Where to Eat and Drink in Miami Right Now

From classic Cuban to modern cocktails, Miami has one of the most exciting culinary scenes in the world

June 28, 2024 1:40 pm
The bar at Mirabella Coastal Italian in the Fontainebleau
The bar at Mirabella Coastal Italian
Moris Moreno

When your husband is from South Florida, you get to go to Miami — a lot. Over the course of the past decade, I’ve had the pleasure of visiting the tropical city once, often twice, per year, seeing it grow, change and even watching some places remain the same (albeit, with some renovations and higher price tags). It’s become one of my favorite cities in the world for its vibrant melting pot of cultures, impeccable design sensibilities, a laid-back air not unlike that of Europe or South America and, of course, because it’s simply one of the most exciting places to eat on this blue and green earth. 

These are some of the very best places to eat and drink in Miami right now. Check back often because with each trip, I’ll update this guide with the latest and greatest the city has to offer.

a woman in a red carnival costume next to a man in a suit, sunglasses and fedora playing the saxophone
Performers at Ball & Chain
Sean Pozin

A Day in Little Havana

Little Havana is just as lively and charming as you’ve heard, so it’s worth spending time there to immerse yourself in Miami’s Cuban culture. Start with lunch in the lush garden at Old’s Havana; you can’t go wrong with one of their Cuba Libres or Mojitos and the succulent chicharron de costilla cerdo, slowly cooked pork belly ribs that are fried until crispy and glazed with a sour orange sauce. Whether you go there post-lunch, pre-dinner or late-night, Ball & Chain is an iconic bar and restaurant that features live music every day, both indoors and at their outdoor stage. A box of instruments next to the band encourages patrons to get up and join in on the fun.

a brown and white bar surrounded by red lather bar stools
Cafe La Trova
Ranieri Cassuola

Cafe La Trova serves some of the best cocktails in the city — it’s no wonder the restaurant is a regular on the list of North America’s and The World’s 50 Best Bars. Maestro Cantinero Julio Cabrera and his team bring classic Cuban flavors to life in modern cocktails like the Maduro Old Fashioned, made with sweet plantain-infused Woodford Reserve. Dine on salt cod fritters and picadillo while you watch the crowded dance floor come alive to the sounds of a live band.

a verdant courtyard filled with trees and patio furniture
Broken Shaker
Adrian Gaut

Where to Drink

You can’t talk about Miami bars without shouting out Mac’s Club Deuce, the iconic South Beach dive — and the oldest bar in the city — that still lets patrons smoke inside. Stop in for a whiskey and some of the best people-watching around. If you’re feeling peckish afterwards, pop across the street to the original location of La Sandwicherie for one of their excellent sandwiches. Cross the Intercoastal to check out Gramps, one of the old holdouts of an edgier Wynwood of yore. The drinks are good and the programming is even better.

Broken Shaker was one of the pioneers in putting Miami on the global cocktail map, and their poolside oasis at the Freehand still serves some of the best drinks in town. Bring friends so you can indulge in one of their punch bowls. Sweet Liberty Drinks & Supply Co is a beloved spot for tourists, locals and industry folks alike, thanks to its award-winning cocktails, elevated bar food and lots of fun parties.

seating at dante's hifi in miami
Dante’s HiFi
World Red Eye

There are few places that have shown me a better time than Dante’s HiFi. As the first vinyl listening lounge in the city, it has set the bar extremely high with its great drinks selection, awesome staff, talented DJs and all around boisterous, positive energy. It’s the kind of place where one drink will turn into three, and you’ll definitely be on your feet dancing.

Four Seasons

If I could give an interior designer one room to recreate in my hypothetical house, it would be The Champagne Bar, the elegant but energetic cocktail lounge at Four Seasons at The Surf Club. There you can sidle up to the green and gold bar or sink into one of the plush couches situated under towering palms and order one of their signature drinks or a perfectly made Martini.

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a patio restaurant with blue and white striped umbrellas and lots of greenery
Il Giardino at Mr C
Mr C

A Day in Coconut Grove

Coconut Grove is a bit further south in terms of Miami neighborhoods, but it’s also one of the most beautiful, so I encourage you to spend time there (eating and drinking, of course). Although I’m not a vegan, I truly appreciate a vegetable, especially when a chef knows how to elevate it in ways that even staunch carnivores don’t miss the meat. That’s exactly what husband and wife team Alex Falco and Huimin Zhu are doing at their restaurant Minty Z, which has one of the best plant-based menus in the city. Don’t miss the smashed cucumber salad, General Tso Brussel sprouts and kung pao tofu. 

Los Félix is simply one of the coolest restaurants in Miami. The menu is inspired by Mesoamerican heritage, and it shows in their reverence for quality ingredients, especially the different types of heritage corn used to make many of their dishes. Esquites are dressed up with wild-caught crab, basil furikake and Japanese uni, while the corn dumplings are served with beef short ribs, tamarind and pickled leeks. The beverage program focuses on natural and biodynamic wines from the Americas.

Bellini Bar
Bellini Bar
Mr C

At the elegant Italian hotel Mr C, you can’t go wrong with lunch at Il Giardino, a gorgeous patio restaurant that will let you linger for hours in true European fashion. And if a pre-dinner snack is in order, pop upstairs to rooftop Bellini Bar for a proper aperitivo hour. If you simply can’t stand to leave, book one of the hotel’s elegant rooms and make yourself at home.

a black plate of roasted salmon and fregola with edible flowers
Pan seared salmon with sautéed fregola from Verde
Lazaro Llanes

Where to Lunch

Zak the Baker makes the best bread in South Florida, and you can try the beloved carbs at their Wynwood cafe. Think challah French toast, a nova bagel and BLT croissant. Mandolin Aegean Bistro has been a Miami staple for years, and it seems like its Greek and Turkish cuisine only gets better with age. Order a bunch of meze to share, and you won’t be disappointed (and do make a reservation because it can get quite busy). Museum restaurants can be mediocre at best, but Verde at the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) serves some of the most beautiful food in town. Grab a seat outside for insane views of Biscayne Bay, and don’t miss the ceviche and perfect cheeseburger (but also go with the flow because the menu changes with the seasons). Take time to explore PAMM after your meal because it’s one of the best contemporary art museums in the country.

a tentacle of grilled octopus on a white plate with a red sauce
Grilled octopus with gigante beans, frisée and gremolata from Mirabella
Evan Sung

When the Dinner Bell Rings

Seafood is the focus at Mignonette, where you can enjoy everything from succulent raw bar towers to popcorn conch to Florida black grouper with an apple brandy gastrique. Add a veggie plate to your meal where you can choose four of their specialties like fried Roman artichokes and roasted cauliflower with smoked trout roe mayo. Chef Michael White outdoes himself at Mirabella Coastal Italian, a dreamy restaurant inside the Fontainebleau hotel. Try the Caesar, swordfish with artichoke caponata and the absolutely irresistible cavatelli with fennel sausage and arugula pesto. Make a night of it with a pre-dinner cocktail or nightcap at Fontainebleau’s iconic lobby hangout, Bleau Bar. 

a dish of muhamarra on a wooden table next to a bag of bread
The muhammara at Doya
Daniel Zuliani

I can’t get enough of Doya, another modern Aegean restaurant that celebrates the cuisine of Greece and Turkey. Come hungry and grab a seat at the restaurant’s stunning horseshoe bar or on the verdant patio. The menu is made up of hot and cold meze to share, and you can’t go wrong with anything —  but if you need a little direction, I think about the muhammara, branzino carpaccio, octopus, kofte and roasted cauliflower on a weekly basis. Anthony Medina’s award-winning cocktail program features drinks that are both gorgeous and perfectly executed.

a drone shot of a blue swimming pool with white umbrellas and palm trees around it
The pool at Eden Roc
Eden Roc

Hotels for the Culinary Minded

Situated in Mid Beach, Eden Roc has been providing Miami visitors with glamorous accommodations since 1955. The rooms here are spacious and comfy, but you should absolutely spring for a junior oceanfront suite, which is designed with a large balcony that overlooks the ocean and resort pools. After spending a few hours sunning and swimming at the beach or at one of the resort’s three said pools, retreat for lunch on the terrace at Ocean Social. Take in the glorious breeze as you nosh on Key West pink shrimp ceviche and local fish tacos. The lobby bar is an excellent place for a cocktail when you need a break from the sun, and Cafe Inez serves a great quick breakfast (that you should definitely take to go and eat on your balcony). But Eden Roc has another culinary party trick — it’s also home to Nobu Hotel (yes, a hotel within a hotel) and Nobu Miami where you can dine on world-renowned sushi, A5 Wagyu and, of course, black cod with miso.

a bar with a red and white tiled floor with tasseled chairs
El Salon, the clandestine bar at Esmé
Jen Castro

If South Beach is more your vibe, Esmé is a warm, quiet oasis on an otherwise touristy stretch of Washington Avenue. The rooms are small but beautifully decorated, and every corner of the hotel has been thoughtfully adorned by interior designer Jessie Schuster. Pop over to hotel restaurant The Drexel, which boasts incredible service and even better food. The homemade Italian fennel sausage, served with mustard and giardiniera, is a must, as are the hen of the woods mushrooms and flat iron chicken with espelette pepper and maître d’butter. The Roof at Esmé is a perfect place for a poolside lunch or pre-dinner drinks, while El Salón is an intimate cocktail bar with a great list of classic cocktails and Martinis to try. Breakfast in the hotel’s tiled courtyard is a perfect way to start the day.


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