A Culinary Tour of Miami and the Beaches

by  Rachel Friedman | Jul 4, 2023
Courtesy of Sofia Miami/Brandon Barre

Many people come to Miami for the beautiful beaches, the cutting-edge nightlife, the rich arts and culture scene, and the opportunity to have fun in the sun with the whole family. But more and more, people are coming for the food: Miami’s restaurant scene is an ever-more-sophisticated blend of influences from Latin America, Asia, Europe, and beyond. (One smart way to sample the city’s best cuisine is to visit during August and September, when many top restaurants offer three-course meals for just $30-$35 for lunch and brunch and $45-$60 for dinner, as part of the Miami Spice Restaurant Months program.) From fine dining to casual cafés, here are some of our favorite places to eat in Miami and the Beaches.

Read more: How to Spend 72 Hours in Miami

Ocean Social

Courtesy of Ocean Social/Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau

The beachfront restaurant at the Eden Roc Hotel on Miami Beach, Ocean Social punches above its weight, thanks to the culinary talents of Chef Tristen Epps, a one-time Chopped champion who also trained under Marcus Samuelsson and Thomas Keller. Highlights of Epps’ soulful yet elevated coastal cuisine include Florida rock shrimp spaghetti with Gold Bar squash and brown butter; fish and grits made with local flounder; and, from the wood-fired oven, whole fish wrapped in banana leaves and a divine avocado-topped pizza. All of it is enhanced by the breezes off the beach, thanks to the retractable roof.


Courtesy of Leku/Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau/@thebacyard on Instagram

The Rubell Museum in the Allapattah neighborhood has many high points: Yayoi Kusama’s installation of 700 stainless steel spheres; monumental works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jeff Koons, and other contemporary masters. But the most pleasurable maybe lunch at Leku, the museum’s in-house Spanish restaurant. The innovative Iberian cuisine runs from beet tartare and braised wagyu veal cheek to a black-rice paella with mussels and clams — all presented as artfully as the works nearby. We’re still dreaming about the Basque cheese tarte.


Courtesy of Sofia/Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau/@thebacyard on Instagram

The Miami Design District is all about appearances, and Sofia, with its pretty-in-pink decor, chrome-sheathed columns, Murano chandeliers, and contemporary art, certainly fits the bill. But Sofia’s beauty is more than skin-deep: The menu of Italian classics features handmade cacio e pepe pasta with black truffle; expertly plated crudos (try the scallop, with honeydew, puffed farro, and pickled serrano chiles); and a decadent Tartufo pizza with maitake mushrooms and shaved black truffles. Miami glamour at its best.

News Cafe

Set right on Ocean Drive in the heart of South Beach since 1988, News Cafe is legendary for its celebrity guest list (Gianni Versace used to stop by daily for his coffee and newspaper), well-stocked newsstand, and comfort food classics served 24 hours a day. Closed during the pandemic, it has been revived with a Mediterranean-American menu and updated design. Grab a table on the inviting sidewalk patio, order a plate of eggs Benedict — or the famous tomato soup, served with a grilled cheese sandwich — and enjoy the best people-watching on the Beach.


Courtesy of MILA/Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau

For a swanky, delicious, oh-so-Miami night out with friends, MILA is the place to be. The rooftop restaurant on Lincoln Road, in the heart of Miami Beach, has a high-end Mediterranean/Japanese menu, a dress code (swap your flip-flops for strappy heels), and major Ibiza vibes. What to order? The sushi, blistered shishitos, raw bar offerings, and seasonal mushroom hotpot with shaved truffle are all highlights, but you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. Keep your eyes peeled for the fire-breathing show!


Courtesy of Fiola/Ricardo Mejia

Chef Fabio Trabocchi earned instant accolades when he opened Fiola in Washington, DC, back in 2011, and he won the hearts of Miamians just as readily when he expanded his empire south with Fiola Miami. The room, in the upscale neighborhood of Coral Gables, oozes sophistication with a glass wine wall, starched white tablecloths, and plush upholstered seating (there’s also an elegant terrace). The superb cuisine is presented just as gorgeously, like the porcini mushroom “cappuccino” with parmesan foam; the tangle of rye fettuccine carbonara topped with a dollop of caviar; or the ruby-red slices of Australian wagyu fanned across the plate.

Glass and Vine

One of our favorite low-key spots for an alfresco meal is Glass and Vine in Coconut Grove’s Peacock Park, where the tables are clustered beneath mature trees and enjoy views of Biscayne Bay. It’s a great spot to bring the kids (there are play areas nearby) or the dog, and the food is simple but delicious: Try the mezze trio and charred cauliflower to start, followed by the crispy branzino with salsa verde. Afterward, walk around the Grove, arguably Miami’s most charming neighborhood — and pick up a cone at Salt & Straw. 

Read more: Coconut Grove, Miami Neighborhood Guide

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