Miami’s 15 Most Romantic Restaurants
Impress that special someone this Valentine’s Day and beyond.
Though sometimes you have to stop and think for a minute to realize what time of year it is in Miami, if you’re in anything even resembling a relationship you’ve probably been reminded it’s almost Valentine’s Day. This, of course, means you’ll probably be tasked with finding somewhere to take schmoopy for dinner. The good news is Miami is awash with restaurants that set the mood, and many of them are as authentic and genuine as they are delicious. Whether you’re looking to slurp pasta or canoodle by the water, here are the most romantic restaurants in Miami.
Your date might initially be a little skeptical when you take them to dinner under a sign that reads “Pump House.” But there’s no innuendo here—the phrase refers to the coral rock house’s one-time role as a water pump station during Miami’s early days. This left the space with a large quarry pond in the middle of its lush outdoor garden that creates a captivating waterside dining experience tucked along a busy street. Amid dim lights and soft colors, you can listen to the bubbling water features while sharing Middle Eastern spreads like shakshuka and pastrami hummus, then delving into one of ZOI’s shareable steaks or branzinos.
Staring down a live Norwegian King Crab isn’t necessarily the obvious way to start a romantic evening. But if you can get past the king-sized crustaceans near the host station, Klaw provides one of the most spectacular date settings in the city. The high ceilings and well-spaced tables inside what was once the Miami Women’s Club offers an air of luxury and special-occasion intimacy. The menu is long on entertainingly sharable items, too, whether you bond over cracking crab legs or indulging into one of its specially-sourced steaks. Start the evening out with cocktails on Klaw’s breezy rooftop, where your drink comes with a front-row view of Biscayne Bay and the changing colors of sunset.
How to book: Reserve via SevenRooms.
Major Food Group does restaurant design on another level, and while the chaos of Carbone can be fun it doesn’t always lend itself to an intimate meal. Opt instead for Contessa, an art-deco masterpiece of a restaurant that feels like eating in a 1930s mob movie. Long, plush benches allow you and your date to sit side-by-side, joining what looks like gangsters and their goomahs in dim light and joyful noise. The attentive staff and sommeliers help you along by suggesting interesting wines and guiding you through the northern-Italian menu.
Lorena Garcia’s MiMo darling in the old News Café space is like eating in a tropical forest, but not in the hokey way you remember from Rainforest Café. Calming plants alternate with sexy low-lit décor, making it a perfect place for a romantic dinner or suggestive end-of-the-night-drinks. The Latin-inspired menu gets the job done, with a creative collection of arepas like braised short rib asado and beet making for fun shareable appetizers. But the real excitement starts when you begin exploring the cocktail menu under Chica’s golden-hued lights, where a few sips of the pineapple-lime Chica-Rita has you contemplating some seriously naughty endeavors.
L’atelier De Joël Robuchon
Miami’s lone two Michelin star recipient isn’t just a great date idea because a tire maker said so. It’s a low-lit, intimate experience where you and your date can sample some of the finest food in the world while watching a kitchen that moves like a silent precision drill team. Every dish here is an adventure, and so long as you both keep open minds you’ll find the seasonal creations challenging yet rewarding, much like your relationship. Be advised though, eating here is never cheap. And while we’d say it’s absolutely worth the price, maybe save it for an occasion with someone you know is worth it.
Chef Adrianne’s Vineyard and Bar
It wasn’t so long ago that taking your Southwest Dade sweetie out for dinner meant chain restaurant-hopping along Kendall Drive to find who had the shortest wait for a table. Those days are long gone, thanks to the arrival of Chef Adrianne’s outpost at Town & Country. Waterside dining doesn’t get any more romantic inland, as you kick off dinner with the best charbroiled oysters south of Biloxi set to the soothing soundtrack of the T&C fountain. Couples can loosen up by exploring one of South Florida’s most impressive wine lists, then splurge on something from the burrata bar and a pristine order of Mishima Reserve Wagyu Osso Bucco.
How to book: Reserve via SevenRooms.
Perhaps the most impressive design feat at this Wynwood Aegean eatery helmed by the old Mandolin chef isn’t the eye-catching bar or the light-strewn patio. It’s that they’ve managed to make a space on busy NW 24th Street feel like a secluded secret garden, where high shrubbery and soft music shield diners from the endless parade of booming car stereos. The food is pure sharable bliss, whether you’re fighting for the last bite of Spicy Adana Kebab, or grazing hands as you simultaneously dip fluffy pita in Turkish Pastrami Hummus.
Pane & Vino
If you can’t afford a summer trip to Italy, you’ll find the next best thing at this rustic Italian taverna wedged onto Washington Ave. The pasta machine lurking in the front window is an excellent (and immediate) sign you’re onto something good, while small tables, reasonable prices, and a welcoming staff make every aspect of a date night here as pleasant as pie (er, tiramisu). The pasta is as advertised—freshly made creations that rival anything dished up by bigger names down the beach. And with dim lighting accompanying music ripped straight from The Godfather, it’s basically a mini-vacation without ever leaving Miami.
How to book: Reserve via Yelp.
Jaya at the Setai
A meal among the twinkling lights and balmy breezes at this Indian-inspired spot in the Setai is exactly what one pictures when they think “date night in Miami.” Sexy house music and captivating fire dancers make for a not-so-subtly suggestive backdrop as you and your date go in on sushi, curries, tandoori, and spicy craft cocktails by the outdoor reflecting pool. The soft light is bolstered by a cluster of trees surrounding said pool, each illuminated like a shopping promenade during the holidays. The warm air and soft wind create an aura of magic, and whether you’re trying to impress someone new or celebrate someone special, it’s a guaranteed mood-maker.
Combining equal parts fine art and fine dining is a perfect recipe for romance, and that’s precisely what you’ll find at this delicate spot outside the Rubell Museum. After perusing Florida’s most pristine collection of private art on public display, enjoy an elevated al fresco meal inspired by the Basque region of Spain. You and your date can playfully share Leku’s small plates, namely the Ham Croquettes, Short Rib Sliders, or Key West Pink Shrimp in Garlic Sauce, before digging into high-end meats like the Australian Wagyu Tenderloin or 45-day Aged Bone-in Ribeye.
How to book: Reserve via SevenRooms.
Glass and Vine
Not so long ago, an evening dinner in Peacock Park typically involved a 2 am slice of pizza and leftover beer from The Tavern. But the Grove is a more mature place now, and park dinners now mean dining under the soft lights of Glass and Vine. On its sprawling patio, a warm breeze blows uphill from Biscayne Bay, rustling the leaves in the live oaks and altering the sparkling lighting ever so slightly. The food is just as magical as the setting, with fresh seafood and chicken dishes plus Black Truffle Gnocchi highlighting the menu. Even during the day, it’s hard not to get butterflies when sharing a meal at Glass & Vine—and yes, we mean that both literally and figuratively.
Though this ultra-modern Colombian spot from chef Juanma Barrientos sits tucked away behind a condo tower on the Miami River, its environs aren’t inherently romantic. But as soon as the eighth course of this 21-course journey has you and your date washing your hands in chocolate and licking it off, you’ll see why El Cielo notched a Michelin star. Spend a few hours discovering Barrientos’ artful creations, from a tree sculpture made of traditional Colombian bread to exquisitely designed meat dishes. Adventurous couples, you’ve arrived.
Mandolin Aegean Bistro
If food can make the Greeks and Turks of yore fall in love, clearly it’ll work wonders for your Hinge date, right? Set in an old 1940s-era Buena Vista bungalow, this hideaway is backed by a Greek and Turkish couple who serve their respective families’ age-old recipes in a Christmas light-draped courtyard. Sharing the mezzes is but the beginning of a storied night, as you converse over Tirokafteri or Hummus and Eggplant. Continue with light fare like Chicken Kebabs and Orzo or the deliciously simple Lemon and Oregano Grilled Sea Bass, and you’ll have plenty of energy for the rest of the night.
Just because the venerable Rusty Pelican has been home to more weddings, engagements, and other moments of kissy-kissy indulgence than any other restaurant in Miami doesn’t mean it’s lost its edge. Not satisfied to rest on its glass-walled and skyline-showcasing laurels, the restaurant revamped the entire concept a few years back. Now, rather than a menu of dishes just good enough to complement the view, it’s stocked with stuff like fresh sushi, Lobster Risotto, and an impressive lineup of prime steaks. The cocktails here are also among the most creative in the city, with six different herb-infused Gin and Tonics accompanying an array of original creations.
La Mar by Gastón Acurio
Striking the perfect balance between bustling and romantic is nearly impossible, but this Gaston Acurio outpost in the Mandarin Oriental has both the pizzaz to get you amped and the calming presence to facilitate some quality one-on-one time. Enter through the busy dining room, stroll past the open hot kitchen and sushi counter, and stop for a moment to marvel at the hustle of the chefs keeping up with the endless demand. Then step outside to the patio, set just above the running path around Brickell Key, and let it all go amid the tranquil waterfront view overlooking the Brickell skyline and the Rickenbacker causeway. Believe it or not, the food here can make you forget about that stellar view, with the best ceviches in Miami leading off a dinner of causas, saltados, and other Peruvians staples done as well as you’ll find anywhere north of Lima.