By: Shayne Benowitz
Where to dine al fresco in Miami.
With sunshine, sea breeze and the mellow shade of palm trees, Miami is the kind of city where you want to be outside as much as possible. This, of course, goes for dining and it’s no wonder that Miami is home to many idyllic outdoor restaurants. From sweeping rooftops to cozy courtyards and sidewalk cafes, pull up a seat at one of these magical outdoor dining establishments.
Juvia in South Beach
Situated at the top of the 1111 Lincoln Road building designed by Pritzker Prize winning architects Herzog and de Meuron, Juvia offers some of the most spectacular views in all of Miami. With both indoor and outdoor seating, a vertical garden and 280 degree views of Miami stretching from the beach to Biscayne Bay and downtown, you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world. The cuisine at this fine dining establishment combines French techniques with Asian and Latin flavors. Highlights include king crab risotto with aji amarillo lobster stock and green asparagus, Chilean seabass with maple glazed eggplants and Korean marinated short ribs.
The Café at Books & Books in South Beach, Coral Gables or Downtown
You have three lovely choices when it comes to dining at The Café at Books & Books: Coral Gables, Lincoln Road or the Adrienne Arsht Center. Whichever you choose, you’re in for a charming affair at the legendary independent bookseller. Coral Gables is the original location with wrought iron chairs and tables situated in a Spanish-style central courtyard. Inside, shelves of books are waiting for you. They also boast an impressive magazine rack, making it the perfect spot for a bookworm’s solo lunch, basking in the sun surrounded by words.
Meat Market in South Beach
Lincoln Road is a prime destination for outdoor dining. The entire pedestrian mall is lined with outdoor cafes. One of our favorite spots to grab a seat and watch the world go by is Meat Market. This upscale steakhouse boasts indulgent, chef-driven fare, like char-grilled chimichurri oysters, Asian BBQ lamb ribs and white truffle kobe beef tartare, along with their signature cuts of steak.
Green Street Café in Coconut Grove
Coconut Grove is another haven of outdoor dining with sprawling sidewalk cafes near the CocoPlum outdoor shopping center. Green Street Café is a Coconut Grove classic for breakfast, lunch or dinner, so snag a table in the shade any time of day and enjoy the bohemian ambiance of the Grove, the most historic neighborhood in Miami. The menu has plenty of American classics to choose from in hearty portions, like cheeseburgers, linguini and clams, Greek salads and skirt steak. Pro tip: Don’t skip the chorizo mac ‘n cheese to start.
Jaya at The Setai in South Beach
South Beach is lined with luxurious oceanfront hotels with excellent onsite dining options, many with gorgeous views of blue sky and blue water. However, the outdoor dining experience at Jaya at The Setai is in a league of its own. Ask for a table inside their tranquil Zen courtyard. With Asian-inspired design elements, the it’s all onyx and reflection pools in a symmetrical layout with tall palm trees swaying overhead. Start with the naan bread and opt for the Thali platter, featuring a variety of the chef’s specialties, like tandoor chicken tikka, Peking duck and wagyu strip loin. For a more traditional South Beach outdoor dining experience paired with the sounds of crashing waves, head past the Zen garden to the oceanfront bar and grill where buckets of Champagne are a popular compliment to lunch.
Cecconi’s at Soho Beach House in Miami Beach
Tucked away in the English shabby chic digs of Soho Beach House, Cecconi’s is a beloved Italian eatery in a lovely courtyard crawling with ivy and grounded by sea green and cream tile floors. With cushy seating, rough-hewn wooden beams and twinkling lights floating above, it’s a romantic destination for breakfast, lunch or dinner. You can’t go wrong with a menu of expertly prepared Italian fare, like zucchini blossoms, truffle and goat cheese pizettes, handmade burrata and lamb ragu cavatelli.
Mandolin Aegean Bistro in the Design District
Tucked away behind a blue picket fence in the Design District and shaded by white awnings and umbrellas, enjoy a taste of Turkey at Mandolin Aegean Bistro’s front patio. Popular amongst Miami’s fashion set, swing by after a morning of shopping. Start with a sampler of homemade hummus, tzatziki and beet puree with fresh pita and the Greek village salad. Indulge in Mediterranean sea bass or a pulled lamb sandwich, but definitely don’t leave without an order of baklava and Turkish coffee.
A La Folie Café in South Beach
This South Beach hidden gem is found at the western end of Española Way. A laid back French café specializing in homemade crepes, sandwiches and salads, snag a table on the sidewalk and you’ll feel transported from the South Beach hustle and bustle to a charming French village. You can’t go wrong with their long menu of savory and sweet crepes, but if you feel like trying something different, their habibi lamb sausage sandwich and French style Caesar salad are both hits. For dessert, the chocolate fondant is heavenly.
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