The 25 Best Restaurants In Miami  guide image


The 25 Best Restaurants In Miami

Meet our 25 highest-rated restaurants.

Have you ever woken up and thought, “Gosh, I’d love to eat at a second-best restaurant today?” Of course you haven’t. Whether you’ve lived here your entire life or are visiting for the first time, it’s human nature to want to experience the best of the best. And that’s exactly why we wrote this guide.

These are the highest-rated restaurants in Miami—the ones we’d sit in an hour of traffic to get to, the ones we pine for when we hear love songs, the ones we seek out on days off. Food and experience are both taken into consideration, and any type of dining establishment is fair game. On this list you’ll find fancy omakase counters, barbecue pop-ups, sandwich ventanitas, and casual seafood hangouts. Every city has its classics and its hot new places, but these are restaurants where greatness is guaranteed.


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140 NE 39th St, Miami
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Every meal at Itamae feels like a first date—except one that you know won't suck. In fact, it will be the antithesis of suck because the Design District Nikkei restaurant serves the most consistently exciting and delicious food in Miami. And they manage to do that even though their menu changes on a near-daily basis. There are standards you can always expect here, like a ceviche with a leche de tigre that demands to be slurped from the bowl. But our favorite part about every meal here are the surprises—like tiny firefly squid swimming in squid ink leche de tigre or meltingly soft slices of Hokkaido scallop folded over chunks of smoked banana. This food would make us happy in a windowless room, but when we're eating it under palm trees in Itamae's gorgeous outdoor space, it makes each meal here end in a prayer of gratitude that we live in Miami.

What can be said about Boia De that hasn’t already been said about that chihuahua you follow on Tik Tok: it’s tiny, it’s adorable, and ever since you first encountered it, you find your thoughts drifting towards it multiple times a day. This narrow Italian restaurant on the edge of Buena Vista has one of those menus that's like a perfect album, with not a single song you’d dare skip. The only rules we’ll gently suggest are: plan to make a reservation a couple weeks out, order the shockingly amazing chopped salad, and definitely get the tagliolini nero if you see it on the menu. You can also try to come super early and snag walk-in bar seating, which is our favorite seat in the house anyway. 

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This is the reservation you should make when life feels mundane, and you’re going to scream if you see one more grilled octopus on a menu. Zitz Sum shocks us out of routine—and not just because their chili oil is perfectly calibrated. The food here is unlike anything else in the city. Dishes are influenced by Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Lao, and other Asian cultures. You’ll find DIY Korean-style hand rolls that come with steak tartare, short grain rice, and Japanese egg salad. The brisket sheng jian bao made us forget everything we learned in kindergarten about sharing. And because the menu changes constantly, dinner here is still exciting even if you come on a weekly basis. Zitz Sum has not only managed to breathe fresh air into Coral Gables, but all of Miami-Dade County.

Maybe your days of bottle service and partying till sunrise are behind you. But if you still want to engage in some classic Miami indulgence—all while feeling like a classy adult—then make a reservation at Ariete. Everything on the menu is fantastic, but if you're coming here to celebrate (or just want dinner to feel like a special occasion in and of itself) get the canard a la presse—a.k.a. the duck press. They wheel this medieval-looking machine to the table and use it to compress various parts of the duck into a deep, rich sauce. They then use that sauce to smother the absolute best duck you’ll ever taste in your life. The meal, which costs around $135 and serves two, also comes with flaky duck pastelitos, and more rotating sides that utilize every millimeter of the duck and its various parts. Not a duck fan? Then go with the equally impressive monkfish wellington.

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings

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Even though the menu changes occasionally, we always know what to expect at Macchialina: Italian dishes (mostly pasta) that feel like a final draft, edited to near perfection without so much as one superfluous fragment of parmesan on the plate. Food aside, Macchialina is just always a thoroughly enjoyable experience—which makes it all the more valuable in South Beach, a neighborhood where it's too easy to have a thoroughly unenjoyable experience. But at Macchialina, the service is excellent, the drinks are great, and the restaurant's indoor and outdoor seating is exactly where you want to spend a Saturday night eating Miami’s best pasta.

The list of things we love about Krüs is longer than the spiral staircase you take to get to the dining room. On that list is a crudo so beautiful you’ll be nervous to make eye contact with it, an atmosphere that does for date nights what gamma radiation did for Bruce Banner, and glass block windows that face west and make the entire restaurant feel like one big flickering candle during sunset. We find ourselves recommending Krüs so much, because this combination of incredible food, welcoming service, and an interior so comforting it gives one the urge to take off their shoes is incredibly rare in Miami.

Los Félix is the sister restaurant to Krüs, located directly underneath it. And they feel like siblings in the best way possible—connected, yet each with their own distinct personality. Los Félix has more of a dinner party energy, especially on the weekends when a DJ spins vinyl in the dining room. But the big difference is the food. Los Félix serves Mexican dishes, most of which use the house speciality: fresh milled masa. It’s deployed in just about every dish, like the overflowing squash blossom quesadilla, the tetela, and the pork cheek carnitas tacos. It’s a delicious dinner where you’ll always feel like you’re among friends, even if you don’t have the social energy to actually attend a dinner party.

What started as a pandemic pop-up has turned into the best low and slow barbecue in Miami. Drinking Pig serves up the kind of barbecue classics where every bite you take requires a moment of quiet contemplation. This place is still a roaming pop-up at heart, and operates on Saturdays at Wynwood's Smorgasburg, a weekly open-air food market, and Sundays from their original location on the end of a North Miami cul-de-sac. Whenever you manage to track this place down, order big. Brisket, ribs, and cornbread are all non-negotiable. Some mac and cheese and sausage is highly encouraged too. You can order it all in advance for pick-up on Sundays, which should give you no shortage of motivation to make it through the week.

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It takes a lot for us to recommend a dinner that costs somewhere around a month’s rent. It has to be really, really, really good. And Naoe, a nondescript omakase in Brickell Key, truly is one of the best and most unique meals in Miami. The marathon dinner does include a stunning nigiri section, but unlike most pricey Miami omakase options, you'll also encounter a constantly rotating mix of local vegetables alongside rare (for Miami) seafood like braised sazae. It’s not a dinner for everyone. But if you’re genuinely interested in three hours of cured mullet roe, cuttlefish, and dozens of impossibly tiny little Japanese icefish woven together into a single nigiri, then you’ll probably remember your Naoe experience for the literal rest of your life.

Since Miami always marches to the beat of its own tiki tiki music, it’s fitting that the city's best Indian restaurant is also uniquely Miami. And Ghee is serving food that could only exist in the 305. Take, for instance, the bhel puri chaat, a seamless mashup of bhel puri and ceviche. The turmeric marinated fish uses a local catch, the bhatura has avocado in its dough, and so many of Ghee's best dishes source ingredients from Ghee's own farm in Homestead. This is Indian food done Miami style—and done in a way that makes a delicious argument that bhel puris, bhaturas, and vindaloo are just as Miami as pastelitos, Cuban coffee, and arriving very late to a party.

Miamians know that Nicaraguan food is as much a part of the city’s identity as croquetas, coladas, and relentlessly catchy injury attorney jingles. But if your only experience of Nicaraguan food is a 24-hour fritanga, you really need to go to Madroño, which is located in Sweetwater, the heart of the Nica expat community. Madroño’s menu features a lot of Nicaraguan classics done better than anywhere else in town, and you can sense the attention to every detail in every dish. The tajadas are crunchy and never greasy, you can taste each individual grain of rice in the gallo pinto, and every element of their nacatamal is flawless. While we still love our fritangas, it’s hard not to think about Madroño’s meltingly tender carne asada whenever we’re lining up for a styrofoam box from a steam counter.

We weren’t always this excited about Cuban sandwiches, especially after years of eating pretty average versions with cold cheese and pitifully thin ham. But then Sanguich de Miami came along and now we think Miami’s official slogan should just be a picture of their Cubano. This Calle Ocho shop nails every aspect of the Cuban sandwich—from the crunchy bread down to the homemade pickles and perfect amount of mustard. We would tell you to come here if it was the only thing they sold, but they also make other great sandwiches you should try eventually—especially the self-titled Sanguich de Miami, which is a delicious mash-up of a BLT, turkey sandwich, and Cuban sandwich.

NIU Kitchen went through lots of changes during the pandemic, and is now located in the space that once housed its sister restaurant, Arson. But the most important characteristic of NIU Kitchen remains unchanged: the Catalan spot is still serving some of the most delicious food in Miami. Dinner here should always start with the cold tomato soup with mustard ice cream, a rare soup that's appropriate even on the hottest day of summer. The ous, a bowl of poached eggs and truffled potato foam, is another must-order. Other than that, make sure there's some wine within arms reach and prepare for a lazy meal full of seafood, jamón, and at least one charbroiled oyster, which gets singed tableside with a hot coal.

North Miami’s Paradis Books & Bread is the best kind of bait and switch. Maybe you pop by this wine bar for a drink. But then your stomach gets chatty and—would you look at that—they serve food too. Next thing you know, you’re smearing seaweed butter and piling tinned fish onto fresh bread and debating whether or not to order another square slice of their phenomenal rotating pizzas—which change on a monthly basis but always make us want to hop over the cash register and hug the first person we see. Paradis is small, but it packs such a punch. It’s a wine bar/bakery/restaurant/library/generally-wonderful-spot-to-hang-out-with-friends. And somehow it manages to be excellent versions of all of those things.

Yes, the food, cocktails, and service are always outstanding at Downtown's Jaguar Sun—but its greatest quality also happens to be that rarest of things in a Miami social life: a guaranteed good time. Jaguar Sun is fun, and not conditionally so. You don’t have to be at the right table or order the right cocktail or entree to enjoy yourself here. Everything (both in liquid and solid form) is delicious, and the staff is a small team of extroverts hell-bent on making sure your glass is never empty. You're coming here for outstanding pasta, oysters, a cold martini, and because you need a dinner that'll make you completely forget why you woke up in a bad mood today.

If you are even in the slightest mood for Jamaican, all roads in Miami lead to Clive’s. This classic Little Haiti spot makes our favorite versions of so many Jamaican dishes, like their excellent jerk chicken. But there are more phenomenal staples worth ordering: curry goat, oxtail, ackee and saltfish, and conch served steamed, fried, or in a curry. Needless to say, making a decision here can be a difficult thing. But whatever you get will probably fall right off the bone and come with a side of rice and peas big enough to use as a pillow. Clive’s works for both takeout or dine-in, and we firmly consider a fork full of equal parts Clive's mac and cheese, plantain, and jerk chicken to be the best bite one can have in Miami.  

There’s no menu at Shore To Door, a Coconut Grove seafood market and weekend restaurant. Instead, the cook—who might be in the middle of cleaning a fish—will tell you what came in off the boat that morning. The menu might include fried grouper bites, a whole fried yellowtail snapper, wahoo fish dip, or other sea creatures. But it will be delicious, and you can eat it in their fantastic backyard, which has a bunch of mismatched furniture and an atmosphere that feels almost as Key West as Jimmy Buffett riding a dolphin while reading a Hemingway novel out loud. If you want a beer, pop open the cooler and help yourself. Just try to keep tabs on how many you drink, because even though this place feels like a friend’s backyard, you’ll still have to pay at the end of the meal.

Zak The Baker is to Miami bread what Pitbull is to Miami music. Except we're actually thrilled about Zak's ubiquity, and the fact that one can encounter slices of his sourdough in nearly every cafe within Miami-Dade County. We still love taking trips to this Wynwood bakery too, even though the crowds can be intense. Because it's only at the bakery where you'll find some of Zak's best stuff, like perfect bagels, Miami's best babka, and an outstanding bacon, egg, and cheese that uses salmon bacon instead of actual bacon. And here's a very useful tip if you hate lines as much as us: go online and order ahead. 

Rosie's will make you fall madly in love with brunch again—even if you never even liked it that much to begin with. The former pop-up serves a mostly Southern American menu on an outdoor patio in Little River with covered seating and a very impressive tree. The food here is pretty recognizable: fried chicken and waffles, biscuits, crispy fish and grits. But you will do a double take when you taste it, because it's much better than any version you may remember from your own personal brunch history. There will be other things on the menu you wish you had the stomach capacity to eat—but that’s all right. Just come back. That won’t be hard, because unlike many brunch scenarios, nothing about Rosie’s feels like a chore.

If we were better at math, we could make a graph to illustrate how super expensive omakase restaurants have ballooned in Miami over the last few years. And even though there is no shortage of places to drop $300 for two hours of great raw fish, there’s no sushi omakase experience we endorse more than Mr. Omakase. Dinner at the little Downtown counter ranges from $79 per person (for ten courses) to $139 (for 18 courses). That’s not cheap, but still more affordable than Miami’s other upscale omakase options. The price point isn’t why we love Mr. Omakase, though. The two-hour dinner here is an unforgettable blur of nigiri and sashimi so delicate and tender you barely have to chew it.

Since 1980, B&M Market has been a go-to spot for some of the best West Indian food in Miami. But it’s easy to drive right by this place if you don’t know that, because it looks like just another bodega—until you walk to the back of the store and see people waiting for their ackee and saltfish, oxtail stew, and jerk chicken wrapped in one of Miami’s best roti. To place an order, just stick your head into the tiny kitchen and let the chef know what you want (or place a takeout order in advance online). While you wait for the food, check out the shop’s selection of Caribbean drinks, which includes an Irish Moss that tastes like a cinnamon milkshake and is a lifesaver if you accidentally go overboard with the very (very) spicy pepper sauce on the table. Oh, and don't forget to say hi to the cat, an essential worker in any proper bodega.

The next time someone whines about Miami's lack of Thai restaurants, shove them in a cab and send them to Panya Thai. The casual, windowless restaurant on 163rd St (one of Miami's tastiest streets) makes the city's best Thai food—and not just the usual suspects. This is one of the only places in town where you can get big bowls of boat noodle soup, which features rice noodles floating in a mahogany-colored, sweet and savory pork broth. Yen ta fo is another dish that rarely pops up on local Thai menus. This soup features a tart/sweet reddish/pink broth, wide rice noodles, fish balls, and veggies. But even if you are craving a simple pad Thai or green curry, they have Miami's best version of that too.

Walrus Rodeo takes ideas that have very little to do with each other and makes them work gloriously. There are dishes like carrot tartare, which surpasses all tuna or steak versions we've ever tried, and mustard green lasagna (our favorite lasagna in the city). The interior is a bright country western meets Italian disco aesthetic. But behind all the goofy contradictions is a restaurant that’s just delicious and fun. If you stick to the starters, salads, pastas, and the rodeo pizza, you'll have a meal nearly as impressive as the one at their sister restaurant, Boia De. But this place isn’t just a backup plan if you can’t get into Boia De. Walrus Rodeo is one of those rare special occasion spots that’s also perfect for most regular occasions. 

L’Auberge is hands-down the best Haitian restaurant we’ve encountered in Miami. It’s also one of the few Haitian restaurants in Miami that offers table service, although most diners get their food to go. The bouillon at L’Auberge (which is definitely not just broth) is one of the most texturally complex dishes we’ve ever had. They also serve a solid griot with some of the fluffiest diri kole in Miami and pikliz so good we want to beg them to bottle the stuff. Sunday is the best day to visit this North Miami spot, because that’s when they serve traditionally luxe specialties, like our favorite soup joumou, chicken and cashew stew, and djon djon rice made with basmati and Haitian black mushrooms.

Dinner at the upscale Korean steakhouse is the kind of exciting event we expect from an acclaimed Manhattan restaurant. The service is so efficient that it feels like the entire staff is sharing a single consciousness. The steak is predictably incredible, but so are the cocktails and the ceviche. Plus, the $64 per person Butcher’s Feast—a 90-minute performance dedicated to all things protein—is one of the best celebratory meals you can have in Miami. It even feels right at home in the Design District, a neighborhood dedicated to all things wealth and overindulgence. You’ll need a reservation to eat here, but (unlike some other NYC restaurants that recently came to town) you won’t have to hire your little cousin to keep refreshing the reservations page until you get one.

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Suggested Reading

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The Miami Hit List: Our Favorite New Restaurants In Miami

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The Best Cuban Sandwiches In Miami  guide image

No one does a Cuban sandwich better than Miami—and here’s where you’ll find the best.

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How to eat your way across NE 163rd, the tastiest street in Miami.

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