their mark and changing the tone of what we know as the Grove today. It is the oldest continuing inhabited district in Miami-Dade County that houses some of the most scrumptious restaurants and diverse cuisines.

Coconut Grove, known to be a consumer’s best for popular diverse dining selections, over the years saw an increase in the number of visitors flocking the area. From the likes of house warming deserts to a laid-back Sunday brunch, many locals and tourist alike rave about its availability. Now with upcoming developments bringing new retail shops, restaurants and seaside hotels, many people now find their favorite dining options steadily hiking in price.

This list is not intended to provide the five best restaurants in the area, but composed from a subjective approach of personal taste and affordability on a college budget. Therefore, here is a list of five affordable restaurants in Coconut Grove, that can get you a meal under $20 and are a mixture of take-outs and dining.

West Grove Food Zone

This West Indies food stop is the place to be for all Caribbean enthusiast, who enjoy a home away from home eatery. The restaurant is a small hut like building on the right-hand side of Douglas Road, when turning right from South Dixie Highway. Upon approaching the premises, you can immediately smell the aroma of a home-cooked meal. One that draws the entire neighborhood from miles away. The menu board is positioned at the front of the building, which is above the opening of where the owner takes her orders. Be ready to wait in line as people from all over the Grove wait their turn, as they are all already aware of the restaurant’s authenticity and affordable pricing. Popular meats like stew chicken, curry goat and oxtail are served with a side of rice and peas, white rice, yellow rice on Thursdays and so much more. The lowest cost meal is a Jamaican patty costing about $1.25 and the highest being oxtail at just $8 with whatever side of choice. The smallest serving portion can serve two people. You can thank me later. Enjoy!

Asian Thai Kitchen

Do you ever feel the need to switch your dining options? Well take a chance and explore the world of Asian cuisines from a restaurant that focuses on Thai and Japanese foods. This restaurant can be found on busy Grand Avenue, in the same building as Kwik Stop Convenience Store. It is widely known for using high quality, fresh ingredients to create popular Thai cuisines. The menu, in a metal basket before the cash register, will show you all the dishes they serve. Take your time when going through the menu, as this stop showcases a grander selection of appetizers, salads, entrees, soups and desserts. A decent meal costs around $11, with soups on the cheaper end and specials being the most expensive. If you are not in the mood for take-out, consider the delivery options. ATK is supported by delivery services like Grubhub, Postmates and Door Dash.


Ever wanted to put your hands on a nice juicy burger? Well, Lokal is the place for all your burger and sandwich cravings, with a side of sweet potato fries. Yum! Be sure to have extra cash on this journey as this the most expensive restaurant on the list. To get the full dining experience with Florida’s grass-fed beef, burgers start at $15 with sandwiches and more being $1-$4 less. This black and red themed restaurant brings a cutting edge, yet modern feel to the Grove. The uniqueness of the restaurant’s décor will grab at your attention during your first visit. Or, instead, make dinner a treat with a 1980s inspired milkshake, ice-cream or root beer float. Take a couple of your friends and enjoy the scenery from your choice of dining inside or on the sidewalk. Listen to the light music in the background and enjoy the moment while it lasts.

El Taquito

If you are a fan of tacos and enjoy the simplicity of quesadillas, then this Mexican joint is the place for you. Come and satisfy your appetite at El Taquito during your lunch break and live the moment with a friend or family member. This tiny restaurant caters to the habits of a quick bite, with accommodating wall tables and high stool hairs beneath them. The first thing that greats you once entering, would be the smiles of your servers as they wait patiently for your order. The broad menu selection has the likes of fajitas, enchiladas, tortas and antojitos among a few others favorites. To get the full Mexican vibe make sure to order a jarritos, one of the country most popular soft drink. The lime flavor gives off a refreshing taste, once chased down with a beef taco. Provecho, as the Mexicans would say, or bon appetite, in French.

First Hong Kong Express

First Hong Kong Express is your one-stop restaurant with an extensive menu of mouth-watering Chinese cuisines. The soothing atmosphere of this restaurant commemorates the start of an evening well spent, as their dining area lays casually outside. On the inside of this tiny restaurant you will immediately feel like the essence of what its like to be in Chinatown. The art pieces and fine décor radiates a knowingly atmosphere of a land far away, alongside the added sweet aroma that fills up your nostrils upon entering. The spoken language and bizarre music adds to an exciting experience, until you are ready to order. A meal there on average will cost around $8–$11 depending on if your feeling for chicken, seafood or a lunch special meal. This place is for the heavy in heart and those who appreciate eating soft rice. Take a seat outside and await your meal to be serve. Pull out your favorite novel and relax the evening away with a filled stomach and a contented heart.

If You Go

  • Lokal – 3190 Commodore Plaza, Coconut Grove, FL 33133. Opens Mondays to Tuesdays from 12 p.m. – 10 p.m., Wednesdays to Fridays from 12 p.m. – 11 p.m. and Sundays from 11:30 p.m. – 10 p.m. Website: Telephone: 305-442-3377
  • First Hong Kong Express – 3015 Grand Ave., Miami, FL 33133. Opens from Mondays to Fridays at 11 a.m. – 10 p.m., Saturdays at 12 p.m. – 10 p.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m. – 10 p.m. Website: Telephone: 305-476-8188