Miami's Popular Dining Areas

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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’s neighborhoods.

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Miami Beach

Hotel Restaurants

Home to both trendy celebrity chef-helmed restaurants and stylish local haunts, Miami Beach is filled with a wide array of both upscale and casual dining options. Hotel restaurants are a staple of the Miami Beach scene. For over-the-top glamour, head to Los Fuegos at Faena Miami Beach to indulge in churrasco steak with chimichurri sauce in a flashy dining room crowned with an elaborate gilded chandelier. Another hotel with a perennially hot dining scene is the Fontainebleau Miami Beach, where you’ll find a trio of signature restaurants: Hakkasan for haute Cantonese, Scarpetta by Scitt 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.

    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 (including Latin, Caribbean, Jewish and Haitian) paired with cocktails by the team from 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.


      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 Kaido. Alter is known for its inventive tasting menus with signature dishes like the soft egg with sea scallop espuma, truffle pearls, chive and Siberian caviar. Kaido is a Japanese-inspired cocktail lounge offering small plates. Kilgore recently opened Ember Miami, an inventive American bistro in the nearby Miami Design District. Michael Lewis’s KYU 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 wood-fired pizza, Joey’s for Italian and, of course, Wynwood Kitchen & Bar where you can dine on Latin fusion small plates amid the neighborhood’s famous murals.

          Miami Design District

          Popular Neighborhood Anchors

          The Miami 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. New restaurants are opening here 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. Swan, a hotspot from Pharell Williams and nightlife impresario David Grutman, boasts a stylish jungle-like patio and pretty-in-pink dining room. Finally, Politan Row, formerly known as 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. At lifestyle centers like Brickell City Centre, 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 Luna Park 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.

            Zuma is the neighborhood’s longstanding hotspot, offering some of the best Japanese in town inside the Kimpton EPIC Hotel. You’ll also find tasty restaurants like Fooq’s for eclectic comfort food, NIU Kitchen for Spanish tapas and Soya e Pomodoro for Italian. Vinaigrette Sub Shop, from the team behind Blue Collar and Mignonette, serves 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 bunch of new developments including restaurants, hotels, shops and condos. The laid back bayfront neighborhood is home to 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. Mr. C Coconut Grove hotel recently opened, with the rooftop Bellini restaurant serving upscale Italian fare by the Cipriani family, introducing unprecedented luxury into the neighborhood.

              The Grove is also home to classic destinations like Greenstreet Café with ample sidewalk seating, Jaguar Latin-American Kitchen for ceviche and pan-Latin cuisine, and Monty’s Raw Bar as the ultimate post-boating destination. Newer classics include Ariete for inventive Cuban-influenced cuisine and Glass & Vine by Giorgio Rapicavoli overlooking Peacock Park.

                Coral Gables

                Fittingly known as The City Beautiful, Coral Gables boasts wide avenues, Mediterranean Revival architecture, lush landscaping and elegant plazas. 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 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, serving traditional Italian comfort food like beef carpaccio, fettuccine bolognese and branzino “Belvedere” since 1989.

                  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 Restaurant 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 new spots 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 the 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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