Sex & Dating

The Best Places to Take Your Date Out in Miami

Published On 10/15/2015 Published On 10/15/2015
Sugarcane Raw Bar and Grill
Courtesy of Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill

From interesting date ideas, to the best make-out spots, to the most romantic restaurants, we've always done our best to be your personal relationship coach. Now we’re making hooking up even easier for you by rounding up the best date spots -- from suburban dim sum joints to sexy retro lounges -- in Miami's best ‘hoods, that -- hopefully -- includes yours.

Schnebly Redland’s Winery

Homestead

Schnebly Redland's Winery & Brewery

Address and Info

This tropical fruit winery is everything that sets Miami apart from the rest of the country. It produces wine in flavors like avocado, mango, and passion fruit; is located on a 20-acre compound outfitted with waterfalls, Tiki huts, and twinkling string lights; and also has Miami Brewing Company (not to be confused with M.I.A. Brewing Co. in Doral) on the premises if you really can’t get into the wine.

Tropical Chinese Restaurant

Westchester

Tropical Chinese

Address and Info

Located in a strip mall across from Tropical Park, this place is literally hidden (hint: it’s in the back, on the west side), but once you find it, the crisp, white linens, and Chinatown excess will remind you of the kind of spots you’d find in New York or -- dare we say -- San Francisco. Hong Kong-style pushcart dim sum service is available every day of the week from 11am to around 3pm, but if you want to go all out, whole Peking duck is a fancy experience, carved tableside. Oh, and don’t even get us started on the fluffy scallion pancakes. Or do... how much time do you have?

Courtesy of Ball and Chain

Little Havana

Ball & Chain

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A modern-day reincarnation of the popular nightclub that hosted greats like Billie Holiday and Count Basie in the '30s and '40s, B&C is now a live Latin music open-air destination with guava-infused cocktails served with whole pastelitos, pre-Castro Havana stylings, and a pineapple-shaped stage. 

Jeffery Salter

Brickell

NAOE

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Offering only two eight-person seatings per night, it may be hard to get into this omakase-style (chef’s choice) restaurant. But once you’re in, well, you’ll be IN, so to speak. Plus, it eliminates the entire ordering process, giving you more time to learn about your date’s extracurricular activities, which, after this meal, will definitely include seeing more of you.

Courtesy of Toro Toro

Downtown

Toro Toro

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This underrated steakhouse by acclaimed chef Richard Sandoval doesn’t get enough credit. If the dark woods and sultry ambiance don’t draw you in, the Latin-inspired shared-plates concept will truly bring everyone together. Save room for La Bomba, an interactive, take-over-the-table chocolate bowl ice cream dessert. We’ll leave it at that, to not ruin the surprise. 

Midtown & Wynwood

Lagniappe

Address and Info

This New Orleans-style wine house will make you feel like you stumbled into a beautiful version of the Jazz Age with live music, shabby chic appeal, and an outdoor BBQ, minus the whole Prohibition nonsense. Oh, and it’s pronounced lan-yap, in case you were wondering. 

Courtesy of Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill

Midtown

Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill

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Trends and hotspots tend to change on the regular in Miami, but this OG has kept its date game strong with its consistent lineup of sushi, shishito peppers, and bacon-wrapped dates, plus drinks like the Spice of Love (jalapeño, passion fruit purée, mango essence, vodka) and the Strawberry Balsamic (strawberries, aged balsamic, vodka, fresh lime juice). Pro tip(s): the outdoor tree-covered seating area is a prime location for getting romantic. Plus, shishito pepper roulette is consistently a fun game. 

Jordan Mermell

Miami Beach

The Standard Spa

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Sure, it’s your go-to Sunday playground, but this bay-front garden/spa/pool paradise is also legit for extended day-dates, plus the spa has a hammam-style Turkish bath, which means you can get hot and heavy, before getting... well, hot and heavier. 

Adrian Gaut

Miami Beach

Freehand Miami

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Talk about a transformation. In a few years, this spot has gone from bumbling boutique hotel to uber-trendy hostel complex, complete with award-winning cocktail bar, The Broken Shaker, and adjacent restaurant, 27. What will keep you there is the dreamy garden at the heart of it all, outfitted with comfy seating and retro games for all-day lounging, a specialty of sorts for Miamians. 

The Local

Coral Gables

The Local

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Chicken & biscuits, beef jerky, and a burger drowned in Mississippi comeback sauce... eat good ol’ American classics with a Southern twist, then take a post-grub stroll down Giralda.

Ariete

Coconut Grove

Ariete

Address and Info

The Grove’s newest eatery, Ariete, has one thing most restaurants can only dream of -- peacefulness. The restaurant, located a few blocks away from the area’s otherwise busy and rowdy streets, offers a petite, white-fenced garden with intimate tables. Be sure to bring a date who you’re comfortable getting cozy with.

Max Reed

Wynwood

The Wynwood Yard

Address and Info

The pop-up space nestled within Miami’s art-filled district is perfect for a post-Tinder introduction. With a full-service bar, culinary concepts, and various activities held nearly every night, you can avoid an awkward encounter by meeting at one of the most public (and coolest) places in the city.

Downtown Miami

Pérez Art Museum Miami and Verde

Address and Info

It’s no secret that dinner dates can get boring. Wine, average food, and nice-but-semi-forced conversation is enough to kill the mood for anyone. Forgo traditional for something edgy. Visit the Pérez Art Museum Miami on a Thursday night, where galleries are open late ('til 9pm). There are beautiful views of Biscayne Bay, as well as Verde, a quaint museum bistro with waterfront seating where you can grab a bite once the galleries close.

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Native freelance writer Mandy Baca totally took her current boyfriend to one of these date spots... after getting past the whole “we’re both not serial killers” phase, obviously. Follow her on Twitter at @mandybaca

Clarissa Buch is a Thrillist contributor who is officially boycotting Netflix and chill for something more sophisticated, like stuffing her face at one of these fine restaurants. Follow her foodie adventures on Instagram and Twitter.

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1. Schnebly Redland's Winery & Brewery 30205 SW 217th Ave, Homestead, FL 33030 (Homestead Redlands)

Run by a guy mentored by old pros in New York's vino-tastic Finger Lakes, Schnebly uses local tropical fruits from Redland's orchards to produce an array of wines, then invites you to suck them down while wandering 20 acres filled with waterfalls and tiki huts -- like the Playboy Mansion, minus all the annoying girls.

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2. Tropical Chinese Restaurant 7991 Bird Rd, Miami, FL 33155

Just trust us on this: Tropical Chinese Restaurant has the best dim sum in Miami. The family-run spot has been drawing crowds -- especially on weekends around 10am -- for steamed shrimp dumplings, pork buns, and crispy Peking duck for decades. Though its daytime cart service is a must, Tropical's also great for group dinners, thanks to a family-style menu with hits like ginger peel chicken and pineapple fried rice. Total bonus: it's cheap.

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3. Ball and Chain 1513 SW 8th St, Miami, FL 33135 (Little Havana)

If you just wanna DANCE!, Ball and Chain is the place for you. The venue that once housed the likes of Billie Holiday and Count Basie now has live Latin music every weekend and crazy pastelito-infused cocktails

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4. NAOE 661 Brickell Key Dr, , 33131 (Brickell)

This eight-seat sushi temple on Brickell Key is the best of the best for Tokyo-quality sushi in Miami. Crafted by Chef Kevin Cory, Naoe is an omakase-only experience that begins with a bento box before graduating to individual pieces of art-like nigiri. Even if you aren't a sake fan, be sure to order some with your dinner -- it's sourced from the chef's family's brewery in Japan.

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5. Toro Toro 100 Chopin Plz, Miami, FL 33131 (Downtown)

This Pan-Latin restaurant sits in the lobby of a hotel, but its swank dark wood embellishments and leather booths make it feel like it's its own Miami establishment. The menu includes unexpected items like lamb skewers with yogurt sauce, though classic meat dishes like lamb chops and rib-eye steak are also popular.

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6. Lagniappe 3425 NE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33137 (Midtown)

This music venue features a full-service bar and a stage that regularly hosts folk, jazz, and bluegrass musical artists. The upstairs space, which the owner bought and turned into a flat-style home, features homey furniture and a quaint aesthetic, and is available to traveling musicians and public travelers alike.

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7. Sugarcane Raw Bar and Grille 3250 NE First Ave, Miami, FL 33137 (Midtown)

Transferring their tapas steez to the AM/ early afternoon, Sugarcane's offering sharable whole wheat pumpkin pancakes w/ whipped vanilla bean ricotta & seasonal fruit, plus creative savories like duck & waffles w/ crispy leg confit & mustard maple syrup;

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8. The Standard Miami Beach 40 Island Ave , Miami Beach, FL 33139 (Miami Beach)

Tucked just off the Venetian Causeway, and literally dead ending into one of the best panoramic views of Miami, The Standard's relaxing effect is so strong, you'll almost forget about the fact that their activities include Drunk Bingo. Almost.

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9. Freehand Miami 2727 Indian Creek Drive , Miami Beach, FL 33140 (Miami Beach)

Built in the iconic Indian Creek Hotel, this hip hostel is the one-stop destination for cheap lodging, great food, and vibrant social interaction. And while the location is within spitting distance of the beach, the venue embodies none of the brow-raising, exclusive pretentions of other waterfront venues, instead offering a warm, outdoors atmosphere for travelers and locals alike.

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10. The Local Craft Food & Drink 150 Giralda Ave, Coral Gables, FL 33134 (Coral Gables)

Rumor has it that the guys behind The Local used to go to DC on the weekends to drink affordable craft beer and revel in laid-back nightlife, both of which Miami sorely lacked back in the day. No more, thanks to their Coral Gables gastropub that serves a rotating selection of 18 craft beers, small-batch wine, and innovative comfort food like fried spare ribs, hen & dumplings, and fried chicken with bacon and cornbread dressing. The Local's burger, made with a short rib and brisket-blended patty and topped with two slices of American cheese, pickles, and Mississippi Comeback sauce, is one of the best in the 305.

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11. Ariete 3540 Main Hwy, Miami, FL 33133 (Coconut Grove)

Rich flavor and elegant presentation abound at this Coconut Grove hot spot, helmed by Miami restaurateur Jason Odio and chef Michael Beltran of Sidebar fame. The market-driven menu consists of elevated New American fare with clear traces of French influence: venison tartare with coddled egg, espelette, and tangy lemon aioli ties for the most satisfying appetizer alongside house-made foie gras with sour orange vinegar and caramel, placed on bed of wood-fired plantain chips and finished with cocoa nibs; the perfect balance of savory and sweet. The well-stocked wine list is fairly accessible insofar as price is concerned, but the specialty cocktails tend to be more popular (pro tip: try the Green Parrot).

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12. The Wynwood Yard 56 NW 29th St, Miami, FL 33127 (Wynwood)

Once a vacant plot of land inbetween lackluster warehouses, Wynwood is now a lively hangout space and an outdoors mecca for food and drinks in Miami. You’ll find dishes like prosciutto honey pizza and gourmet sliders, alongside a bar serving craft brews and cocktails and a stage loaded with live entertainment almost every night.

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13. Verde Miami 1103 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132 (Downtown)

Situated within the Pérez Art Museum, this airy bistro serves upscale New American fare in a refined yet relaxed setting. Whether ticketed museum-goers or couples looking to enjoy an intimate lunch date with waterfront views of Biscayne Bay, guests can enjoy ingredient-forward plates like brick oven-fired squash blossom pizza with zucchini, goat cheese, and tomato sugo, or light appetizers like tuna tartare with tangy lemon aioli, horseradish, and potato crisps -- both of which pair quite well with regional craft brews or any of the New World wines by the glass.

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