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Photograph: Courtesy Glass & Vine

The best spots for outdoor dining in Miami

Book a patio table or grab a seat on the terrace and enjoy a socially distanced meal outdoors

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Written by
Virginia Gil
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Summer is about the worst time of year to dine outdoors in Miami—it’s hot, muggy and you’re usually seconds away from a sudden downpour. But life post lockdown has a lot of us rethinking the appeal of a meal al fresco even when it’s sweltering. As more restaurants in Miami reopen, some people feel safer eating outside amid the fresh air while others are excited for the opportunity to be anywhere but indoors right now, ordering food delivery for the thousandth time this month.

Below is a list of the best places to dine outdoors in Miami right this minute. Our curated roundup is by no means exhaustive but we will be updating it as more spots reopen. In it, we point to eateries known for their delightful terraces as well as restaurants that have expanded their patios and gardens during the shutdown. Whether inside or outside, remember to follow the new safety guidelines in place for Miami-Dade restaurants, including wearing a mask to and from your table. And by all means, be patient. Dining out these days is an adjustment for everyone, including for the staff who are getting used to all kinds of changes. Kindness is welcomed and tipping generously is encouraged.

Outdoor dining in Miami

  • Restaurants
  • Vietnamese
  • Little Haiti / Lemon City
  • price 2 of 4

The front and back patios of the MiMo spot underwent a transformation over the past few weeks, introducing more seating and planting loads of fresh greenery for added privacy between tables. While more updates are scheduled for the whimsical rear lantern garden, the breezy terrace off Biscayne Boulevard already feels like a secluded oasis. Phuc Yea is currently only open for dinner and brunch and weekends; reservations are required.

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • West Coconut Grove
  • price 2 of 4

Coconut Grove’s Commodore Plaza is known for its sidewalk seating, but Strada is the only eatery to double-down on outdoor dining with a private back patio. It’s small but private and ideal for large families looking to ease back into dine-in service. Strada is open regular hours, but online reservations aren’t accepted at this time.

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  • Bars
  • Wineries
  • Midtown
  • price 1 of 4

The charming wine bar, which we ranked on our list of Miami’s best bars, serves food and was therefore allowed to reopen before most watering holes in the city. It’s sprawling outdoor space is dotted with all kinds of living room setups making it easy to social distance in groups. At night, the space sparkles under endless rows of bistro lights.

  • Restaurants
  • Pizza
  • West Coconut Grove
  • price 2 of 4

Across the street from Strada is its sister pizzeria with a sprawling shaded courtyard. It sits a few feet above street level on Grand Avenue, providing a nice distance from the cars and pedestrians making their way past the restaurant. Farinelli is open regular hours, but online reservations aren’t accepted at this time.

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  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary American
  • Coconut Grove
  • price 3 of 4

Our version of Central Park’s Tavern on the Green overlooks Coconut Grove’s Peacock Park and its various basketball courts and playgrounds. It’s a family-friendly spot: even if the kids can’t roam as freely as they once did, the whole brood can join and feel at ease enjoying a meal on the breezy elevated terrace.

  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Downtown
  • price 3 of 4

The cozy Downtown bar and restaurant pivoted faster than most places in this city and they’re still evolving. Starting last weekend and continuing for the foreseeable future, Jaguar Sun pops up at Little River event space Lot 6. It’s open, spacious and about as socially distanced as you can get in a restaurant. Everything is outdoors—including the kitchen—and seating ranges from high tops for two to large, banquet-style round tables that accommodate up to six people from the same household. It’s currently open on Fridays and Saturdays from 5 to 11pm and serving an inventive Mexican-inspired menu, featuring tacos, snapper aguachile and poppable parker house churros. Reservations are a must and can be made by emailing: info@jaguarsunmia.com.

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  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Little Haiti / Lemon City
  • price 2 of 4

With only a few outdoor tables at its disposable pre-shutdown, the MiMo restaurant took over the adjacent motel grounds and turned it into a beer garden stocked with picnic tables and tiki torches (bugs, be damned). Order up the full menu and settle in for a good time under the stars. After all, with a tagline that reads “where the food is hot and the service is hotter,” you can’t expect anything else.

  • Restaurants
  • Fusion
  • Midtown
  • price 3 of 4

A longtime favorite of the after-work crowd, this Midtown restaurant isn’t letting lockdown ruin its famous happy hour. While you can’t sidle up to the outdoor bar to enjoy discounted oysters, you can order them up at a table in the courtyard along with wine and cocktails. Going for lunch or dinner? Check out the SushiSamba Pop-Up, available at Sugarcane for a limited time.

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Bal Harbour
  • price 4 of 4

Most outdoor dining is inherently laid-back, but there are options for more elevated experiences. Makoto at the Bal Harbour Shops is certainly up there, offering the same fine-dining experience outdoors than you would expect inside. The Japanese restaurant also recently expanded its terrace to ensure its tables are properly distanced. It doesn’t break the bank either, offering a filling $20 bento box at lunch and dinner.

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

Both Taquiza locations in Miami Beach have reopened but if you’re looking to spread out and enjoy the outdoors, head to the North Beach outpost. The taco spot introduced shaded picnic tables along the sidewalk in addition to its existing covered terrace. Plus, they’ve switched to a counter-style service to minimize the number of people handling your food.

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Nikki Beach
  • Nightlife
  • South of Fifth

Nikki Beach is the quintessential beach club, an outdoor fantasyland sprawling over a stretch of sand with tiki bars, lounge chairs and torches. But it’s also an upscale restaurant whose chic, Saint-Tropez vibes attract all sorts of beautiful people. If you’re looking for someplace airy where to spend the afternoon sipping rosé and noshing with friends, you’ve found your spot. 

  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Coral Gables

We’re fans of every single Coyo in Miami (Wynwood, Time Out Market, Brickell and Coral Gables) but this one reigns supreme during present times, offering a sizeable patio along pedestrian-only Giralda Plaza. It’s also removed from busy streets so there’s little chance a zooming car or street noise will ruin your experience. Don’t fret: All of Coyo’s signature dishes and cocktails are available at this outpost. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Greek
  • Buena Vista
  • price 2 of 4

Remember when you thought summer was too hot for a meal at Mandolin? Not anymore, as the Design District restaurant’s outdoor dining area is seemingly busier than ever. You’ll need to book early to snag a reservation in its picturesque garden filled with foliage and large trees providing plenty of shade, but it’s worth planning ahead. A meal here feels like an escape to the Aegean and with travel on hold for the foreseeable future, Mandolin fills the void. 

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Buena Vista
  • price 2 of 4

Refreshing cocktails and delectable Italian bites await at this breezy Buena Vista eatery. Tuck into bowls of house-made pasta and crispy pizzas in either the ground-level garden or the second-floor rooftop, both of which are expansive and covered. Happy hour goes down on weekdays from 4 to 7pm and you can take advantage from exactly where you’re seated. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • West Coconut Grove
  • price 2 of 4

It’s a good thing Navé and neighboring sister property, Ariete, opened up their shared patio. No matter where you choose to dine, both afford you the ample space you require to socially distance while you feast. Navé heeds our cravings for carbs and seafood, plus there’s pizza to go with the rosé we’ll definitely be ordering in the garden. 

  • Restaurants
  • Sandwich shops
  • East Little Havana
  • price 1 of 4

Try Latin food that forces you out of your comfort zone in an airy, pleasant space that won’t. Helmed by chef Justin Sherrer, the Little Havana restaurant makes up for its small dining room with a massive courtyard in the back. The menu is influenced by Cuban cuisine but it’s much more far-reaching, dabbling in Asian and Venezuelan, among others.

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  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Design District

You wouldn’t even know this modern, white-washed garden existed driving past the Northern Italian spot in Midtown. But this tucked away treasure is where you’ll want to be for a delicious meal al fresco. Stop by on Tuesday for half-priced entrées, on Wednesday for 50-percent off select wines and on Sunday when anything goes. 

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