The best Downtown Miami restaurants hiding in plain sight

The best Downtown Miami restaurants will take some searching to find, but we promise they’re worth it
Boulud Sud
Photograph: Courtesy Boulud Sud
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For quite a long time, dining in Downtown Miami restaurants was as sexy a proposition as waterskiing in the Everglades. But as the Downtown development boom has gained momentum, so too has its restaurant scene. It started slow but restaurateurs around town now rightfully recognize Downtown as the next big thing, and its food scene is right up there with the best restaurants in South Beach and other more well-known areas. In fact, you’ll find more than one restaurant on this list featured in our roundup of the best restaurants in Miami. Downtown has come a long way, for sure. Now, whether you’re celebrating a very special occasion or looking for a hidden spot to enjoy some breathtakingly good food, Downtown has an answer—a tasty, tasty answer. 

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Downtown Miami

Downtown Miami restaurants

1
Fooq's Miami
Photograph: Rodrigo Moreno
Restaurants, Persian

Fooq's

icon-location-pin Park West

What is it? One of the very big reasons people see Downtown as a future food destination. Here, owner David Foulquier has borrowed all the best bits of his fine dining experience while somehow maintaining an easygoing atmosphere.
Why go? Because where else will you find amazing Persian cuisine mingling with Mediterranean flavors in such a hip place? In Miami, nowhere.

Time Out says
2
Zuma
Photograph: Courtesy Zuma/James Shearer
Restaurants, Japanese

Zuma

icon-location-pin Downtown

What is it? Flashy, fancy and delicious Japanese food. Make a reservation (it’s very necessary) and unleash your inner-celebrity—which means no shorts and flip-flops, pal.
Why go? Because it’s a treat-yo-self kind of night and that view of the Miami River (sit outside!) is so worth it. Brunch also comes highly recommended.

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3
All Day Coffee
Photograph: Geoffrey Anderson
Restaurants, Coffee shops

ALL DAY

icon-location-pin Park West

What is it? Gourmet coffee and breakfast food so good it’ll make you question every piece of French toast you’ve ever consumed. It’s tempting to label this the perfect hangover spot, but eating this food and drinking this coffee anything but alert and present is a waste.
Why go? Because the cold brew/rosemary limeade mashup is worth the hype. And you’re in the mood for fluffy French toast now aren’t you?

Time Out says
4
Boulud Sud
Photograph: Claudia Uribe Touri
Restaurants, Mediterranean

Boulud Sud

icon-location-pin Downtown

What is it? A fancy Mediterranean restaurant courtesy of the lauded chef Daniel Boulud. It was good enough for Manhattan’s competitive fine dining scene and it’s equally delicious in the 305.
Why go? Because Mr. Boulud could slap his last name on a port-o-potty and we’d line up to get in. Thankfully, this special occasion restaurant tastes and smells infinity times better than such a concept.

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5
Manna Life Food
Photograph: Courtesy Manna Life Food
Restaurants, Vegan

Manna Life Food

icon-location-pin Downtown

What is it? A rare healthy food concept that is less about flashy buzzwords and more about phenomenal quality. Everything is house-made, gluten-free, plant-based, organic and tastes amazing.
Why go? Because your stomach needs some positive vibes. Manna set out to provide a healthy, mindful dining alternative in Downtown and continues to be the best at that.

Time Out says
6
NIU Kitchen
Photograph: Stephan Goettlicher
Restaurants, Spanish

NIU Kitchen

icon-location-pin Downtown

What is it? The closest thing to real Catalan cuisine in Miami. NIU is a hidden spot among bodegas and parking lots so—don’t worry—you’re in the right place. The narrow but cozy restaurant only has about ten tables, so reservations are encouraged. 
Why go? Easy: the food. This spot plays by its own rules with shareable plates that mix tradition and an eccentric, adventurous spirit. A bottle of wine is a must. Your server will help you pick. 

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7
Soya e Pomodoro
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Momo B.
Restaurants, Italian

Soya & Pomodoro

icon-location-pin Downtown

What is it? A family-owned trattoria that’s serving you nothing but fresh, homemade dishes. Expect live jazz and a living room ambiance.
Why go? Because it’s date night and you really need some fresh ideas. This place is effortlessly charming—and will feed you like a good Italian.

Time Out says
8
Novikov Miami
Photograph: Courtesy Novikov Miami
Restaurants, Chinese

Novikov Miami

icon-location-pin Downtown

What is it? A Chinese-Japanese hybrid with a tinge of Russian that will fulfill your champagne wishes and caviar dreams. Prince Harry was apparently a fan of this restaurant’s London outpost.
Why go? Because you want to feel like an Oligarch for a night while nibbling on dishes topped with truffle and caviar. Welcome to the good life! Hope you’ve got some room on that credit card.

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9
Il Gabbiano
Photograph: Courtesy Il Gabbiano
Restaurants, Italian

Il Gabbiano

icon-location-pin Downtown

What is it? An old-school, super fancy Italian restaurant with a prime waterfront view. The servers wear white suits and will do their best to make your very expensive meal worth it.
Why go? The view and the food are neck-and-neck here. Both are incredible and rare in Miami. But for what you’re paying, they better be.

Time Out says
10
Meraki Greek Bistro
Photograph: Yelp/Meraki Greek Bistro
Restaurants, Greek

Meraki Greek Bistro

icon-location-pin Downtown

What is it? Greek comfort food that doesn’t skimp on portions or taste. It’s a great spot for a weekday power lunch or hearty dinner before a night out.
Why go? Really good Greek food in Miami tends to be on the pricer side of the spectrum. But here, tasty entrees rarely go above $12. Plus, it’s open until 11pm, which means: drunk gyros, baby.

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