Miami's Popular Dining Areas

Oysters at Stiltsville Fish Bar

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Oysters at Stiltsville Fish Bar

By: Shayne Benowitz

Eat your way around Miami with help from our handy guide. Whether it’s a celebrity chef-helmed hotspot at a sophisticated South Beach hotel or the latest offering from local chefs in Wynwood, your dining options are endless across Miami neighborhoods.

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South Beach & Miami Beach

Hotel Restaurants

Home to both trendy celebrity chef-helmed restaurants and stylish local haunts, South Beach is filled with a wide array of both upscale and casual dining options. A staple of the South Beach scene are hotel restaurants. For over-the-top glamour, head to Faena Miami Beach where Los Fuegos is helmed by Argentinean asado grillmaster chef Francis Mallman. Indulge in churrasco steak with chimichurri sauce inside a flashy dining room crowned with an elaborate gilded chandelier. Another hotel with a perennially hot dining scene includes the Fontainebleau Miami Beach where you’ll find a trio of signature restaurants, Hakkasan for haute Cantonese, Scarpetta by Scott Conant and Stripsteak by Michael Mina.

Other hotel restaurants include Matador Room by chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten at The Miami Beach EDITION, The Bazaar by Jose Andres at SLS South Beach and Lure Fishbar at Loews Miami Beach.

    Hip and Local

    For a hip local scene, head to 27 Restaurant at The Freehand for flavors inspired by Miami’s diverse cultures (Latin, Caribbean, Jewish and Haitian) paired with cocktails by the same team as The Broken Shaker. Other local hotspots include Pubbelly Sushi, Stiltsville Fish Bar by celebrity chef power couple Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth and Lucali for Brooklyn-style pizza, which are all found in the Sunset Harbour neighborhood.

      Wynwood

      Chef-driven Restaurants

      The Wynwood Arts District has recently come into its own as a serious foodie neighborhood with chef-driven restaurants like Bradley Kilgore’s Alter and Michael Lewis’s KYU. The former is known for its inventive tasting menus with signature dishes like the soft egg with sea scallop espuma, truffle pearls, chive and Siberian caviar, while the latter is a celebration of pan-Asian, wood-fired barbecue in a hip industrial setting.

        Delicious and Casual

        For each of these elevated dining experiences, you’ll also find a slew of delicious casual outposts like Coyo Taco, Zak the Baker and the high-energy Asian food hall 1-800-LUCKY. Neighborhood standbys include Panther Coffee, Wood Tavern for craft beer and Mexican street food, Joey’s for Italian and, of course, Wynwood Kitchen & Bar where you can dine on Latin fusion small plates amidst the neighborhood’s famous murals.

          Design District

          Popular Neighborhood Anchors

          The Design District, originally named for its high-end furniture showrooms, is now a mecca of luxury fashion, public art and a wild pastiche of architecture—and new restaurants are opening all the time. Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink put the neighborhood on the map back in 2006 and it’s still going strong today with its seasonal, farm-to-table cuisine and classic dishes like duck confit with green mango chutney. Other popular neighborhood anchors include MC Kitchen for upscale Italian and Mandolin Aegean Bistro, which transports you to the Greek Islands with its al fresco patio and fresh Mediterranean cuisine.

            The Newcomers

            There are also plenty of newcomers continually transforming the neighborhood, chief among them Swan, a hotspot by Pharell Williams and nightlife impresario David Grutman, which boasts a stylish jungle-like patio and pretty-in-pink dining room. Wynwood’s Bradley Kilgore is also making a mark on the neighborhood with two new concepts. Kaido is a Japanese-inspired cocktail lounge with small plates and Ember is an inventive wood-fired American bistro.

              St. Roch Market

              Finally, St. Roch Market, found inside Palm Court, boasts ten distinct dining options, as well as a cocktail bar and coffee shop. Be sure to sample pasta from Dal Plin, fried chicken from Coop and vegan sweets from Chef Chloe.

                Downtown Miami & Brickell

                Miami’s financial district is also heating up with new restaurants catering to the area’s young professionals and business travelers. With a slew of new developments like Brickell City Centre, anchored by East, Miami hotel, dining and shopping go hand in hand. Indulge in South American cuisine at Quinto La Huella or go on a culinary tour of Italy at the three-level La Centrale Italian Food Hall. Across the street at SLS Lux, you’ll find an outpost of Hollywood hotspot Katsuya for inventive sushi and Japanese cuisine inside lush digs.

                With Downtown Miami’s nightlife scene heating up, Zuma is the neighborhood’s longstanding hotspot inside the Kimpton Epic hotel serving some of the best Japanese in town. You’ll also find tasty restaurants like Fooq’s for Persian comfort food, NIU Kitchen for Spanish tapas and Soya e Pomodoro for Italian. The newly opened Vinaigrette Sub Shop from the team behind Blue Collar is a hotspot at lunchtime, serving classic hoagies ranging from house-made roast beef to Italian subs.

                  Coconut Grove

                  Miami’s oldest neighborhood is experiencing a modern day renaissance with a slew of new developments, including restaurants, hotels, shopping and condos. The laidback bayfront neighborhood has recently welcomed outposts of some of Miami’s most beloved institutions, including chef Michael Schwartz’s Harry’s Pizzeria from the Design District, Wynwood’s Panther Coffee and Books & Books with multiple locations throughout the city. In March 2019, Mr. C Coconut Grove hotel opened with the rooftop Bellini restaurant serving upscale Italian fare by the Cipriani family, introducing unprecedented luxury into the neighborhood.

                  It’s also home to classic destinations like Greenstreet Café with ample sidewalk seating, Jaguar for ceviche and pan-Latin cuisine and Monty’s Raw Bar as the ultimate post-boating destination. Modern day classics include Ariete for inventive Cuban-influenced cuisine and Glass & Vine by Giorgio Rapicavoli perched at the top of Peacock Park.

                    Coral Gables

                    Fittingly known as The City Beautiful, Coral Gables boasts wide avenues, Mediterranean Revival architecture, plazas with fountains and lush landscaping. It’s one of Miami’s most desirable residential neighborhoods and makes for a lovely place to explore, especially with the newly expanded pedestrian streetscape along Giralda Plaza, lined with restaurants like Talavera Cocina Mexicana, The Local Craft Food & Drink and Threefold Café.

                    Classic spots include chef Cindy Hutson’s Ortanique on the Mile, which introduced fine Caribbean fare to Miami starting in 1999. Here you’ll find fresh ceviches made with hearts of palm, mango, peppers, Scotch bonnet, red onion and fresh citrus, as well as conch and corn fritters, West Indian curried jumbo lump crab cakes, jerk chicken penne pasta and pan-sauteed grouper. Caffe Abbracci is another Coral Gables institution, opened in 1989 serving traditional Italian comfort food, like beef carpaccio, fettuccine bolognese and branzino “Belvedere.”

                      Little Havana

                      Of course, what’s a visit to Miami without sampling Cuban cuisine? Head straight to the source in Little Havana for the full experience. Here, you’ll find Cuban bakeries, grocery stores, fruit stands and coffee windows, as well as restaurants serving traditional Cuban fare like ropa vieja (stewed beef with spices) with black beans, rice and sweet plantains. Versailles is a classic. Family-owned and operated since 1971, not only does it function as the unofficial town square for Miami's Cuban diaspora, it serves delicious Cuban favorites like empanadas, stuffed plantains, croquetas and, of course, the Cuban sandwich made with sweet ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles and yellow mustard pressed on crusty Cuban bread.

                      You’ll also find newfangled hotspots like Ball & Chain for mojitos, updated Cuban fare and live music. The refurbished 1930s dance hall once hosted musicians like Billie Holiday. Today, it serves up some of the most sophisticated nightlife in the neighborhood. For a sweet treat, don’t skip Azucar Ice Cream for a scoop of their Abuela Maria, made with guava, cream cheese and served with a galletas Maria cookie — it’s Miami in a cup (or a cone).

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