Since you’re bound to need sustenance between Art Basel and all of the other fairs and exhibitions happening in Miami, we’ve put together a list of the city’s best spots to grab a refreshing cocktail and a tasty bite to eat.
The Surf Club Restaurant
For Michelin-starred chef Thomas Keller’s first Florida venture, he welcomes visitors to The Surf Club Restaurant, which shines with elegance. Guests are first greeted to a calm setting awash in coral, blue, and dark wood finishes. With at-ease opulence and a bon vivant spirit, the atmosphere celebrates hot spots from the 1950s and ’60s, with a jet-set twist. The space is further complemented with an outstanding menu filled with meticulous cuisine standards.
- Explore the post-Prohibition cocktail list, featuring classics like the Vesper and the Aviation.
- Thumb through the establishment’s expansive global wine list.
- Share favorite house dishes, such as the Maine Lobster Thermidor and the Maryland Jumbo Lump
Whitewaller recommends: Indulging in the New York Strip Steak and Classic Caesar Salad.
Azabu Miami Beach South Beach
This year, Michelin-starred Sushi Azabu New York also opened a restaurant in Miami. The Japanese experience boasts various concepts, including a full-service dining room, a hidden 16-seat sushi bar counter named The Den, and a classic cocktail bar showcasing imported whiskies and sakes called Bar Azabu.
Whitewaller recommends: Ordering the Yakimeshi.
Spearheaded by James Beard Foundation Award–winning Chef Paul Qui for the Faena Hotel Miami Beach, Pao features a culinary concept full of unique, globally inspired Asian dishes. The international styles of influence include Filipino, Spanish, Japanese, and French—all with varying cooking techniques that electrify the palate.
Whitewaller recommends: Ordering the Chef’s Choice Tasting Menu.
Villa Azur South Beach
Villa Azur is first an epicurean experience. Its signature dishes derive from fresh ingredients and flavors of the South of France, reinterpreted with an Italian twist. The establishment offers innovative menu items and an intimate and romantic environment, perfect for dining and dancing in an ambience second to none.
Whitewaller recommends: Ordering the Truffle French Ravioles and the Black Cod Fish.
Nobu Miami Mid-Beach
Nobu Miami, with a dining room seating 193 guests, is a global destination. Like its sister locations, the restaurant serves fresh Japanese-Peruvian dishes by Chef Nobu Matsuhisa. With David Rockwell at its architectural helm, the restaurant is a stunning offering for Miami Beach’s lively, elegant clientele.
Whitewaller recommends: Starting with the acclaimed Black Cod with Miso.
Stubborn Seed South Beach
Stubborn Seed, led by Top Chef–winner Jeremy Ford and designed by New York–based Celano Design Studio, opened last year with a nod to Miami Beach’s Art Deco architecture. The restaurant plays with textures and flavors for a rotating menu of specialties with natural, seasonal ingredients. Guests are more than encouraged to share plates and order dessert.
Whitewaller recommends: Stopping by for “Bad Ass” brunch on Sunday.
Stiltsville Fish Bar South Beach
Culinary duo Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth’s Stiltsville Fish Bar opened in Sunset Harbour as an ode to McInnis’s childhood in the Panhandle. With their enthusiasm for water activities like fishing and boating, the pair’s love of seafood—now prepared with modern techniques and presented alongside Key West–style drinks—triumphed.
Whitewaller recommends: Enjoying the Smoked Fish Dip.
Joe’s Stone Crab South Beach
In 1913, Joe Weiss opened Joe’s Stone Crab to serve Miami Beach before the seaside location was established as a city in 1915. Now, 105 years later, the restaurant continues its dedication to food, family, and friends—and its favored Stone Crab dish.
Whitewaller recommends: Stopping in to Joe’s Take Away for the bistro tables and wine bar.
Cecconi’s serves dishes from Italy using the finest ingredients and has dining destinations in London, Berlin, Barcelona, West Hollywood, New York, and Istanbul, too. Its modern, Venetian-inspired food is simply prepared and critically acclaimed. Its menu offers handmade pastas, fresh seafood, and delectable desserts. Enjoy a beautiful garden setting, snugly set on the ground floor of Soho Beach House.
Whitewaller recommends: Trying the refreshing Banana Swizzle.
Beaker & Gray Wynwood
Beaker & Gray opened to offer an inventive and globally inspired menu of cuisine and cocktails. Conceptualized by co-owner and chef Brian Nasajon and co-owner and bar manager Ben Potts, the restaurant is a 120-seat spot named after two elemental culinary tools—the beaker and the Gray Kunz spoon.
Whitewaller recommends: Trusting the bartender to make you something not on the menu.
Gianni’s South Beach
Located at The Villa Casa Casuarina, the former Versace Mansion, Gianni’s offers delicious Mediterranean food and wine. In its historic setting, guests can enjoy a memorable experience heightened by world-class personal service and modern dishes by Le Cordon Bleu graduate Chef Thomas Stewart.
Whitewaller recommends: Sharing caviar by Petrossian.
Elcielo Miami, sister restaurant to the two famed Elcielo locations in Colombia, offers modern cuisine curated by Chef Juan Manuel Barrientos and presented in an elegant riverfront space. The restaurant gains inspiration its Latin American roots, with Chef Juan employing molecular and innovative techniques in his three tasting menus—The Visit, The Journey, and The Experience.
Whitewaller recommends: Ordering the Tree of Life.
MR CHOW South Beach
Inside the W South Beach, MR CHOW features indoor seating, an interior bar, a lounge, and an outside dining patio. The restaurant, serving Beijing cuisine, is centered around a unique 123-foot gold Swarovski crystal chandelier designed by Mr. Michael Chow himself.
Whitewaller recommends: Ordering the Semi Prix Fixe.