The 19 Sexiest Restaurants for a Romantic Date Night in Miami

Up your Valentine’s Day game at rustic Italian tavernas, swank hotel lounges, and waterfront cafes worth the wait.

At some point in your budding Miami-bound relationship, it’s time to move past the bar at North Italia/Moxie’s/Tap 42 and actually sit down to a proper meal face-to-face. Yes, this might sound intimidating in an era where dating is forged in the DMs, but Miami is chock full of stellar restaurants that make getting over that eye contact anxiety a piece of decadent Cannoli Cake. Whether you’re into sharing mezzes under twinkling fairy lights or tearing into prime steaks by the water, relaxing and highly romantic atmospheres abound in South Florida. Read on for the best places to treat your special someone in and around Miami.

Information listed here may be subject to change depending on the developing situation with COVID-19's Omicron variant. Please check for the latest updates available or contact each establishment directly for more info.
Chef Adrianne's Vineyard Restaurant and Wine Bar
Photo courtesy of Chef Adrianne’s Vineyard and Bar

It wasn’t so long ago that taking your Southwest Dade sweetie out on Valentine's Day 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.

Doya

Wynwood
$$$$

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.

Available for Reservations
Issabella’s
Issabella’s | Photo courtesy of The Louis Collection

Issabella’s

South Beach
$$$$

If you ever ate at the old Balans on Lincoln Road, “romantic” was likely not the first word that comes to mind. But the new owners have given the place a mushy makeover, dotting the main floor with candlelit two-tops, all generously spaced for maximum privacy. The result is the odd small restaurant where you and a date can still manage a private experience, sinking into comfy booths or lounging in oversized chairs. A masterful menu of fresh pastas keeps portions small enough to avoid a food coma, and the original cocktail menu will ease you into easy—not to mention audible—conversation.

Available for Reservations

Pane & Vino

South Beach
$$$$

If you can’t afford a trip to Italy for Valentine’s Day, you can 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

South Beach
$$$$

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.

Available for Reservations

Leku

Allapattah
$$$$

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.

Redfish by Chef Adrianne

Coral Gables
$$$$

This beachy landmark in Matheson Hammock Park has long been a favorite for special occasion dining. But since Adrianne Calvo took it over last year, it’s taken on a far more sophisticated tone, adding a row of semi-private waterfront tables to the restaurant’s tranquil patio. The small sense of seclusion doesn’t exactly feel like a tropical oasis in paradise, but it does effectively separate your dining experience from the rest of the restaurant. And when you lean in to whisper sweet nothings over Sea Scallops Puttanesca or Brown Sugar-crusted Salmon, there’ll be no one there to eavesdrop (here’s looking at you, Matt Dillon).

Available for Reservations

Peacock Garden

Coconut Grove
$$$$

This longtime Coconut Grove steak and seafood emporium got a massive overhaul during COVID shutdown, and the result is a cool, Keys-inspired space that feels like dining in a hidden garden. The wicker chairs set among palm fronds and banana plants looks especially alluring when lit only by strings of lights and the stars above. The food is pure date night bliss, with classics like Pappardelle and Short Rib, Cacio y Pepe, and a Prime Filet Mignon for your indulgence. Peacock Garden might be a name you’ve forgotten, with the hundreds of new places that have opened, but next time you’re looking for something special, give it another go.

Available for Reservations

Boia De

Buena Vista
$$$$

The word “intimate” gets a little overused when it comes to small restaurants—as anyone who’s tried to have a sit-down meal at Little Caesars knows, fewer seats doesn’t always equal more romance. But the cozy confines of Boia De lend themselves perfectly to the family-style cuisine, where you and your date can sit nose to nose and play Lady and the Tramp over a plate of Rabbit Pappardelle. The unusual wine list also makes for fantastic conversation, as you’ll discover small production stuff from all over the world while simultaneously discovering each other.

Available for Reservations

Glass and Vine

Coconut Grove
$$$$

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.

Available for Reservations

El Cielo

Brickell
$$$$

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 second course of this nine-course journey has you and your date washing your hands in chocolate and licking it off, you’ll see why El Cielo’s DC outpost recently 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.

Available for Reservations

Soya & Pomodoro

Downtown
$$$$

The quaint, private Italian restaurant is a romantic tradition, and Miami’s best offering is Soya & Pomodoro, set inside an old bank building. Unremarkable furniture dots the dining room, giving the feeling of discovering a random family-run hole-in-the-wall in some small Italian village. It’s quiet and secluded, with attentive servers and homemade pasta ramping up the welcoming vibes. The restaurant is both unpretentious and beautiful, and while it's accrued plenty of accolades and awards, still somehow feels like an undiscovered gem.

Available for Reservations

Juvia

South Beach
$$$$

Busting out your phone on a romantic night out is probably the quickest way to ensure there won’t be a second outing… but it’s almost impossible when presented with the architectural tableau Juvia spreads out before you and your paramour. From the top of the 1111 building, this restaurant gazes east across Miami Beach at the largest collection of Art Deco buildings in the world, then out onto the Atlantic Ocean. And even amid the crowds of beautiful people that pack the place nightly, the warm humid air merging with that view is pure romance—just try not to ruin it with too many selfies.

Available for Reservations

Mandolin Aegean Bistro

Design District
$$$$

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.

Available for Reservations

Rusty Pelican

Key Biscayne
$$$$

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.

Available for Reservations

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.

Available for Reservations

Nothing says "I love you" like cutting into a giant hunk of bloody meat across from your special someone. But even if steakhouses aren’t your idea of a hot night out, it’s hard to argue with a spot set right on Government Cut with views of Fisher Island and the Atlantic in one direction and sunsets over the skyline in the other. Snag a table by the rocks and you’ll almost feel like you’re eating on a desert island (albeit a desert island where cruise ships sail by on the regular), where trees give your table shade and hide you from other guests. If you’re looking for a fancy steakhouse to stoke the flames, nobody does it better than Smith’s.

Available for Reservations

Plant Miami

Edgewater
$$$$

Even if you’re the type who finds the idea of plant-based meat to be sacrilege, well, what’s more romantic than testing your boundaries together? Plant makes organic vegan cuisine that even a carnivore will love, so grab a seat out in the palm-filled Sacred Space and broaden your horizons with enticements like Truffle Noodles, Tartufadas layered with cultured coconut cheese, mushrooms, baby arugula, and cashew parmesan, and a BLT packed with Barbecue tempeh, avocado, and spicy sprouts. The purple lighting and heart-healthy dishes make dinner here feel like the start of a big night, and as you discover that vegan food can, in fact, be delicious, so too might you discover things about your date you never thought you’d love.

Available for Reservations

Lique

North Miami
$$$$

Stop into Lique and you’ll find a romantic hidden gem positioned just down the dock from Duffy’s. The bistro tables are bordered by big padded booths, meaning if you and your date want to snuggle up and look out at the Intercoastal together, that’s totally doable. The food errs on the lighter side, with smaller plates like Whitefish Ceviche and Beef Carpaccio headlining the show. Though if you come hungry, you won’t starve here either, as Lique’s got a full roster of steaks and grilled seafood backing up the little guys. And it hasn't yet blown up as a go-to date spot either, so you can impress your chosen one with your romantic restaurant expertise and culinary decision making.

Available for Reservations
Matt Meltzer is a Miami-based contributor for Thrillist.