17 restaurants vital to Miami

Editor’s Note: Welcome to The Greats, a series on the restaurants around the country that define their cities. Here now, a guide to the Miami Greats.

Miami is best known for its sun, parties, and gorgeous beaches, but its dining scene is also a force to be reckoned with. The Magic City’s most standout restaurants serve immaculate food and festive atmospheres with a dash of tropical charm.

In SoFi, the city’s first beach club dishes up a prolific all-you-can-eat brunch. Passing yachts and skyline views enhance the experience at a seafood spot downtown. An inviting osteria in Coral Gables draws crowds for al fresco seats and an Internet-famous appetizer.

No matter the occasion—fancy date night, casual waterfront lunch, or maybe even a late-night mission to avert a hangover—Miami’s stellar restaurant landscape has the right place for it.

These are the 17 spots that define Miami dining.

Gianni’s at the Former Versace Mansion (South Beach)

A chocolate bomb dessert at Gianni’s at the Former Versace Mansion in Miami

Italian Mediterranean dishes make up the menu at Gianni’s at the Former Versace Mansion, a fine-dining restaurant in South Beach. | Credit: K. Hayden

Dine by the iconic Italian mosaic pool made with 24-karat gold tiles at the former Versace Mansion for an only-in-Miami experience. This South Beach hot spot is known for its wild history surrounding the colorful lifestyle of previous owner fashion mogul Gianni Versace. The mansion is now a fine-dining restaurant with an Italian-Mediterranean menu of seafood, steaks, and pastas. You can get creative with dishes such as octopus carpaccio, or keep it simple with the housemade spaghetti pomodoro.

Book now

Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink (Design District)

Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink has been a Miami staple since it was one of the first restaurants to open in the Design District in 2007. James Beard Award-winning chef/owner Michael Schwartz is known for his fresh takes on classic fare using local ingredients and a comfort food approach. Most dishes pass through the signature wood oven, such as the pan-roasted half chicken served with red onion, potato, and red chimichurri. When you’re looking for a standout group meal, check out the chef-chosen family-style menu available on OpenTable Experiences. A stunning renovation in 2021 only reinforced this spot’s go-to status.

Book now

Ghee (Kendall)

Some of Miami’s freshest food can be found at Ghee Indian Kitchen in Dadeland. James Beard Awards finalist chef/owner Niven Patel is known for growing a large portion of the restaurant’s menu in his own backyard, which he dubbed Rancho Patel. Ghee’s menu features seasonal takes on traditional Indian dishes available a la carte or as a family-style tasting menu. Highlights include ghost pepper cheddar naan, chana masala, and Kerala lamb (roasted lamb in a tomato and coconut milk sauce served with steamed basmati). Stop in for lunch where the tiffin (a stacked Indian lunchbox) special of the day is one of the best deals in the area—under $20 for a three-course meal.

Book now

Prime 112 (South of Fifth)

Filet mignon at Prime 112 in Miami

Prime 112 is known for a massive steakhouse menu and celebrity guests. | Credit: Prime 112

The long lines at Prime 112 are full of people as interested in the celebrity clientele as the massive steakhouse menu. Snag a table at this restaurant in the Prime Hotel to feast on large dry-aged steaks, truffled lobster mac and cheese, tuna tartare, and lobster or stone crab cocktail. The portions are large—including the slices of carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and Oreo-chunk cheesecake—making sharing dishes with the table a breeze.

Book now

Nikki Beach Miami (South of Fifth)

Miami’s first beach club is known for casual boho vibes and a prolific Sunday brunch. Go for a buffet like no other featuring charcuterie, a raw bar, sushi, salads, an omelet station, waffles, carving stations, make-your-own pasta, and a full bakery selection. Reserve a cabana table to take in the ocean breeze, sip on mojitos, and watch the live music and weekly performers.

Book now

Komodo (Brickell)

Nest-like seats above the ground floor at Komodo in Miami

Komodo is a sprawling Southeast Asian lounge in Brickell known for extravagant plates featuring gold leaf and truffled honey. | Credit: Groot Hospitality

Komodo is one of Miami’s most stylish restaurants. As the first spot opened by nightlife mogul David Grutman, it’s a 17,000-square-foot showstopper dressed in fiery red. The sprawling Southeast Asian lounge is known for exclusive nests perched above the ground floor. Extravagant plates make up the menu—no visit is complete without an order of the Peking duck with cucumber, scallion, pancakes, and hoisin sauce. Other luxe dishes include dumplings stuffed with gold leaf and truffled honey salmon. Get the baked Alaska for some tableside theater.

Book now

Seaspice Brasserie (Downtown Miami)

This Mediterranean hotspot boasts some of Miami’s prime waterfront seats. Diners can take in the passing yachts and Magic City skyline while feasting on top-notch seafood. Go-tos include sea salt-crusted daily fish, oven baked and served with black truffle risotto, lemon, capers, and brown butter sauce. Come for happy hour (Tuesday through Thursday from 5 pm to 7 pm) for stone crabs, shrimp cocktail, oysters, and Osetra caviar—plus a delicious sunset view.

Book now

Novikov Miami (Downtown Miami)

An exquisite Chinese and Japanese feast awaits at this downtown beauty, all textured wood walls and tree trunk-inspired columns. Novikov’s menu features dim sum, sushi, and Peking duck. Diners can select their fish from a catch-of-the-day display and have it prepared in styles including sashimi, wok, or robata-grilled. Novikov is a sought-after setting for its business lunch specials on weekdays (three courses for $23). A bottomless brunch—with unlimited access to a dozen appetizers and a choice of mains—draws weekend revelers.

Book now

Phuc Yea (MiMo)

Colorful street art, mid-century modern decor, and traditional Vietnamese accents make up the interiors at Phuc Yea in Miami

Cajun-Vietnamese restaurant Phuc Yea was a popular pop-up before becoming a brick-and-mortar in 2016. | Credit: Justin Namon

Phuc Yea’s inventive Cajun-Vietnamese plates earned it MICHELIN Bib Gourmand status in 2022. The fusion menu is inspired by the heritages and experiences of co-owner Ani Meinhold and chef/co-owner Cesar Zapata. The spot began as a buzzy pop-up before becoming a full-fledged brick-and-mortar in 2016. Popular dishes include caramel chicken wings, PY noodles (housemade egg noodles, garlic butter, oyster sauce, parmesan cheese), and coconut croissant bread pudding. Crowds also flock here for the fun cocktail menu featuring unique drinks with flavors that complement the unique Viet-Cajun fare.

Book now

Stubborn Seed (South of Fifth)

Truffle chicken with potato puree, Brussels sprouts, baby turnips, and natural jus at Stubborn Seed in Miami

Top Chef winner Jeremy Ford showcases seasonal American plates at MICHELIN-starred Stubborn Seed. | Credit: Grove Bay Hospitality Group

Those looking to be wined and dined by a Top Chef winner should head to MICHELIN-starred Stubborn Seed. Chef/owner Jeremy Ford prioritizes local bounty on his precisely plated seasonal dishes, available in chef’s tasting menu or a la carte form. As a protege of famed chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Ford’s creations are almost too pretty to eat. Though the menu rarely repeats, there’s always freshly baked bread, housemade pasta, local fish, and an A5 wagyu dish.

Book now

Blue Collar (Little River)

Danny Serfer’s comfort food favorite has kept devotees returning to its compact, retro-themed dining room since opening in 2011. The menu features homey American plates such as a daily parm special, one of Miami’s best burgers, and latkes. Cap off your hearty feast with a gargantuan slice of key lime pie or chocolate cake, best devoured with multiple spoons.

Book now

Cerveceria La Tropical (Wynwood)

Beer and fish tacos at Cerveceria La Tropical in Miami

Cerveceria La Tropical is a longstanding family-owned brewery with a Caribbean-inspired food menu.

This family-owned brewery traces its roots to 19th-century Cuba but it’s now a Miami icon. Cerveceria La Tropical offers live entertainment, a Caribbean-inspired menu, and lush gardens that can easily turn drinks into lunch or dinner. Renowned chef Cindy Hutson dishes up Cuban sandwich empanadas, lager-steamed mussels, and a Latin Lovers pizza (pulled pork, chorizo, churrasco, and citrus onions). La Original—the beer that started it all— is an amber lager, but the menu features a handful of other brews from smooth IPAs to tropical-flavored ales.

Book now

Doya (Wynwood)

Cabbage kebap with char-grilled, roasted eggplant, red pepper, Kalamata olives, and Turkish spices at Doya in Miami

Doya’s menu takes cues from chef and partner Erhan Kostepen’s hometown of Izmir, Turkey. | Credit: Daniel Zuliani

Doya is a love letter to the Mediterranean. Chef/partner Erhan Kostepen grew up in the Turkish coastal town of Izmir. His hometown inspires much of the meze-forward menu here, confirming that food does taste better when it’s shared. Crowd-friendly plates include manti beef dumplings, chopped spiced lamb Adana kebap and greens, and a fig salad with hazelnut-pomegranate dressing. To all that, add cushy blue velvet seats and an expansive covered patio and it’s no surprise the Aegean stunner was recognized with a MICHELIN Bib Gourmand in 2022.

Book now

Mila (South Beach)

If you’re looking for a celebration-worthy meal in Miami, you’ll find it at this sprawling indoor-outdoor retreat. Mila’s izakaya-style “MediterrAsian” dishes were made for sharing, including grilled Spanish octopus with romesco and truffle cream spaghetti with parm, chives, and freshly shaved truffles. Recent additions such as a 10-seat omakase lounge, a nightlife lounge, and a members-only club add to its flamboyant charm.

Book now

Juvia (South Beach)

One of South Beach’s greenest lounges is perched atop a designer parking garage. Juvia’s most remarkable feature is a vertical living wall designed by internationally acclaimed botanist Patrick Blanc. But that isn’t the only reason it’s a quintessential Miami hangout—the plates are just as eclectic as the decor and the South Beach views are unmatched. Executive chef Sunny Oh and pastry chef Gregory Gourreau blend Japanese and Peruvian flavors with French techniques, serving ceviches, tiraditos, seafood, and other creative shareables.

Book now

Luca Osteria (Coral Gables)

A large Italian spread at Luca Osteria in Coral Gables

Treasured family recipes inspired the Italian menu at Luca Osteria. | Credit: Luca Osteria

Meet Coral Gables’s most inviting osteria: Luca is Chopped champion Giorgio Rapicavoli’s homage to his Italian roots. Al fresco seats get you up close and personal with Giralda Avenue’s twinkling lights. Start with the Internet-famous app—balls of fried potato blanketed with fonduta and a single, gleaming egg yolk. Then choose from a menu of treasured family recipes such as lamb chops and pasta al limone.

Book now

Zak the Baker (Wynwood)

This James Beard Award semifinalist is one of Miami’s finest bakeries. Crowds curl around the block for freshly made croissants, cookies, and Jewish baked goods such as babka and challah. Grab a bagel sandwich or tuna melt for something more substantial (great companions for Zak’s housemade soups). Or pop in for a quick snack and pack plenty of treats to take home.

Tried them all? Check out other options here.

Amber Love Bond is a Miami-based food + beverage writer who can typically be found somewhere delicious with her laptop in tow and a cocktail in hand. See what she’s sipping and follow her adventures on Instagram.