Where to Eat in Miami Right Now
To say Miami restaurants are having a rough year would be kinda like saying the Palmetto has a rough commute. But through shut-downs, social distancing regulations, and rules changing faster than a game of first-grade freeze tag, many of our favorites have survived. Though some are still closed, many greats are still open in some capacity -- and need your business more than ever. If you’re up for dining outdoors, or would rather order in, here’s a few of the top spots that have opened in 2020, alongside our picks for the best still standing through the past five years.
The gist: The Gables gets its best new lunch spot in years, as Chef Jason Schaan -- a Michelle Bernstein favorite who’s helmed kitchens at Café la Trova and Michy’s -- teams with Ritz Carlton alum Biran Skogen for this market-style cafe.
The food: Though the market shelves filled with hard-to-find fig jams and gourmet cheeses may be alluring, peep the menu first, where you’ll find chef-crafted sandwiches like the prime rib French dip and a fresh mozzarella, prosciutto, and pesto. The star of the show, however, is the ricotta gnocchi lasagna, which is a guaranteed food-coma comfort dish.
The cost: Sandwiches are $12-14, entrees are about $18, and breakfast items are $4-5.
How to order: Order takeout on the website or delivery through Uber Eats.
Osaka Cocina Nikkei
The gist: This upscale Nikkei favorite from South America opens its first Miami outpost, with a sexy interior, a robata grill, and Brickell’s best new sushi.
The food: If you’ve delved into the world of Nikkei cuisine you know the drill: Loads of fresh seafood, sushi rolls, and grilled meats with an only-on-robata flavor. Osaka’s standouts are the OSK ceviche with tuna and crispy quinoa, the smoky Peru tiradito, and the wagyu nigiri. Meat lovers would be wise to try something from the robata, where every selection absorbs the grill’s signature smoke. And if you want something different, the nori tacos are a unique take on the Tuesday night classic -- if you’re cool with the taste of seaweed.
The cost: Nigiris are around $13 for three pieces, ceviches and tiraditos around $25, grilled meats are $32-120.
How to order: Open for outdoor dining or place a takeout or delivery order by calling 786.627.4800 or through Uber Eats, DoorDash, or Grubhub
Redfish by Chef Adrianne
The gist: Adrianne Calvo takes over the waterfront date-night classic in Matheson Hammock, bringing her “maximum flavor” to the coral walls on Biscayne Bay.
The food: The seafood-heavy menu feels right sitting next to some of the richest waters in America. And Chef Adrianne brings out the flavors with stuff like seared ahi with caper cream, and beer-battered tiger shrimp with hot honey. For bigger plates, go for the sea scallops puttanesca, which will wake you up from the potential food coma from the first course. If you’re here for a special occasion, the 14-oz. Kobe skirt steak or buttermilk brined fried chicken pair perfectly with the spectacular view.
The cost: Cocktails are $13-15, appetizers are $18-21, sandwiches start at $23, and entrees around $40.
How to order: Open for outdoor dining and call 305.668.8788 to make reservations.
The gist: The people who brought ceviche to the masses with CVI.CHE 305 go upscale with some help from chef Juan Chipoco, taking over the cozy SoFi space that housed Il Mulino.
The food: Taking a Nikkei newbie to Intimo would be a little like taking a first time camper on a summer katak trip through the Everglades. Though the menu is impressive, chef Chipoco’s creations are not for beginners, where stuff like scorched scallops and parmesan truffle nigiri impart flavors not everyone is used to. The daring should venture into the appropriately named menu of “sushi bombs,” which combine multiple strong flavors in one power-packed bite. But if you think you can handle unagi, sea urchin, truffle, and gold flakes all at once, Intimo offers an adventure you won’t find elsewhere.
The cost: Nigiris are $6 a piece, sushi bombs are $10, soups run from $24-52, entrees range from $16 for a cauliflower steak to $84 for the lobsteriffic Reina del Mar.
How to order: Open for outdoor dining, call 305.964.8006 or go online to make reservations.
The gist: The year’s most beautiful new restaurant (that is currently open) sits in an unassuming spot inside the Urbanica Euclid hotel, where a mixture of South American and European favorites await alongside drinks that pack a lot more punch than you think.
The food: The Buenos Aires transplant gives you a sense of what dining is like for portenos, where the city’s Italian influences are apparent in the saffron-lemon arancini and burrata with salsa verde. But if you’re going Argentine, you gotta go with the steak, and though Orilla doesn’t market itself as a steakhouse the charcoal flavor in the flat iron and flank steaks rivals any chophouse in the city. To wash it down, grab something off the ever-changing cocktail menu.
The cost: The menu is meant for sharing and includes small plates ($7), medium dishes ($14), and grilled meats ($21+). Cocktails are $11-15.
How to order: Make a reservation for outdoor dining through OpenTable or order takeout through ChowNow.
The gist: The family-style, big-portion, low-price Italian favorite is possibly the most versatile restaurant in Miami, perfect for dining in, an intimate date, or a big, group dinner (once we’re doing that again).
The food: If you’re a fan of rich red sauces, addictive pizza, and entrees so big you could curl them to burn off a few extra calories, Crust is the ultimate in Miami dining. Nearly every pasta on the menu -- from the top-selling chicken parm to the decadent baked penne with beef and sausage ragu -- is enough for two people to eat over two meals. And the pizza can make a solid argument for best in the city, especially if you opt for the meatball and ricotta special.
The cost: Specialty pizzas range from $18-22, pastas are $20-$25, oversized salads are $12-14.
How to order: Call 305.371.7065 for takeout or order delivery through Uber Eats, DoorDash, Postmates, or Grubhub.
The gist: Though it’s good to be skeptical of any Miami restaurant that serves expensive sushi with a heavy side of scene, this London transplant is the odd eatery where the food lives up to the high prices.
The food: It’s Chinese-Japanese fusion, which sounds like a recipe for disaster if you grew up eating in strip malls, but works masterfully here. Novikov’s best known for its dim sum, with duck-and-foie-gras-filled dumplings complimenting stuff like the spicy prawn moneybag. The makis, sashimis, and bao buns can stand up with any in Miami, and if you want a big plate delving into the cilantro pesto branzino or sweet and sour mango chicken won’t lead you astray.
The cost: Sashimis and makis run from $20-30, bao buns and veggies are $15-20, entrees range from $31-115, and cocktails are $15-18.
Open for outdoor dining: Yes
How to order: Make your reservation for outdoor dining online or call 305.489.1000
The gist: Local favorite Timon Balloo serves Caribbean plates inspired by his family’s recipes, currently doing counter service in a tiny, hard-to-find space in downtown’s historic Ingraham Building.
The food: You likely won’t find the same menu twice at Balloo, where chef Timon draws inspiration from his Caribbean roots to create different dishes almost daily. But the mainstays are worth the journey to this tucked-away gem, like charred jerk corn, Indian masala fries, variety or jerked meats, and the Trini oxtail stew.
The cost: Appetizers are around $7, jerked meats are $10-18, and entrees vary by the day.
Open for outdoor dining: Yes
How to order: Make reservations for outdoor dining online or call 786.534.2768 or order delivery through Uber Eats and Grubhub.
Ghee Indian Kitchen
The gist: Niven Patel -- who Food & Wine named one of its top 50 new chefs this year -- takes whatever’s fresh on his Homestead farm and uses it in his Floridian twists on Indian classics.
The food: The menu varies wildly at Ghee, as much of what you’ll find is based on what’s in season at Rancho Patel. One week you may wolf down an entire tomato and eggplant curry. Another week you’ll order multiple ears of charred corn with smoked paneer. Niven’s happy to play the hits too, and does tikka masala and saag paneer as well as anyone in America.
The cost: Most plates run from $10-15, naans and chutneys are $3-5.
How to order: Make a reservation for outdoor dining on OpenTable, order takeout on the website, or get delivery through Uber Eats.
The gist: A Nikkei hit from London lands in South Beach, where you can feast on Peruvian classics in a retractable-roof space that feels a little like eating in a cenote.
The food: When the weather cools off (and the restaurants hopefully reopen for good), the soft breeze that blows through the open roof makes the Nikkei nibblers like chilled branzino ceviche and chu-toro tiradito taste especially refreshing. Currently, Chotto is doing dine-in on its patio, and still delicately plating its sushi and sashimi with house-made sauces. On the meatier side, the pork belly and lamb chop anticuchos are the must-haves off the extensive robata menu.
The cost: At $85 a person, the tasting menu is, believe it or not, is the best value at Chotto Matte. But if you opt to go a la carte, sushi is around $18 for rolls, anticuchos range from $17-36, and robata-grilled meats are $18-30. Cocktails are $16.
How to order: Make outdoor dining reservations online or by calling 305.690.0743 or order delivery through Uber Eats, DoorDash, Seamless, and Grubhub.
Awash Ethiopian Restaurant
The food: If you’re new to Ethiopian cuisine, the best way to enjoy this is around a large table, scooping up the spicy, savory dishes with injera -- a spongy teff grain flatbread which some tout as a superfood. For the optimal experience, go with the Taste of Awash, which offers a substantial sampling of stuff like doro wot (stewed chicken), kitfo (ground beef with spices and herbed butter), and shiro (split peas with red pepper). Awash is especially inviting for vegetarians and vegans, too, as much of Ethiopian cuisine is entirely plant-based.
The cost: Starters are $5, entrees are $10-14, and the Taste of Awash is $30 for two people.
How to order: Make reservations by calling 305.770.5100 or order delivery through Grubhub.
The gist: About as close to My Big Fat Greek Wedding as you’re getting in South Beach, this family-run spot at the Hilton Bentley serves up massive portions of Greek food with sides of music, dancing, and dips in the pool.
The food: Despite a setting that could lend itself to overpriced, mediocre food, this poolside masterpiece is putting out heavenly plates of grilled souvlaki, monstrous Greek salads, and head-turning king prawns. The super-sized dishes match the personality of Georgios and his family that welcomes you, and every time you leave your spirit feels almost as full as your stomach.
The cost: Cocktails are $14, tapas and mezes range from $12-24, entrees are $25-40 range, and sandwiches are around $15.
How to order: Make outdoor dining reservations online or by calling 305.672.6624
Glass and Vine
The gist: Chopped champ and Eating House impresario Giorgio Rapicavoli ventures into fine dining outside the old Peacock Park library. Breezy dinners and decadent brunches ensue.
The food: For social distance dining, it doesn’t get much better than Glass and Vine, where you can enjoy sweet potato tater tots, local heirloom salad, and grilled Florida snapper in glorious fresh air. The new American creations aren’t as stonerriffic as what you might find at Eating House, but brilliantly showcase Rapicivoli’s diversity as a chef. It’s especially evident at brunch, where carbonara fries, passion fruit waffles, and short rib benedicts highlight the strongest a la carte brunch menu in the city.
The cost: Starters and salads are $10-15, entrees are $20-35, and brunch mains are around $15.
How to order: Make outdoor dining reservations by calling 305.200.5268 or through OpenTable, get takeout through ToastTab, or delivery through Grubhub and Uber Eats.
The gist: After developing the cocktail menus for Byblos, Finka, and a bevvy of others The Cocktail Cartel teamed with Giorgio Rapicivoli to create a spot with craveable food and one of the coolest restaurant cocktails in the city.
The food: The food and drinks here blend together beautifully, where you can order croqueta buns and churrasco lomo saltado, then wash it down with a Cafeteria Old Fashioned -- rum, cigar bitters, and coffee -- the ultimate tribute to three Cuban staples. If you’re more into drinking your meals, order up a Spanglish and Chill with tequila, strawberry vermouth, tangerine, lemon, and pink peppercorns. Then nosh on fried queso blanco with guava or coconut shrimp ceviche so you can soak up the booze and try something else.
The cost: Cocktails are $13-14 and worth every penny, starters are $9-15, entrees are $18-32.
How to order: Order takeout through the website and delivery through Uber Eats, Grubhub, and DoorDash.
The gist: Richard Hales of Blackbrick, Sakaya, and Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives fame is plating the best barbecue we’ve had outside of Texas at the Citadel food hall. It’s all reasonably priced, too, and is a must-visit for any barbecue fans spending time in Miami.
The food: Though Society’s logo has a big map of Florida, this is pure Texas-style goodness with slow-smoked brisket that could go up against anything in the Lone Star State. The pulled chicken and pulled pork sandwiches make for lunches that’ll keep you from accomplishing anything in the afternoon, and the vegan burnt ends also taste fantastic with Hales’ collection of homemade sauces drenched on top. Reading this from outside South Florida? No need to get on a plane, as Society is happy to ship the stuff nationwide.
The cost: Meats are $6-10, sandwiches $10-12, and the 1.5-lb. beef rib is $32.
Open for outdoor dining: Yes
How to order: Open for outdoor dining, order takeout through ToastTab, or delivery through Uber Eats and Postmates.
The gist: Miami culinary power couple Anice Meinhold and Cesar Zapata, who wowed us with The Federal for years, reinvent the Vietnamese-Cajun popup that made them famous.
The food: At first glance, you might think mixing Cajun and Vietnamese foods would be an odd combination. But both have heavy focus on seafood and heat, demonstrated masterfully on Zapata’s menu with steamed curried mussels and lemongrass soft shell rice vermicelli. The pho options are the best you’ll find in Miami, and if you’re free this Thursday, make sure to pre-order the fried chicken, a once-weekly special that makes the weekend come one day early.
The cost: Appetizers are $12-15, epic bowls of pho are $26-45, entrees are $24-42, and cocktails $14 each or $50 for the whole table.
How to order: Make outdoor dining reservations online through OpenTable, order takeout through UpServe, or delivery through Uber Eats.
Lung Yai Thai Tapas
The gist: This is the legendary Little Havana hole in the wall where the air is thick with fish sauce and chili paste, and you’re only allowed to order once. They’re only doing to-go orders right now, but rest assured the food translates well to take out.
The food: Take your time perusing Lung Yai’s menu: It’s long and you only get one crack at ordering. As the name implies, you’ll find small portions of authentic Thai food, so start with the crispy spring rolls, then move onto the som tam (papaya salad) and steamed dumplings. From there, it’s an adventure in trying things you haven’t before, but we’ve been impressed by palo moo (slow cooked pork belly) and literally all of the Thai curries.
The cost: Tapas are $5-15. Order lots of them.
How to order: Open for limited outdoor seating or order takeout by calling 786.334.6262
The gist: Intimate modern Italian spot from the people behind the massively popular La Pollita food truck, where you’ll find a collection of wines worthy of a restaurant ten times its size.
The food: The menu at Boia de is almost as small as its new 19-seat outdoor patio, but you literally won’t find a weak link anywhere. The food’s Italian without being in-your-face, with subtle options like crispy polenta and marinated eggplant, ribeye carpaccio with black truffle, and squash blossom tempura leading off. The entrees hold up just as well, highlighted by the homemade pappardelle with rabbit and rosemary, and the massive lamb ribs with peaches and parsley. And be sure to do yourself a favor and ask for a recommendation from the wine list; there’s stuff on there you’ve never heard of that you’ll spend years trying to find again.
The cost: Appetizers are $7-21 and entrees are $20-25.
How to order: Make an outdoor dining reservation through Resy or order takeout through UpServe.
The gist: Miami finally solved its dearth of good, affordable, not-hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurants with the opening of this place, where the city’s best guacamole, moles, and unusual margaritas make for magical outdoor dining.
The food: You could really make an entire meal just sampling the guacamoles at Bakan, which offers a sweet corn option alongside the classic. But you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t leave room for the moles, which taste almost as fresh and authentic as you’d get in a family home south of the border. The mezcal selection is massive, too, though if you haven’t jumped on that bandwagon yet go for the Verde que te Quiero Verde margarita, made with cilantro, lime juice, and triple sec.
The cost: Appetizers are $8-20 for some of the ceviches, tacos are mostly $18 for three, entrees are $15-25, and cocktails are $14-18.
How to order: Make outdoor dining reservations through OpenTable or get delivery through Uber Eats and Postmates.