Choosing a restaurant in Miami can be as challenging as choosing the right spot to park yourself on the beach (and hey, choosing which of our great Miami beaches hit up isn’t too easy, either). But that wasn’t always so. As recently as even a decade ago, the best restaurants in Miami were usually found in swanky South Beach hotel lobbies. Today, the best Miami hotels still offer amazing dining experiences, but good eating has spread throughout the miracle city—from hip Wynwood to Brickell to Little Havana and beyond. For the new breed of best restaurants in Miami, you've come to the right place.
Best restaurants in Miami
KYU was one of a handful of Wynwood restaurants to nab a nomination from the prestigious James Beard Awards. And you won’t even be through your appetizer before you understand why KYU is in the running for Best New Restaurant. The dining room—an airy, minimalist warehouse—fits nicely with Wynwood’s personality. The menu takes Asian concepts and introduces them to the barbecue, and the result is undeniably mouthwatering dishes like the MVPS of the “snacky snacks,” crispy pork belly and crispy crab buns.
Time Out tip: Consistently one of the city’s toughest reservations, a seat at KYU’s bar hardly feels like a consolation prize. The cocktail list recently underwent an extensive update, introducing umami-infused drinks and Asian-influenced creations like the Tom TKYU Gai, a warm cocktail take on the classic Thai soup.
At Stubborn Seed, his first solo venture, Jeremy Ford is every bit the fixated parent fussing over his new baby—in a good way. The eight-course tasting menu is sign of a chef who’s poured over every detail of the culinary experience: small, meticulously plated dishes that surprise, delight and amuse. Pastry chef Dallas Wynne’s snickerdoodle cookies make for a satisfying finish to any meal.
Time Out tip: Budding mixologists will want to order the Silver Dollar old fashioned, a DIY cocktail whose ingredients arrive on a silver platter for diners to assemble themselves.
Rustic and homey, this off-the-beaten-path Italian is full of locals looking to escape the madness of South Beach. Luckily, they’ve found a place to do it where the laid-back vibe is totally authentic and the food is damn good, too.
Time Out tip: Are you fan of Sicilian-style pizza? Plan to dine during Outstanding Pizza and Prosecco Sunday (O.P.P.), the one day a week that chef Michael Pirolo’s famous grandma-inspired pies are available on the trattoria’s menu. Our favorite is the recently added Bianca, a sauceless, thin-crust pizza with three types of cheeses.
Gastón Acurio’s talented protégé Diego Oka mans the kitchen at La Mar, whose menu Oka continually tweaks as travel and ingredient seasonality inspire him. His whims have given way to signature dishes like the tiradito bachiche—snapper delicately dressed in aged parmesan cheese—and chicha morada brisket, which is slowly braised and seasoned with traditional Peruvian ingredients. Not to be outdone by the restaurant’s singular view, presentation is key to any meal at La Mar—arroz chaufa is served tableside, steamed fish is unwrapped before you and pisco sours are served emblazoned with an orange logo, among other surprises.
Time Out tip: MO Bar + Lounge, adjacent to the restaurant, doesn’t get as much as attention as La Mar, but it’s a lovely place for a night cap. Settle into one of the couches and sip a craft cocktail while listening to live music, which changes nightly and includes Spanish guitar and Latin jazz.
The riverfront restaurant is filled—day and night—with stunning people who know they’re as much a part of the show as the orchestrated action in the spacious open kitchen. Expect a massive selection of modern Japanese bites, from sea bass sashimi with yuzu, salmon roe and truffle oil to tiger prawn tempura.
Time Out tip: The weekend brunch at Zuma is the best bang for your buck: bottomless champagne, unlimited helpings from a buffet stacked with Japanese starters and sushi, your choice of entrée like spicy beef tenderloin or miso cod, and an Instagrammable dessert platter for the table is just $99.
Hit up the Edgewater neighborhood’s casual yet classy haunt, located across from a historic Miami cemetery. An old-school marquee hanging above the kitchen maps out your next adventure in oysters. There are usually about eight options, and it’s okay to ask for help when making a selection. Classic seafood preparations, hearty lobster rolls, soups and an extensive list of veggie sides round out the menu.
Time Out tip: Two words: make reservations. Most Miami restaurants will typically squeeze in walk-ins but Mignonette’s cozy dining rooms just don’t have the space to accommodate anyone who doesn’t call ahead—especially at dinner, when wait times are the longest.
Open for dinner and weekend brunch, 27’s menu has an interesting set of globally inspired dishes made with fresh ingredients from local farms and purveyors, as well as herbs and vegetables from the rooftop garden above the kitchen.
Time Out tip: Here on a school night? Head upstairs for a cocktail. The second-floor spot is kitschy and cozy and provides just the right amount of dim light for those looking to keep their weekday drinking under wraps. Skip the menu and go straight for the bartender’s choice—the boozehounds at 27 are all award-winning pros.
Don your best stilettos or suit for dinner at this swanky, Brickell spot that’s hip and trendy rather than stuffy. You’ll shell out more than you’re used to at your neighborhood restaurant for guacamole and margaritas, but the variety you’ll find within both will make it well worth the extra bucks.
Time Out tip: Cantina’s margaritas are among the best in Miami, but at $16 and above, they’re pricey. Fortunately, ladies can sip on them for free at the bar every Wednesday from 5pm to 10pm. Sorry, fellas.
The city’s first Asian-inspired gastropub busted open the doors on traditional Latin fare and introduced Asian flavors to classics such as mofongo. Looking for something with more of a Miami spin? Try the bao and ramen featuring tasty lechón.
Time Out tip: Save room for dessert. The Pubbelly Group’s pastry chef extraordinaire Maria Orantes doles out incredible creations, from doughnuts and cookies to our personal favorite, the coco loco—a refreshing ice cream dessert served inside a hollowed coconut.
First-time diners should opt for the generous tasting menu ($55 for three courses), though if going the a-la-carte route, make sure to order the smoked lamb neck and the green millet, which is like polenta and happens to be the chef’s favorite. “We get the millet from a small Indian village where my ancestors are from; we support the whole village on this one dish because we buy out everything they can produce,” says owner Niven Patel.
Time Out tip: Can’t stand the heat? Tell your server; most dishes are on the spicier side and normally mild items like the cheddar naan, while delicious, will make your mouth feel like it’s on fire.
This buzzy restaurant is a true star. Decor and menu are classy yet casual, and the service also strikes just the right note. The interior mixes industrial chic—concrete floors, exposed ducts—with warmth (red lamps, flickering candles, modern art and a brick oven glowing from the open kitchen). With an emphasis on local ingredients, the high-end comfort food ticks all the right boxes. Mains change daily but might include a selection of wood-fired pizzas; duck confit with brussels sprouts, wild rice and pomegranate; steak au poivre; and pan-roasted chicken. For something lighter, opt for a selection from the raw bar, which is brimming with all sorts of fresh seafood.
Time Out tip: Dinner reservations are essential at the popular restaurant but seats at the bar overlooking the bustling kitchen are first-come, first-served.
NIU is a small eatery serving Basque-style tapas that are downright delicious. Take the Llamàntol for a spin: It’s a layered cake of sorts with fresh Maine lobster, smashed avocado, a runny five-minute egg and trout roe on top. If you’re sticking with seafood, the dinner menu has Arròs Caldós, or soupy rice with fish. And no meal here is complete without plenty of pa amb tomàquet, the traditional rustic bread with vine-ripened tomatoes, olive oil and salt.
Time Out tip: NIU is literally a hidden gem surrounded by bodegas and parking lots. If you’re looking for a place to grab a drink before dinner, sister restaurant, Arson (104 NE 2nd Ave), is your best option. Plus, the hours of operation are the same for both.
South Florida’s most famous restaurant, Joe’s is as much a Miami must-see as Ocean Drive. It attracts locals, tourists and celebs, serving seasonal stone crabs (October–May) with a “secret” sauce, garlic creamed spinach, fried sweet potatoes, coleslaw and hash browns. If you don’t like seafood, try the fried chicken, or the liver and onions. Joe’s doesn’t take reservations, so be prepared for a horrendously long wait, first to register your name, then for a table.
Time Out tip: Skip the wait at Joe’s Take Away next door, where you get the same fresh claws at the same price without the long lines. Plus, this is where you’ll find some of the best fried chicken in town for less than $10.
Chef Giorgio Rapicavoli puts a fun twist on upscale dining at Eating House, a rustic eatery at the edge of ritzy Coral Gables. Dishes veer from the ordinary, like the meaty cauliflower steak or seemingly straightforward mushrooms, which give forth an explosion of earthy flavors.
Time Out tip: Dining with small children? Take your brood to brunch for Eating House’s signature Cap'n Crunch pancakes, dirt cups and Tang—which grownups can order to flavor their mimosa. Heads-up: Once a year, Eating House features a special, eight-course 4/20 menu for just $42.
Matthew Kuscher’s neighborhood burger joint is popular with people and canines alike (yep, they’ve got a special dog menu, too). Its selection of grass-feed beef burgers runs the gamut from traditional to only-in-Miami, like the famous Cuban frita burger and Juan’s Fidy-Fidy—a decadent patty made from 50 percent Florida beef and 50 percent Florida bacon. Brew-loving Kuscher has also made sure to stock an assortment of local beers.
Time Out tip: Coconut Grove residents who show either a Code 33 card or their driver license with a 33133 zip code get their second beer or glass of wine free Monday through Thursday. As for the phone booth inside the restaurant, it’s actually a secret entrance to the milk-shake bar next door.
Almost as famous locally as its palatial namesake is in France, Versailles is a kitschy Cuban diner with wall-to-wall mirrors, a constant buzz and an unabridged menu featuring every dish ever cataloged as Cuban. Besides cafecito, the most iconic item on the menu is easily the Cubano.
Time Out tip: There’s never not a line at the cafecito window near the restaurant’s main entrance. For a quick Cuban coffee and pastelito, head next door to the bakery. It serves a wider selection of baked goods and has a small seating area for a proper colada break.