Not even the minefield of construction sites nor the precarious parking situation can detract from Brickell’s enduring dining scene—the best Brickell restaurants are among the best restaurants in Miami. The Downtown Miami neighborhood’s restaurant landscape is made up of equal parts fixtures and newcomers, serving up a wide range of cuisines in a variety of settings. So whether it’s a dry-aged steak with a martini, ceviche served al fresco that you’re after or you’re just looking for one of the best brunches in Miami, you’ll find that these best Brickell restaurants you covered.
Best Brickell restaurants
One of Nice’s most famous restaurants has found its way to Brickell, and it’s brought with it all its French flair and popular Niçoise cuisine. If you’ve been to the original, you’ll recognize the refreshing tomatini cocktail on the menu (a must!) and the plump tomatoes set on the table—which, for the uninitiated, are there for you to slice into and eat with a piece of baguette brought to you by a lovely server carrying a basket of fresh bread. From there, it’s on to a medley of seafood and fish, done up carpaccio-style, grilled, pan-fried and en papillote. Most of the dishes are light and Mediterranean inspired until you get to the heavy potato gratin (worth every caloric bite) and the french fries—which are arguably the best you’ll ever taste. These labor-intensive spuds go through a day’s worth of soaking, baking and frying before they reach your table. Second on the list of menu standouts is the cheesecake, also surprisingly light and unlike any you’ve tasted before.
Fans of Bazaar’s whimsical tapas have a new smattering of small plates by José Andrés to fall in love with at Bazaar Mar. For his second Miami restaurant, Andrés devised a menu that celebrates the cuisine of his native Spain, except the ocean-inspired dishes are considerably more grounded than what you’d find at the South Beach location. Foams and parchment-poaching techniques are replaced with traditional grilling and smoking methods executed in a state-of-the-art Josper oven. Whole fish and local crustaceans, such as Florida stone crabs and spiny lobsters, round out the spread.
Brunch at famed chef Gastón Acurio’s La Mar is an experience, the kind you carve hours out of your Sunday to linger over and indulge. You’ll start with arroz chaufa (Peruvian fried rice) served tableside and move on to myriad food stations curiously plated classics like crab causa and pastel de choclo (native corn cake). Then it’s on to the entree, which varies by brunch tier, and dessert. If you haven’t saved room for a sweet ending, you’ll change your mind once you’re served an artisanal dollhouse filled with treats. No, it’s not the effects of unlimited cocktails you’re experiencing. The dessert house is, in fact, spinning.
James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Schwartz gives Italian cuisine a whirl for his latest endeavor. He's churning out an array of pies (as good or even better than what you'll find at his pizza joint, Harry's Pizzeria!), fresh pastas (all made in-house) and hearty mains, like braised lamb and roasted fish. What distinguishes Fi'lia from Schwartz's other spots is the added pageantry of several dishes, like the Ceasar salad servers whip up tableside (which includes grilling fresh bread to make croutons) and the crusty bread and olive oil diners receive upon sitting. Forget salt and paper. Your server will cut tiny pieces of fresh oregano from a potted plant that doubles as a centerpiece and flavor the olive oil right in front of you. As one would image from a restaurant so dedicated to pomp and presentation, service is stellar.
There are only two seatings per day at Brickell Key’s exclusive sushi den, NAOE, where chef/owner Kevin Cory quietly and skillfully prepares each piece in the intimate restaurant’s open kitchen. His authentic approach and meticulous attention to detail are what set his meals apart from the myriad Japanese restaurants in town. If you can get a reservation, look forward to a true omakase-style experience (Cory even uses a family-made soy sauce and flies in fish from Japan and other hard-to-reach locales).
Take a sleek, minimalist interior, a fantastic raw bar (oysters, ceviches, clams and seafood cocktails, plus glorious sauces) and daily fresh catches, and you have a winner. The local business crowd loves it, especially during the daily happy hour when oysters—which fans say are the freshest in town—are half price.
The Pubbelly Boys continue to inch their way west, this time with their seafoodcentric concept, Pubbelly Sushi. The menu at the recently opened restaurant inside Brickell City Centre doesn’t stray from what’s offered at the original Sunset Harbour location, making it unlike most other sushi restaurants you’ll find in Brickell. The soft-shell crab roll, rock shrimp appetizer and New England–style seafood sliders (lobster, crab and other crustacean rolls are available) are just some of the dishes that will keep you coming back.
All of the things you love about Peruvian cuisine—ceviche, tiraditos, anticuchos—are just what you’ll find on the menu at Coya’s first U.S. outpost in Brickell. Dishes are a blend of Latin, Chinese and Japanese cuisines, from ingredients to preparations, and are heavy on the seafood, quinoa and potatoes (purple, sweet, fingerling). A Josper oven keeps things interesting in one of four kitchens, which dole out grilled octopus and juicy cornish hen, among other oven-grilled mains. There’s also a dedicated Pisco Bar with more than 20 varieties of the Peruvian spirit, which bodes well for an area known for its happy-hour crowds.
Miami has its share of Latin markets and organic grab-and-gos, but it was lacking in a hybrid market/restaurant until Marion came along. The café, market, bakery and oyster bar is casual enough for a leisurely lunch yet boasts a varied menu and plenty of options, making it a worthy destination for a night out. Executive chef Jean Paul Lourdes is responsible for the comprehensive menu that goes beyond charcuterie and raw bar offerings, though these are great, too. Think hearty paellas and shareable portions of rib-eye steak and roast chicken, which is cut and served table side. You’ll want to save room for pastry chef Christina Kaelberer’s sweet creations, such as pillowy strawberry marshmallows that taste like the real fruit and a trio of profiteroles served with a drizzling of rich melted chocolate.
If Cuba’s famous Tropicana nightclub made its way to Miami, we’d imagine it’d be a lot like El Tucán: impossibly chic, exciting and with a delicious menu rivaled only by the entertainment. This is a true cabaret with a unique, dinner-and-a-show concept where, twice a night, guests will have the opportunity to witness musical and dance performances backed by the in-house, 11-piece orchestra. Like the acts who take the stage, dishes are varied and Latin-inspired, ranging from starters such as ceviche and guacamole to larger portions of octopus and wagyu beef. Helming the restaurant’s imaginative drink program is none other than local mixologists extraordinaire Bar Lab (of Freehand Miami, Broken Shaker and 27 Restaurant fame).