MIA

Where To Eat And Drink In Miami

PHOTO: Karla Garcia

Miami is home to a lot of good restaurants, and that number only seems to be growing. Whether you grew up here or just make the annual trip for Art Basel, it can be hard to keep track of the new places to check out and the classics that are worth another visit. For that, we’ve put together our recommendations for where to eat around Miami, broken down by neighborhood. We’ve included everything from a tasting menu in Wynwood, to some low-key South Beach spots, to a ridiculous riff on the Jewish deli in Surfside. While this is our first Miami guide, it’s definitely not our last, so stay tuned for a lot more from The Infatuation in 2019.

All restaurants featured on The Infatuation are selected by our editorial team. The Miami City Guide is presented by the American Express ® Gold Card. Click here to learn more about the benefits and rewards you get from paying with the Amex Gold Card while dining out.

miami beach

Upland is originally a New York restaurant, and the Miami location is almost a carbon copy, down to the jars of lemons on the walls and green leather booths. And considering Upland is one of our top-ranked NYC restaurants, this is a good thing. Their California-meets-Italian menu includes great pasta, pizza, and wine, but the dishes from the wood-fired grill are what make this place special and are great for sharing with a small group. Get the whole roasted branzino for two and the lamb chops or short ribs. If you need some balance, the pistachio pizza is a strong choice. The surrounding South Pointe neighborhood is best-known for stone crab, chain steakhouses, and clubs, so this is a nice addition.

27 Restaurant

Miami Beach
2727 Indian Creek Dr

27 Restaurant is located inside a restored two-story house from the 1930s in the courtyard of the Freehand Hotel, and when you’re looking for a big group spot in Miami Beach with no neon signs or overpriced fishbowl drinks, head here. The menu is a little all over the place, with everything from harissa brussels sprouts and kimchi fried rice to an arepa platter, but the food is great and everyone will be able to find something they like. Plus, their cocktails are good and made with fresh ingredients from their garden. If you need somewhere to go afterwards, The Broken Shaker is just outside.

Photo: Justin Namon
MAP

Walking into The Broken Shaker at the Freehand feels like you’re entering a secret oasis. The small bar opens up to a large tree-lined patio, garden, and pool, all of which will almost make you forget that you’re right next to South Beach. Unlike most of the clubby bars in the area, The Broken Shaker feels a little more grown up, like somewhere that both college spring breakers and a group in their thirties could enjoy. Yes, there will probably be a bouncer and club-goers present, but this spot has great drinks and it’s one of the better options in the area.

Photo: Adrian Gaut

The restaurant equivalent of a very nice linen shirt, Forte dei Marmi is one of South Beach’s most grown-up restaurants. Bring the people in your life who really appreciate a good piece of branzino, and then also be sure to order the appetizer that involves pasta-like strands of calamari topped with caviar. And finish off with the pistachio soft serve gelato.

Joe’s has been around forever and at some point you’ll probably end up here with your family or because everyone you asked told you it was a Miami requirement. The century-old restaurant has white table cloths and plenty of sunburnt parties of 10. But if you want something more casual, check out Joe’s Take-Away next door. It’s the exact same food, just with fewer tuxedo-clad waiters. Besides the crab, they have surprisingly great fried chicken and since you’re already eating with your hands, you might as well continue.

Pubbelly Noodle Bar isn’t somewhere that can be defined by just one dish, but the mofongo pork belly ramen should give you a good idea of what you’re getting into at this Bayshore spot. It’s an Asian-inspired gastropub serving some of the most unique food you’ll find in Miami, with two daily Happy Hours (6-7pm and 10pm to close) and a large wrap-around bar. Stop by for dinner before heading out for the night, or for some post-bar noodles when you get tired of waiting 20 minutes to get a drink elsewhere.

While Miami is located in the South, it’s definitely not southern. But when you’re craving classic southern food, you can find it at Yardbird in South Beach. They’re known for their fried chicken, so get an order for the table, but make sure you try out the rest of the menu as well. They serve all the greatest hits, from a fried green tomato BLT to biscuits topped with everything from ham to brisket to gravy. While Yardbird is casual, this space is definitely nicer than more of the fried chicken spots you’ll find, and means you’ll probably go for a knife and fork rather than eating with your hands. Don’t worry, it tastes just as good either way.

The Miami outpost of a famous hotel/restaurant from Positano on the Amalfi Coast, Le Sirenuse is Miami’s best answer to serious white tablecloth fine dining. It’s not a place with foams or endless tiny courses though - instead, you’ll eat things like pasta with truffles and lobster tails. Prices are very high, but the room (located in the renovated Surf Club Hotel in Surfside) is beautiful, and the food is excellent. Use it to celebrate something special.

Macchialina never fails to impress, unlike that story about surfing you tell at every birthday and on every date. It’s a great spot to eat good pasta and split a nice bottle of wine, but it still feels more like an upscale pub than somewhere you’d have to Youtube “how to tie a tie” for. You should make a reservation though, especially for Thursdays when all of their pastas are $10 all night. Bring a few people, or recruit a few strangers on the street, just so that you can justify ordering every pasta on the menu.

Photo: Tasty Planet

There are two things you need to know before going to La Sandwicherie: they’re only closed for two hours between 5-7am and you’ll want to put their dijon vinaigrette on everything once you try it. All of the sandwiches on the menu, from the croque monsieur to the Italian, are made with fresh ingredients, even at 4am. The South Beach location is the go-to late-night option in the area, so if you happen to lose whomever you’re with at a club, odds are you’ll find them here at some point.

Even in a city with as many northeastern transplants as Miami, great pizza is still hard to find. Luckily, there’s Lucali. The sister location to the Brooklyn original, this Sunset Harbour spot serves Miami’s best pizza, hands down. Large pies start at $24 and are the size of a manhole cover so definitely come with a group. You can also head next door to 1930 Social Club for $12 bar-sized Lucali pizzas and calzones, along with free meatballs and wings during their daily Happy Hour.

MAP

There are some occasions when you embrace the Las Vegas feel of Miami Beach and there are others when that sounds like a nightmare. For the latter, there’s Sweet Liberty. It’s packed at night, but when you’re looking to day drink it’s a good spot to hide out from the larger crowds. They have an extensive cocktail list and the food menu includes great snacks, like fried chicken, spicy tots, and cauliflower nachos, along with $0.75 oysters during Happy Hour.

Photo: Ellie Groden

Tap Tap is a classic South Beach favorite for Haitian food and a good time. Come here with a group to eat some goat, drink some rum, and listen to some live Haitian music on Thursday and Saturday nights. It’s exactly where you want to be when you’re sick of all the trendy clubs and trendy restaurants and trendy club restaurants. Basically anywhere that doesn’t serve goat.

Josh's Deli

Surfside
9517 Harding Ave.

Josh’s Deli is not your bubbe’s deli and that’s very much on purpose. Although it’s located in historically Jewish Surfside, Josh’s almost revels in the fact that it isn’t Kosher. Seriously, just look at the menu, which includes traif options like octopus elote and “The Jewban,” their pastrami-topped take on a Cuban sandwich. This place is a little absurd, but their spicy tuna latkes and corned beef reuben are enough to satisfy even the most traditional deli lover in your life.

wynwood/design district

Alter

Wynwood
223 NW 23rd St

Every day more good restaurants open in Miami, but very few places are pushing the city’s dining scene the way that Alter is with their inventive tasting menus. This Wynwood spot serves five, seven, and eight-course options with rabbit udon as likely to appear on the menu as parmesan ice cream or duck breast grilled over pine cones. Between everyone taking photos of their food, the dim neon lighting, and the one wall that you can’t decide if it’s actually unfinished or just designed to look that way, there’s no hiding that this place is really going for it. Luckily though, the food’s really good and you’ll be thinking about the meal for days afterward.

Kyu

Wynwood
251 NW 25th St

We’ve all been in charge of planning a group dinner before with people who all want different things. One suggests Italian, another sushi, and someone else just wants to argue. That’s when you head to Kyu. Their menu of New American and Korean BBQ dishes definitely covers a lot of ground, with everything from burrata to pork belly buns to Thai coconut creamed spinach, and they have a big wine and sake list as well. Portions are on the smaller side, but dishes like the Korean fried chicken and whole grilled corn with miso lime butter, along with their use of local seafood, make any dinner at this Wynwood spot worth it.

Imagine a restaurant Venn diagram. One on side, Indian. On the other, farm-to-table. These two rarely overlap, but that’s exactly what’s happening at Ghee Indian Kitchen. This spot serves upscale versions of Indian classics like chicken tikka masala, along with specialties like the short rib dosa, smoked lamb neck, and Key West pink shrimp curry, each of which features produce from the restaurant’s nearby farm. This Design District spot is their second location, which is great because the original restaurant is out at the Dadeland Mall and life’s really too short to have to make that trip every time you want great Indian food.

When you order a bottle at a club, it’s a safe assumption that it will come with a sparkler and a bunch of people who suddenly want to be your friend. And when you get brunch at Michael’s, you can correctly assume it will be one of the best you’ll have in Miami. On the days when the humidity is tolerable, sit outside and share a few small plates, like the Spanish tortilla, soft scrambled eggs, and maple bacon French toast. The menu features local ingredients and seasonal produce - so while a meal here can get a bit pricey, it’s always fresh and worth it.

Photo: Jackie Sayet

Mandolin Aegean Bistro in the Design District has great food and one of the best patios around. The menu is a mix of Turkish and Greek dishes with some of the produce coming straight from the on-site garden that you’ll eat next to. Order the Turkish sampler with hummus, tomato, and eggplant, and a spicy lamb kebab to share, along with some sangria. Mandolin definitely fills up quick though, so do your best to book ahead or expect to wait.

Photo: Karla Garcia

Palmar

Wynwood
180 NW 29th St

Maybe you got lost trying to distinguish between all the square buildings on NW 29th, or you had a busy day deciding whether you should finally get that Ducati. Once you’re done looking at very fast motor scooters, head next door to Palmar. It’s a small green box of a restaurant that’s home to wicker lamps, pink seating, and some of the best Chinese food in the city. The menu has both larger dishes and dim sum-style plates, and the wine and sake lists are worth testing out. Try as much as you can, but since the dishes can get pricey, come with a group or for a birthday dinner before going out nearby.

Photo: Gourmandj

Hiden

Wynwood
313 NW 25th St

Like martinis and retina scanners, eating at Hiden makes you feel like a spy. You’ll weave through a taco shop and enter a code next to a rear door, where you’d expect to find a laser beam-protected lair rather than this tiny Japanese omakase counter. Once you sit down, you’ll start with a few small appetizers before the eight courses of nigiri start. The $130 price tag is high, but since it’s one of the best meals and experiences you can have in the city, it’s worthwhile for a big night. It’s also one of the hardest reservations to get in Miami right now, so be sure to book a seat in advance.

Photo: Showa Hospitality

1-800-Lucky

Wynwood
250 NW 23rd St Unit 312

You spent the morning at the Wynwood Walls and now you’re hungry and wondering whether you’d get your security deposit back if you spray paint your bedroom wall. Check your lease documents over lunch at 1-800-Lucky. It’s an Asian food hall with everything from ramen and sushi to banh mis and Peking duck. Grab a drink - like a frozen beer or a taro slushie - and head outside where there are string lights and loud hip hop music.

Photo: Tasty Planet

Downtown/brickell

Baby Jane

Brickell
185 SW 7th St

Baby Jane is a loud, neon-lit Brickell bar. But unlike other loud, neon-lit Brickell bars, they serve great Japanese-inspired drinking food, like ramen and fried chicken until 1am. It can be hard to get a comfortable spot to eat here when it’s packed, so try to come around regular dinner hours for the ramen and opt for one of the bowls or the bao bun where you come for a second dinner at midnight.

Photo: Tarik Sparks

Naoe

Brickell / Downtown Miami
661 Brickell Key Dr

Naoe isn’t a typical Wednesday night kind of place, unless you recently sold your paper airplane start-up or you’re an heiress. They provide a unique omakase experience that will never be the same twice, with each of the 10 courses customized according to your preferences. The dining room only fits 10 guests per seating and is run by only two people (the chef and the manager) whose attention to detail borders on the obsessive. A meal here lasts upwards of two and a half hours and costs at least $250 so make sure you go with someone you have a lot to talk about with, like a friend you haven’t seen recently or a future investor in your next paper folding endeavor.

La Mar’s perfect view of Biscayne Bay makes this Peruvian spot great for a big date, birthday, or if you’re just trying to show off Miami. The fresh ceviches are beautifully plated and taste even better after a Pisco Sour (or two). The staff may try to talk you into a prix fixe option, but we recommend just choosing a few ceviches and shareable plates like the causas (whipped potatoes) and chaufas (Peruvian fried rice) instead.

Photo: George Apostolidis
MAP

Up until recently, the only people you’d find in Downtown Miami were those leaving a Heat game or an after-hours club. But now places like Mama Tried are finally overhauling the area. This new bar is equally great for a quiet Happy Hour or a big night out, depending on what time you get there. The wrap-around bars are sleek and completely redone, but they’ve kept the pool table from the previous bar. And with a good selection of beer and wine, and cocktails that are reasonably priced from $11-$13, it’s not surprising that someone suggested you meet up Downtown.

Photo: Adam DelGuidice

Fooq's

Downtown Miami
1035 N Miami Ave

Up until recently, you were probably only going to 11th Street if you were getting dragged to a club, but as places like Fooq’s start to move to the area, it’s no longer just a place to buy expensive vodka sodas while surrounded by sweaty humans. Fooq’s serves Persian classics in a bright and airy space and it’s a spot you can use to impress someone who’s visiting, or when you’re on a business trip and your boss asks to go “somewhere cool.” Get the meatballs, the braised lamb hummus, and the rotating khoresh, or Persian stew. Just make sure you ask to sit outside in their side garden - it’s covered in plants and feels like a desert oasis.

little havana

Versailles has been around for 40 years and if there’s one place you should go for Cuban food, it’s here. You can stop by La Ventanita (the little window) during the day for crispy guava pastelitos and a cafecito to drink while you listen to regulars heatedly debate their domino game. Or come for dinner in their over-the-top dining room lined with ornate mirrors and gold chandeliers. Make sure to order croquetas to start and don’t skip the ropa vieja with a side of black beans and sweet plantains.

Photo: Tasty Planet

There are a few guarantees when you eat at Lung Yai Thai Tapas in Little Havana. The tiny diner space will be packed, the chef will yell at the staff, and the food is so good that you won’t care about the first two. They serve classic Northern Thai dishes like khao soi and palo moo (roasted pork in a sweet and savory broth over rice), along with Thai staples like pad thai and massaman curry. Every dish on the menu is $15 or less, meaning you can order a lot without doing too much damage.

La Camaronera is where you go in Little Havana to get fresh fish, especially when it’s in a pan con minuta. This lunch spot serves specialties like grouper cheeks and stone crabs when they’re in season, but it’s that simple fried yellowtail snapper sandwich that makes it a must visit. Served on a semolina bun with cocktail sauce, diced onion, and its tail sticking out the side, this sandwich isn’t fancy, but it’s definitely what you want.

It’s impossible to miss Azucar’s iconic facade of a waffle cone topped with five scoops of ice cream when you’re in Little Havana. But it’s the Cuban spin on classic flavors that really brings people in. The 40+ flavors they serve daily include flan, cafe con leche with Cuban coffee and Oreos, and tropical fruits like mamey. But the most famous is Abuela Maria, which mixes mixes guava, cream cheese, and Cuban cookies into vanilla ice cream.

Photo: Carlos Somoza

MiMo/little haiti

Phuc Yea

Upper East Side
7100 Biscayne Blvd

When you get to Phuc Yea, a Vietnamese-Cajun spot in MiMo, you’ll see a building that was probably designed in the late 80s to feature prominently in Miami Vice. But when you head inside, you’ll find a space that looks like it was designed by your aunt who shops exclusively at thrift stores - more the one who finds Chanel for $15 than the one who hoards three-legged lawn chairs for their personality. Get the crispy spring rolls with fish sauce and one of the pho or noodle dishes, or the Cajun fried rice with seafood and andouille sausage. And in the cooler months, sit on the patio with a tiki-drink.

Photo: Jonathan Pozniak

Blue Collar

Upper East Side
6730 Biscayne Blvd

There are a lot of things you’d expect from a seedy Biscayne Boulevard motel, but great braised oxtail isn’t exactly high on the list. Which is why you’ll be so pleasantly surprised by Blue Collar. The diner-style spot is also known for its massive sandwiches, like the Big Ragout, which combines brisket, veal and pork shoulder, pancetta, sausage, and two cheeses into a hoagie roll. And if you somehow still have room afterward, get the bread pudding.

MAP

Like with dating and karaoke songs, sometimes you want options, which is what The Anderson is great for. Between the disco ball, animal print, and ’80s cigarette ads, this place feels like you’re traveling back in time to a Miami from 30 years ago, minus the perms and aerobics videos. There’s also a brightly colored tiki-shack patio outside with palm trees and rum-based cocktails.

Photo: Tasty Planet

coral gables/kendall

Islas Canarias

Kendall
3804 SW 137th Ave, Miami, FL

Islas Canarias opened in 1977 and was one of the first Cuban restaurant institutions in Miami. The original location in Little Havana was sold a few years ago, but their two Kendall locations are still home to the best croquetas in the city, along with a really good Cubano sandwich.

Madruga Bakery

Coral Gables / South Miami
1430 S Dixie Hwy Suite 117

Sometimes you just want a pastry without waiting in a long line of tourists who saw the place on Instagram. When that’s the case, head to Madruga Bakery in Coral Gables. Sure, there will be plenty of UM students around and they aren’t open on Sundays, but Madruga is still the best bakery option in the area, hands down. They serve excellent breakfast sandwiches and Counter Culture coffee, along with a wide range of cakes, pies, and savory pastries baked on-site.

Finka Table & Tap

Kendall
14690 SW 26th St.

This strip-mall gastropub is located way out in Kendall West on the way to The Everglades. But if you find yourself out there, their mashup of Cuban, Korean, and Peruvian food is definitely worth checking out. It sounds like a strange mix, but once you try the Cuban bibimbap or fried rice, you’ll get it. The owner’s family also started the beloved Islas Canarias Cuban diner and lucky for all of us, they serve the famous croquetas at Finka too.

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