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Osteria Morini
Photograph: Courtesy Osteria MoriniUova in Purgatorio

The best Miami Beach restaurants right now

The best Miami Beach restaurants deliver great eats and good vibes

Eric Barton
Written by
Eric Barton
Contributor
Time Out Miami editors
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Once upon a time, Miami Beach was nothing but diners full of that old lady-type from There’s Something About Mary and clubby South Beach restaurants with VIP sections full of B-listers. And yes, admittedly, that’s still out there. But these days, The Beach also has a dining scene that’s better than most big cities. Celebrity chef-driven kitchens, old classics and homegrown favorites as fancy as the New York transplants come together to create a restaurant mecca that stretches from the inlet all the way up to Bal Harbour. These aren’t just good restaurants for Miami Beach—these are places that, if you live in Miami or are visiting for only a night, need to be on your list.

RECOMMENDED: The best restaurants in Miami

Time Out Market Miami
  • Restaurants
  • South Beach
  • price 2 of 4

What happens when you send editors out into the city to scout the best restaurants and chefs? Their collective efforts yield Time Out Market, a dining-and-cultural destination in South Beach, featuring some of Miami’s brightest talents and up-and-coming chefs. Offshoots of several local favorites are among the kitchens, such as Phuc Yea’s Pho Mo. While you’re there, try cocktails from Miami’s top bars and catch cool art plus information on events at the Market on our massive LED screen. Our mission is simple (but spelled out here): If we discover something in Miami that’s great, it goes in our media; if it’s unforgettable, it goes in the market. 

Best Miami Beach restaurants

  • Restaurants
  • American creative
  • South of Fifth
  • price 4 of 4

A Michelin star and taking home the top spot on Top Chef made chef Jeremy Ford something of a celebrity chef. But his home base in South Beach isn’t as fancy as all that, feeling more like a party pretty much always. On top of that buzzy ambiance is a menu as well executed as anywhere, with cacio e pepe cheese puffs that are a legend in their own right and an eight-course, $175 tasting menu that shows off the talents of one of the best kitchen staff in Miami-Dade.

  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Surfside
  • price 4 of 4

There’s a reason everyone agrees Thomas Keller is one of the greatest American chefs alive right now. Keller’s first Miami outpost does classic dishes and channels the old American glam of the ‘50s and ’60s. We’re happy to report that it’s far more fun than it sounds, with lively music, friendly service and a Maine lobster thermidor so pretty you might want to buy a frame for the family room.

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  • Restaurants
  • South Beach
  • price 3 of 4

Somehow, Macchialina didn’t make it onto the Michelin list of best Miami restaurants, and that’s OK for those of us who come regularly because we appreciate that we can still (usually) get a table at a place better than many that did get a star. Macchialina has a cocktail program putting out complicated drinks, a lively little bar scene, a great patio out back and a charming dining room doling out homey Italian dishes like a long-simmered polenta and just-perfect pasta.

Italian restaurants transplanted to South Beach from New York might get more attention, but Casa Isola outshines them from a little spot in Sunset Harbour. There’s a carpaccio with a fresh snow of truffles, and a pair of crispy branzino filets draped over a bowl of brothy clams. There’s a rigatoni ala vodka, a shot at Carbone perhaps, that’ll feel like grandma just plopped down her signature dish.

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  • Restaurants
  • Mediterranean
  • South Beach
  • price 4 of 4

The dishes of Lebanon and its Eastern Mediterranean neighbors get elevated treatment in this space that’s just as fancy as you’d expect from South Beach. Divided into two spaces, the front dining room glows with afternoon light, while the back room feels part loungey nightclub after dark. It seems every dish here is a winner, like Turkish dumplings, kibbeh, wood-fired pides and a roasted lamb shoulder braised with sumac.

  • Restaurants
  • Mediterranean
  • South Beach
  • price 3 of 4

The Lennox Hotel is an ode to Art Deco style, and its restaurant is well matched, looking like a throwback to a more glamorous era. Chef Hernan Griccini mixes his Argentine roots with Italian classics to put out smoky eggplant with burrata, cheesy gnocchi with roasted tomatoes and a porcini ravioli with toasted hazelnuts dotting the cream sauce.

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  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • North Beach
  • price 2 of 4

Excellent tacos, great quesadillas, even better margaritas—these are the things that win our hearts. Add to the fact that this location is right across from the beach, and casual enough to show up with sand on your flip-flops, and you have a place that has to be among your favorites.

  • Restaurants
  • Bistros
  • Normandy Isle

Miami Beach has lots of glitzy and glamorous, but sometimes what you want is a neighborhood spot, a place like Silverlake, where the food is just always good, the service is consistently friendly, and where we’ve yet to find anything on the menu we couldn’t recommend. Test that theory with the double patty cheeseburger, slathered in an umami-punch of porcini mayo, bacon and cheddar, served alongside nostalgia-inducing shoestring fries.

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  • Restaurants
  • Latin American
  • Miami Beach
  • price 4 of 4

With a name such as Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten attached, Matador Room sets the expectation way high for diners—and it delivers both in experience and cuisine. Its mid-century design is reminiscent of 1950s glamour, though the vibe is far more upscale than stuffy. The Caribbean, Spanish and Latin flavors all find their way to the seasonal menu, featuring artisanal pizzas, delicate seafood options and plenty of small plates to pass around before making your way to Basement downstairs.

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  • Restaurants
  • Latin American
  • Miami Beach
  • price 4 of 4

With a name such as Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten attached, Matador Room sets the expectation way high for diners—and it delivers both in experience and cuisine. Its midcentury design is reminiscent of 1950s glamour, though the vibe is far more upscale than stuffy. The Caribbean, Spanish and Latin flavors all find their way to the seasonal menu, featuring artisanal pizzas, delicate seafood options and plenty of small plates to pass around before making your way to Basement downstairs.

Ignore the somewhat-sterile vibe inside and grab a table out by the canal, where a leafy patio feels just the right level of al fresco for the excellent Italian dishes served here. The Roman-style artichokes with herbed yogurt and grilled branzino are a great start before moving on to the delicate cappelletti with truffled ricotta, prosciutto and melted butter.

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  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Bal Harbour
  • price 3 of 4

This adorable French bistro is inside a mall, but you’d never tell based on its lovely string lights and overall chic decor. Le Zoo, being a Stephen Starr restaurant, has a certain reputation to uphold and it does so beautifully with a menu that’s equal parts classic and modern, featuring items like steak frites and duck confit pizza.

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