Deciding where to eat in Miami is as difficult as picking a favorite child. The best restaurants in Miami were once swanky spots in hotels helmed by celebrity chefs. While you can still find those, the city has opened up a world of possibility to a crop of newcomers who have transformed Magic City into a culinary destination in its own right.
The Best Restaurants in Miami
For a taste of some of the top-notch cuisine from the city’s most masterful chefs, snag a seat at one of these 10 best restaurants in Miami.
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The Best Restaurants in Brickell/Downtown
When it comes to brunch, Zuma always ranks near the top of the best places to eat in Miami. Come hungry and plan to spend all afternoon. The menu is divided into tiers depending on which bottomless Champagne and main dish you’d like with your meal. Chilean sea bass is a classic that pairs perfectly with the buffet spread snaking its way around the restaurant, where diners can take their pick of sushi, sashimi, and Asian small plates, as well as make-your-own mushroom hot pots.
Downtown was long known for its late-night techno clubs and after-hours bars. It wasn’t until recently that restaurants like Fooq’s have transformed Downtown into a culinary hot spot. Half-French, half-Persian restaurateur David Foulquier brings his experience garnered from stints at restaurants around the globe to his cozy, international-inspired eatery, Fooq’s, that’s one of the best restaurants in Miami. Small plates like meatballs and honey-glazed Brussels sprouts stream from the open kitchen to the handful of tables lining the intimate space. The farm-to-kitchen cuisine is one draw, but the wine list is what makes this place really shine.
Quinto La Huella
Uruguay’s beachfront eatery, Parador La Huella, made its Miami debut as the signature restaurant in the stunning Brickell skyscraper EAST, Miami. Quinto La Huella is the urban interpretation of this unique Uruguayan cuisine, where a wood fire parrilla in the center of the kitchen serves as the cooking method of choice. Locally sourced ingredients add serious flavor to dishes divided by land and sea.
The Best Restaurants in Wynwood/Midtown
Wynwood’s street art-coated buildings may seem a better fit for beer gardens than gourmet eateries, but chef Brad Kilgore proves otherwise with his tasting menu restaurant, Alter, one of the best places to eat in Miami. The industrial space (think exposed concrete walls and neon signs hanging from beams lining the ceiling) forms an L shape around the bar, which doubles as an open kitchen. All three of the tasting menus—which include five, seven, and eight courses—are heavy on Florida flavors, meaning plenty of fresh dishes artfully displayed to show off the best the state has to offer.
Wynwood Kitchen & Bar
One of the neighborhood’s original eateries, Wynwood Kitchen & Bar is considered a classic. Art lines the inside dining room as well as the terrace, which is surrounded by the murals of the Wynwood Walls. This is also a great spot to sample Latin-themed tapas like ropa vieja empanadas and 48-hour crispy pork served on cheddar-chipotle grits. Start your evening of bar hopping around Wynwood here with one of the eatery’s stand-out cocktails, like the Brazilian-inspired cachaca sour.
The Best Restaurants in the Miami Design District
Mandolin Aegean Bistro
Hidden behind blue gates in the Design District, Mandolin Aegean Bistro is housed in a revamped 1940s bungalow that looks like it was plucked straight from a Greek island. Seasonal ingredients are harvested in an edible garden and incorporated into traditional recipes hailing from Greece and Turkey. Take a seat on the terrace at one of the rustic wooden tables, where you’ll be transfixed by the Mediterranean display of mezes filled with favorites like hummus, grilled halloumi, and stuffed tomatoes and peppers.
Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink
Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink is the Design District eatery where James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Schwartz launched his flagship locale over a decade ago. And the chef isn’t resting on his laurels. The buzzy bistro is one of the best restaurants in Miami and a neighborhood fave thanks to its farm-fresh ingredients incorporated into classic American cuisine. Sunday brunch is one of the highlights, as Chef Schwartz lays out a spread of small plates that play on Southern staples like shrimp and grits topped with chorizo and roasted corn.
The Best Restaurants in Miami Beach
The first of Top Chef Jeremy Ford’s two restaurants, Stubborn Seed has quickly proven to be one of the best places to eat in Miami. Set in the restaurant-heavy South of Fifth neighborhood, the season 13 winner shows off his culinary prowess with an open kitchen, allowing diners to see the master in action, from pan to plate. Menus change with the seasons, with dishes divided into categories like “rooted and raw” or “land and sea,” ensuring that even vegetarians can get their fine dining fix. If the menu seems overwhelming, leave the ordering up to the chef and indulge in the multi-course tasting menu.
Pubbelly Sushi started as one of the first in the Pubbelly empire, which has since expanded from Sunset Harbour to a handful of locales across the city. It’s worth making the trip to this spot to see what all the fuss is about. Snag a seat at the sushi bar and watch the chefs in action, or reserve one of the Asian-inspired gastropub’s 16 tables, where the reigning house specialty is pork belly.
The Best Restaurants in Coral Gables
Swine Southern Table & Bar
Miami may not be considered part of the South, but that doesn’t mean it can’t offer up restaurants with barbecue on par with what you’d find in cities like Memphis. Tucked between Miracle Mile’s bridal boutiques, Swine Southern Table & Bar is seen as the little sister to South Beach hot spot Yardbird. Come for supper and sit above the crowd in the second-floor wraparound terrace, where you can feast on 14-hour smoked brisket, fried chicken, and all the fixin’s. This is the kind of place where bourbon is a given, but it’s up to you how you’d like it served: straight up or blended with blackberry puree for a boozy version of lemonade.
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—Original reporting by Lane Nieset
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