Even though we have to deal with the occasional spontaneous thunderstorm and levels of humidity that even the lightest linen shorts can’t save you from, Miami is still a place where you can eat outside pretty much every single day. So we’re rounding up the best new outdoor restaurants that we’ve tried lately - from live music venues in Little Haiti to a solid spot for pizza and burgers in Wynwood.
Tigre is a beautiful Argentinian restaurant in the Upper East Side where you can bring a date, a few friends, or, really, anyone who appreciates interior design and the color green. The outdoor seating is organized along a little canal that - despite being just a baseball toss away from the hectic intersection of Biscayne and 79th - feels peaceful and secluded. Tigre’s aesthetics are its main selling point, but the food is also good. There are some solid veggie options, like a simple, crunchy hearts of palm salad or tender roasted beets, but you’ll find bigger steak and fish entrees too.
Luca Osteria is a Coral Gables Italian restaurant along the pedestrian-only Giralda Plaza. It has lots of spacious outdoor seating where you can watch a steady stream of dogs and people. But as soon as the food hits the table, you won’t pay attention to anything but the plate in front of you. Everything here is delicious. The cacio pepe is perfectly al dente, and the bucatini alle vongole is beautifully balanced with tender manila clams resting on top. There are some excellent non-pasta dishes here too. Specifically, the patate fritte. It’s little fried potato balls covered by a creamy layer of parmigiano fonduta, black truffle, and a single egg yolk in the center - and it’s one of the best dishes in the entire city.
Heartland is an outdoor restaurant and music venue in Little Haiti with tables spread out underneath a massive tree in a big empty lot. Pretty much every seat is facing the stage, where there’s usually a band jamming out. While you watch that band, you can order a bottle of wine, a ribeye, roasted eggplant, and lamb chops. The food isn’t the main attraction here, but it’s got a great atmosphere, and is a wonderful place to bring a date or a couple of friends who are down to drink some wine and listen to a saxophone.
This Australian brewery in Coral Gables is a great place to drink and eat outside. Their front patio is really spacious, and laid out over a stretch of astroturf, so you can feel like you’re having a little picnic. This place is equal parts brewery and restaurant, and you can certainly come here to just drink - they’ve got some crisp, refreshing day-drinking brews. But if you did that, you’d be missing out on what are quite possibly the best fish and chips in town.
Service at Freehold is, in our experience, very fast. So it’s a solid option for a quick dinner before bar-hopping or any date you’d like to keep under an hour. Pizza is what most folks are eating here - and it’s fine - but they make a pretty good burger too, which comes on a Portuguese muffin with a generous pile of french fries. The outdoor seating is in a courtyard in the center of the building, so you don’t have to deal with foot traffic brushing up against your table. There’s a giant disco ball, a DJ booth, and a big bar in case you want to stick around for drinks after dinner.
This Wynwood brewery and restaurant really deserves its own zip code. It’s huge, and half the property is devoted to outdoor seating. Cervecería was inspired by a Havana brewery founded in 1888, so expect a mostly Cuban/Caribbean menu with things like yucca fries, jerk chicken wings, ceviche, and shockingly good plantain chips. But it’s more of a place to drink, snack, and watch live music - which they usually have outside during the weekend. Things also don’t get too wild here, so this is one Wynwood bar where you can confidently bring the family.
Kush Hospitality seems to be incapable of producing a bad restaurant, and MiMo’s Cafe Kush is further proof of this theory. This restaurant feels like the original Kush in Wynwood if it took a French vacation. They have some burger options, but also steak frites, a croque monsieur, and a great double-cut pork chop. Their outdoor seating is really lovely, too. It offers a view of Little River, which isn’t a huge body of water but does give you an above-average chance of spotting a manatee - especially in the winter.
As with pretty much all hotel restaurants in South Beach, you can expect higher-than-average prices and a slightly touristy crowd at Osteria Morini. However, it’s still possible to have a very enjoyable meal here, especially if you sit outside. All the outdoor tables are arranged along a narrow little canal that can make you feel like you’re in Venice, if you squint hard and have had more than two negronis. Pasta is the move here, and it’s solid - especially the torcia nera and cappelletti.
Abba Telavivian Kitchen is an Israeli restaurant in South of Fifth that’s an excellent choice for a sit-down breakfast or lazy lunch. The breakfast menu is a little shorter, but you can still find a great shakshuka or Jerusalem bagel. The longer lunch menu has dishes like crispy falafel and roasted local fish. But even if you got stuck on the causeway and missed the 4pm lunch cut off, don’t turn around and go home. They have a small “sunset menu” from 4-7pm, which offers glasses of wine, beer, and various salads and spreads like roasted onion tahini - along with that fantastic roasted fish. And you can eat all that while enjoying the actual sunset on their shaded outdoor patio.
Itamae is located in the Design District and serves the best Nikkei (Peruvian/Japanese) food in the city. Right now, they only have outdoor seating, and its spacious layout is great for Design District people-watching. But the food - not the view - is the main reason to come here. Just about every sushi roll, ceviche, tiradito, and any other special they happen to be offering that day will be the best thing you’ve eaten in recent memory. And you’ll be glad you’re sitting outside so you can look towards the sky and mumble a prayer of gratitude for what just happened to your taste buds.
This spot from the Ghee team has some outdoor tables, but there’s also a rooftop space, which is where you want to be if you’re trying to eat outside. The full menu isn’t available up there (unfortunately), but you can still drink some very good cocktails and have small plates. Happy Hour is from 3-6pm daily, and food options include mostly Caribbean dishes like conch fritters, jerk roasted plantains, and wahoo ceviche. And all of the above are very tasty.