Miami is anything but short on places in which to eat outdoors. In fact, we've got entire areas dedicated to eating outdoors. There's Lincoln Road and Ocean Drive on the beach. There's CocoWalk in the Grove. Brickell and Downtown both have a few en plein air options. And let's not forget about South Miami's Sunset Place sector.
This time around, we're counting down the best individual spots at which to dine outdoors. Some of our picks are places with phenomenal views from the sky, like the ever-impressive Juvia. Others are neighborhood favorites, like Greenstreet Cafe in Coconut Grove--always popular with the dog-walking crowd.
We've also got places that are perfect for a romantic evening out, places that specialize in making every meal as enchanting as possible. Among these is the exceptionally private Casa Tua, which doesn't even have a sign so there's never a chance of lost SoBe tourists stumbling in.
94th Aero Squadron
This aviation-themed restaurant is located right behind Miami International Airport and features unobstructed views of planes arriving and departing. Although it's technically a chain, it's nothing like going to a Chilis or a Dennys. Instead, it's more akin to a single-standing quality restaurant where you can find delicious brunches, delightful dinners, and even the occasional wedding or baby shower taking place. The 200-seat restaurant is perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and features mouth-watering menu items spanning casual and gourmet tastes. You'll find medallions of pork loin and grilled reubens, porcini mushroom ravioli and beer cheese soup all on the same menu. (305-261-4220)
Wynwood Kitchen & Bar
Encased in the Wynwood Walls, a grassy art park featuring 20-foot murals and collages, you'll find the painfully hip Wynwood Kitchen & Bar. Hosting pieces inside and out by world-renowned graffiti artists, this restaurant is lovingly hipster chic, yet shockingly homey. The menu is simplistic in description, offering everyday items like braised short rib, pan-seared snapper and pork tenderloin. There are no adjectives, nothing is described as succulent, decadent or even moist and tender. But what the menu lacks in poetics, it makes up for with some of the most complex tastes and just genuinely delicious dishes, expertly prepared and beautifully presented. (305-722-8959)
Located in Kimpton's Epic Hotel, this restaurant's setting affords skyline views of both Miami (to the north and west) and Biscayne Bay (to the east and south) that guests find truly breathtaking--that is, if they aren't too focused on the incredible cuisine. Executive Chef Wolfgang Birk gleans most of his seafare--items such as jumbo lump crab salad with spicy seared watermelon, heirloom tomato, avocado, mint and basil or yellowfin tuna with mixed grains, smoked black beans, shrimp guacamole and ginger juice--either locally or from the region of the ocean for which the restaurant is named, Area 31, one of the only self-sustaining spots that is said to be left in the ocean. Meat and pasta dishes are just as delicious and contain sustainable items from nearby farms and other trusted sources. So not only should you leave you leave your diet at home, but drop your guilt behind, too. (305-424-5234)
Start a day of business meetings or sightseeing by fueling up at this popular, buzzing cafe located in the bustling neighborhood of Coconut Grove. Whether you're grabbing a bagel, pastry or croissant to go or you're settling in to while away the morning with a full meal and the daily news, this is the perfect choice for locals and tourists alike. GreenStreet offers indoor seating but it's the outdoor tables that are always busiest, often with patrons who bring their furry friends to this dog-friendly establishment. On the weekends, the dining room is especially crowded with couples and families enjoying fresh coffee and plates brimming with omelets, pancakes and fruit-topped waffles. (305-444-0244)
Perricone's Marketplace & Cafe
This popular gathering place is a favorite among local professionals, who flock here for quick lunches and upscale dinners. The deli selection is particularly popular at midday, when tasty sandwiches composed of the finest meats and cheeses from around the world are offered. At dinnertime, it's a pleasure to linger in the screened-in dining room, which was constructed with parts of an old barn. The rustic, lived-in decor creates a pleasant atmosphere for enjoying Italian and American favorites like Caesar salad, ravioli, mahi mahi on a bed of fresh greens or eggplant Parmesan. Creamy gelato is a decadent finish. The menu features an impressive assortment of upscale Italian fare, including linguini with saut�ed jumbo shrimp and fresh asparagus. (305-374-9693)
Red Fish Grill
Located off the breathtakingly scenic Old Cutler Road, this classy-but-cozy restaurant is for many the ideal spot for a romantic seafood dinner. Red Fish's Old Florida interior pairs perfectly with the surrounding lush nature of Matheson Hammock Park and the sweeping views of Biscayne Bay. The stone exterior once harbored the beach's pavilion and is steps away from the park's pristine cove. Red Fish is well known for its exceptionally prepared seafood: pan fried red snapper, Caribbean bouillabase, steamed mussels--the list goes on. An impressive wine list and delectable desserts round off your experience here. With enchanting sunsets visible from your seat, it's no wonder this is a frequent venue for weddings. (305-668-8788)
Located in an Italian-style villa, this restaurant's distinguishable only by an open gate and diners seated at elegant outdoor tables. You won't find any signage outside and you might think you're walking into some millionaire's home on South Beach but you'll be greeted shortly by one of their amicable staff members. Start off with bay scallops topped with fresh herbs and olive oil or red wine-marinated beef carpaccio before progressing to an adventurous selection of pastas such as pumpkin and hazelnut ravioli or lobster and artichoke lasagna. Tantalizing main dish offerings include veal marinated in lime juice, seared beef tenderloin with foie gras, and scaloppine with wild mushrooms. After dinner, cleanse your palate with frozen champagne soup and fresh fruit salad. (305-673-1010)
La Mar by Gaston Acurio
La Mar by Gaston Acurio made the Mandarin Oriental its home in 2014, dazzling patrons with passionately prepared Peruvian food by their namesake global icon. A table on La Mar's deck frames Brickell's concrete landscape, its soothing bay waters reflecting the city's rising towers. The al fresco decor is minimal, with only a handful of over-sized umbrellas acting as sun shields. La Mar's serenity seeps inside as well; an open ceviche bar and vertical garden line the far walls, while teal chairs carry the eye to the bayside windows. Enjoy Peruvian-style sushi, lomo saltado, chaufa, tiraditos, and other Latin American favorites with a view that can't be beat. (305-913-8358)
Essensia Restaurant & Lounge
Situated inside The Palms Hotel and Spa on Miami Beach, this gourmet restaurant features New American cuisine in a laid back garden atmosphere. At Essensia, it's all about using fresh, seasonal, and local ingredients, often times straight from the chef's own organic garden hidden behind the hotel's Tiki Bar. With a clear slant toward wanting guests to enjoy not only a sustainable but also a health-conscious and earth-friendly meal, you can bet there are wonderful menu options for vegans and vegetarians as well as omnivores. And when it comes to drinks, you'll be pleased to find organic and biodynamic wines, eco-conscious cocktails, and many local craft beers on the list. A phenomenal Sunday brunch with an extensive menu featuring everything from BLTA Benedict and Blue Corn Chilaquiles to Vegan Chocolate Mousse is not to be missed. (3059085458)
Miami Beach's Juvia is a rooftop sparkler flaunting French, Japanese, and Peruvian inspired cuisine. Situated atop Lincoln Road's illustrious 1111 Garage, this James Beard Award winner for Outstanding Restaurant Design offers wondrous, unobstructed views of Miami Beach and Downtown Miami. Juvia's stylish, urban-meets-Eden polishings include a lavender and white color palette and Wonderland-worthy vertical garden. Wood flanks the walls and ceiling while marble tops mark the bar. A retractable roof allows for service year round, rain or shine. Prix fixe lunches are available, featuring an appetizer, main, and dessert, and are a perfect option for a first visit to this impressive culinary locale. (305-763-8272)
About Priscilla Blossom
Pris Blossom is a freelance writer and feminist mama with a love for travel, writing, music, film, craft beer, yoga, museums, cultural anthropology, and her awesome kid.
She spent the bulk of the past decade taking trips on a whim, falling in love with and in such places as New York City, New Orleans, and a large portion of Nicaragua.
In 2011, she took off on her own and traveled around the U.S. via bus, bunking with strangers thanks to the power of CouchSurfing. She is currently writing a novel about this.
Read her words at PrisBlossom.com.
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