The Best Restaurants in Miami

Get traditional French food, pristine ceviche, and a textbook-perfect Cuban sandwich.

23 min read
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In Miami, we’re not on our way to becoming a culinary destination — we’re already there. As someone who was born and raised here, I’ve seen this city’s food scene grow. Today more than ever, it reflects the international flair of its inhabitants; you can find umami-loaded dishes central to Nikkei (Japanese Peruvian) food, finger-licking barbecue just as good as at any Southern joint, traditional and modern takes on Cuban dishes, and more. In fact, you could order from a new restaurant every day and barely make a dent on your must-try list. That’s why I’ve compiled a shortlist of the best Miami restaurants (that also happen to be on DoorDash). Here’s where I’m ordering from right now.

Le Zoo


This Bal Harbour bistro mashes up sunny Parisian vibes with the Florida riviera. You’ll find comforting French classics like onion soup gratinée, buttery escargot, moules frites, and foie gras alongside Mediterranean-leaning dishes, such as a bright grilled branzino or thin crust pizza crowned with sweet Italian sausage. Don’t miss out on the crowd favorite Burger Américain: a double patty dripping with American cheese and topped with sliced onions and pickles. It comes with pommes frites that stay crispy even on the way to your place.



Some deem this Bal Harbour classic the best Japanese restaurant in town. It’s easy to understand why. Makoto receives fish from Tokyo three times a week, which are then artfully sliced and served as Nikkei-inspired ceviches and crudo, grilled on the robata, or rolled into  sushi. Word to wise: Double up on the spicy tuna crispy rice — it’s so good you won’t want to share.



This is primarily a north Indian restaurant, which means you can devour classic tikka masala and malai kofta (fried balls of potato and paneer cheese) along with spicy Indo Chinese options, like tangy chili paneer and crispy gobi manchurian (deep fried cauliflower). You can still get your fix of puffed naans and parathas stuffed with cheese, spiced lamb, and even mixed nuts, all baked in a traditional tandoori clay oven.



If Southern brunch with a twist sounds appealing, try out this Little River neighborhood spot. Dig into Calabrian-oil-topped fried chicken (among the best in town), creamy fish and grits, deviled eggs, and smoked salmon dip. The lemon ricotta pancakes are a can’t-miss menu item. The food here strikes the balance between familiar and unexpected — and has earned the restaurant Michelin Bib Gourmand status.

Sanguich De Miami


This Little Havana sandwich shop didn’t reinvent the Cuban, but it proves why it’s a hall of fame sandwich. To start, the pork is marinated in mojo, a savory sauce of garlic and spices, then layered on housemade Cuban bread and topped with thick slices of ham, pickles, and mild Swiss cheese. But don’t stop there. Go all out with pork-topped Cuban nachos made with plantain chips, creamy batido de mantecado, and Cuban shortbread cookies. And here’s a treat for those who live along Biscayne: Sanguich de Miami just opened a sandwich window in Little Haiti.

Naomi's Garden


This Little Haiti staple has been doling out heaping plates of Haitian and Caribbean food since 1998, and it’s still going strong. Ask any local, and you’ll hear the same hits: curry chicken, goat stew, and fried snapper, each served with a generous portion of mayi kole (stewed cornmeal and beans) and of course spicy pikliz. Naomi’s Garden also serves hearty vegan dishes, like jerk jackfruit and chickpea stew. Fun fact: It actually started out as a vegetarian food truck in the ’70’s!



Carbone might snag most of the headlines within the Major Food Group family, but it’s Contessa that locals return to again and again. This Design District restaurant reimagines Italian classics with fresh techniques and ingredients, like the spicy lobster capellini tossed with hunks of fresh lobster meat in a refreshingly light tomato sauce.

Uptown 66


The secret is out: The best birria tacos in town hail from this Upper East Side corner shop. Adobo-marinated pork is folded into deep fried tortillas, which are then meant to be dipped into a small bowl of savory bone broth. You’ll end up dribbling all over yourself — and you won’t care. The birria tacos will probably fill you up, but if you still have space, choose from Uptown 66’s curated menu with hits like tangy pollo asado and smoky oxtail barbacoa tacos. For plant-based eaters, there is a delightful wild mushroom taco topped with sweet caramelized pear.

El Bagel


A good bagel doesn’t need New York water. A loosie (or a single bagel) with scallion cream cheese from this Upper East Side “bageleria” proves it. There’s always a wait at this spot (as well as its Coconut Grove outpost with sit-down service). But that’s no longer a worry for you (thank you, delivery!). Highlights include the BEC with thickly cut bacon, eggs, and cheese, and the locally smoked lox supreme. Add on a Great Circle Coffee cold brew for breakfast perfection any time of day.

Fratelli Milano


Everything at this family-owned and operated Downtown Miami classic is prepared in-house: pasta, pastries, pizzas, breads. It’s the only way chefs (and brothers) Roberto and Emanuele Bearzi can guarantee the flavors mirror what they grew up with in northern Italy. You can see that in the filetto al gorgonzola, a stack of two filet mignon cuts topped with creamy gorgonzola sauce, and the fiocchi di pera, pasta stuffed with pear and taleggio then finished in a butter sage sauce.

Chug's Diner


Cuban diners are a dime a dozen in Miami, but owner and Michelin-starred chef Michael Beltran brought them into the modern age with this Coconut Grove spot. Where else in town could you get a mojo-tinged lechon hash, or a constantly rotating selection of pastelitos filled with things like chicken and Doritos ranch crumbs or Mongolian beef? Here, croquetas go beyond the traditional ham or codfish (short rib or duck, anyone?) and the frita patty melt, made with pressed Cuban chorizo and a sauce that switches up every month, is something not to be missed. End your diner meal with the cast-iron pancake drenched in clarified butter. Oh and city dwellers, Chug’s now has an express counter in Downtown, where you can order pastelitos, sandwiches and bowls.

B-Side by Itamae


You can’t talk about Miami’s status as a culinary capital without mentioning the Chang family and their three forward-thinking Peruvian restaurants: Itamae, Maty’s, and this Wynwood sushi spot. Fernando, affectionately known as Papa Chang, oversees one of the best sushi counters in all of South Florida. He and his team excel in both classics, like salmon and spicy tuna rolls made with pristine fish, as well as more Latin-focused rolls. Order the Tigre stuffed with plantains and finished with piquillo peppers and crispy onion, or Her Loss topped with salmon tartare, spicy serrano, and tangy yuzu mayo.

Coyo Taco


A lot of taquerias stake their claim on the tortilla. But the thing that sets this mini taco chain apart, with locations from Wynwood to Coral Gables, is what’s inside that tortilla. The proteins go well beyond al pastor and carne asada — though those are delicious too. Order the  Michoacan–style duck confit or cochinita pibil, with sweet and earthy shredded pork. Enjoy them in burritos, quesadillas, tortas, salads, or in tacos (the tortillas are made by hand onsite).

Zak the Baker


There is no better way to start the day than with goods from this kosher bakery in Wynwood. Go sweet with Zak’s challah French toast or savory with a creamy tuna melt. All dishes are made with local and peak-season ingredients, and most feature what Zak is known for: the bread. There are sourdough baguettes made with lemon zest, olives, and zaatar and Jewish rye sourdough loaves made with onions seeds and cornmeal, and even sweet versions like sourdough with cranberries and walnuts. The pastries, too, are among the best in the city — try the almond croissant with a perfectly snowy layer of powdered sugar or venture toward more experimental offerings, like a danish topped with pickled mushrooms.



This upscale international chain restaurant has found a perfect home in the heart of Brickell, where the power-lunch crowd and discerning appreciators of northern Chinese cuisine can get their fix of mouth-numbing Sanchen spiced chili chicken or the restaurant’s signature crispy soft-shell crab. No meal here is complete without a sampler of dumplings, which includes black truffle and prawn, wild mushroom and spinach, and crispy pork. But what keeps people coming back is the whole duck. It’s lit on fire, which results in a sweet, crispy skin that encases juicy slices of meat, and perfect with pillowy bao.


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For over 10 years, chefs (and husband and wife duo) Franco and Ashley Stanzione have been slinging out Neapolitan-style pizzas out of this small Brickell shop. They’ve perfected the classics (see: a universally adored Margherita) as well as less traditional pies (see: ones topped with black truffle puree or pistachio pesto). Through Stanzione’s grocery, you can also purchase from the small but mighty selection of Italian ingredients, frozen pizzas, condiments, and natural wines.



Even the most meat-obsessed diners can’t get enough of this South of Fifth restaurant, which brings plant-based eating to fine-dining levels. The veggie burger is the best in the city, with a delicious patty made of lentils, mushrooms, and chickpeas. The sushi is so good, it might trick you into believing it’s the real thing; the tempura broccoli mimics crispy shrimp in the Dragon roll; and the spicy tuna is actually ahi watermelon. You can’t say you’ve ordered from here without slurping up the restaurant’s rich udon with truffle cream and the bang bang broccoli, a mouth-numbingly spicy take on bang bang shrimp. The broccoli is so popular that it has its own merch.

Joe's Stone Crab Take Away


It’s no surprise to see this South Beach spot on this best-of list. Joe’s has been serving hungry beachgoers since 1913, before South Beach was founded, and is best known for its namesake dish: fresh stone crabs. In fact, Joe’s is credited with inventing the delicacy in the 1920s when a burlap sack of crabs arrived at founder Joe Weiss’s front door and he started experimenting. Not much has changed in Joe’s stone crab preparation: first they’re boiled, then they’re chilled, and finally they’re cracked. The same goes for the menu, ensuring that visitors can try — and locals can return for — the much beloved stone crab bisque, perfectly crispy fried chicken (the best not-so-secret value meal in town), and garlicky creamed spinach.



This casual restaurant in Miami Beach specializes in affordable and delicious Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine. Safron serves superlative kebab, and DoorDash diners agree: Both the chicken kebab and sandwich are perfectly tender and seasoned. As for the gyro, a vertical spit of marinated beef and lamb spins for hours until its supple roasted meats are sliced off, grilled, and minced with a blend of cumin, peppers, and other herbs. It all makes for doner so delicious you might opt for a little less tzatziki. (Or not; you do you.) Bonus: Safron is open until 2 a.m.

Casa Isola


At this South Beach osteria, five-time James Beard award-nominated chef José Mendin experiments with two cuisines: the Japanese dishes he’s known for at PB Sushi and Pubbelly, and his own take on Italian classics. This thoughtful melding shines in dishes like udon carbonara — the bouncy noodles work well in the pecorino- and pancetta-powered pasta — and the Wagyu carpaccio “milanesa” seasoned with a soy-truffle sauce and flaky bread crumbs. But the real stars of Casa Isola are the Italian-American classics that the restaurant first opened with — namely the spicy rigatoni alla vodka. Some say it’s the best in town.

Cafe La Trova


The arroz con pollo from this hotspot in Little Havana is the stuff of dreams. It’s also the stuff of Michelle Bernstein’s childhood, as the recipe was passed down by the lauded chef’s mother. The rice is textured and flavored with plenty of sazón and saffron, and the chicken is so tender you’ll wonder if it had been cooking for days. It’s a must-order. Round out your meal with the clever Cuban sandwich empanadas and lechon sliders, or splurge on the chupe de mariscos, a variety of prawns, clams, mussels, lobster, and whatever was caught off of Florida’s shores.



With 14 locations all around Miami, including the fast-casual and more health-focused Sergio’s (GO), locals can always get their fix of vaca frita (fried and shredded steak), pan con bistec (fried steak sandwich), and a classic Cuban breakfast (scrambled eggs, bacon, and a buttered tostada). The local chain is run by a family of third-generation Cubans, and while they do a fantastic job at nailing recognizable favorites, you’ll find some equally comforting new additions, like Cuban fried rice and tostones loaded up like nachos with shredded pork, guacamole, and a creamy cilantro sauce. The restaurant’s claim to fame, though, are its croquetas — specifically the size of them. Sergio’s holds the record for the largest croqueta ever minced, breaded, and fried.

Fritanga Caña Brava


Fritangas are an integral part of Nicaraguan culture, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Whether they’re roadside grills or no-frill restaurants, fritangas are known for homestyle cooking, and this one whips up generous portions of all the classics. Carne asada and cerdo asado with heaping mountains of gallo pinto rice; tajada (fried green plantains) with blocks of fried cheese; and quesillo, corn tortillas stuffed with cheese and a symphony of Nicaraguan sauces. Don’t get us started on the long list of juices using tropical ingredients, like passion fruit and nance (similar to cherries). You may need to make a daily order to try them all.

Jacalito Taqueria Mexicana


Those who say you have to drive to Homestead to get legit tacos haven’t been to Jacalito. With two locations, Little Havana and Edgewater, this casual Mexican joint is the place for puffy sopes slathered with refried beans, steak with cotija, chicken flautas, and street-style tacos. The tacos are simple but solid with zero excess, just filled with a generous helping of perfectly seasoned meat topped with cilantro, chopped onions, and salsa spicy enough to make your tongue tingle. This is a rarity around these parts, where taco shops sometimes feel they’re trying too hard.

Bombay Darbar


When people talk about Indian food in Miami, they’re probably talking about this Coconut Grove staple. For 12 years, it’s been serving up flavorful renditions of north Indian classics like chicken tikka masala; the signature lamb chop masala baked in a tandoor; and tandoori chicken wings, a clever and delicious take on an American bar favorite. The wings are tender and flavorful, thanks to a spicy yogurt marinade.

Hometown Barbecue


For a long time, Miami lacked a solid barbecue joint. Then pitmaster Billy Durney took over an old produce fulfillment center in Allapattah and began smoking brisket and slicing spare ribs. He’s given Miami a taste of Hometown Barbecue, a beloved Texas-style barbecue spot in Brooklyn, and we’re not looking back. You can get that juicy, flavorful meat by the half pound, tucked into sandwiches, or wrapped up in tacos. Do not skimp on the sides, especially the delightfully crumbly cornbread with a sweet honey butter, brisket queso, or smoked wings tossed in mole dust.

Zitz Sum


Fusion restaurants can get a bad rap for trying too hard and delivering nothing. Then you sink your teeth into a bao stuffed with braised Wagyu oxtail or slurp chicken-and-foie-gras wontons en brodo, and you realize there can actually be good fusion food. This is all thanks to Pablo Zitzmann, the chef and owner of Zitz Sum. He pulls from Chinese, Japanese, Italian, and Latin American ingredients and techniques to create inventive and delicious dishes unlike anywhere else. The menu is always changing, which makes it a place you should reorder from again and again.


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Wherever you are in Miami, it’s a comfort knowing that this mini raw fish chain, with locations from South Beach to Coral Gables, is just a tap away. This cevicheria transforms pristine seafood into some of the freshest ceviche, tiraditos (spicy Peruvian-style sashimi), causas (mashed potatoes filled with protein), and other raw fish specialties. CVI.CHE 105 is also known for traditional Peruvian dishes like meaty lomo saltado; ají de gallina, or shredded chicken in a creamy, spicy peppery sauce; and savory chaufas, Peru’s version of fried rice.

Doce Provisions


Part Cuban, part American, this gastropub in Little Havana with additional locations in Brickell and Doral seamlessly links together dishes from all over North America. Think shrimp po’ boy tacos à la New Orleans, disco truffle fries with short rib gravy via Canada, and a crispy fried chicken by way of the American South. But the standouts are Doce Provisions’s takes on Cuban fare: beer-braised arroz “imperial” with queso fresco and a mojo mayonnaise, masa de puerco over fried rice, bao stuffed with lechon asado and seasoned with sour orange-achiote, and the famed chorizo-stuffed croquetas.

La Fresa Francesa


There’s no better way to start a meal than with this Hialeah gem’s six-hour caramelized French onion soup, which arrives piping hot and covered in a thick layer of Cantalet cheese. Get the cassoulet, rich with duck confit and pork belly, or the gooey croque madame dripping in bechamel. But perhaps what makes La Fresa such a hit is how the menu reflects the neighborhood’s Cuban population in inspired dishes like a foie gras pastelito with a dollop of guava jam.