Miami Beach might ring bells of boisterous pool parties and tourists wandering Ocean Drive in hopes of not getting ripped off to the untrained ear. However, the popular tourist destination also has hidden notes of Mediterranean extravagance, Brazilian-Japanese fusion, decadent grandmother-style pasta, and healthy organic eats. That’s one thing you can be sure of—where there’s a melting pot of culture, there’s definitely the fare to match. Check out our picks for the best restaurants in Miami Beach, to avoid diving into another subpar establishment. Who knows, you might even end up becoming a Miami Beach regular!
Casa Isola Osteria
Right along the Sunset Harbour, the well-known Pubbelly has a new edition from a not-so-new face. Chef Jose Mendin opened up his first Italian restaurant with the help of chef Santo Agnello, both of who have long stomped around the kitchens of this vetted neighborhood. The name actually reflects the homeliness of the establishment’s roots. The “casa” reflects the sentiment of housing in the old Pubbelly space, and Isola refers to the island Miami, Sicily (Santo’s roots), and Puerto Rico (Jose’s roots). Casa Isola strikes home for any who have dined at The Piefather, Lucali, or Pubbelly itself—it deserves some reverence.
When interviewed about the most exciting bits to come through Casa Isola, both chefs alluded to the pasta, and the menu supports their enthusiasm. One look and you understand the avenue in which true Italian cuisine cruises. Composed of only 5 distinct sections (minus the to-die-for out-of-this-world limited-by-day 8-hour Sunday Sauce), the menu items are transparent and straightforward. That being said, a distinct American Miamian touch has been mixed into the pot for a streamline marriage. The powerful delivery comes as ‘simplicity performed perfectly’, and these maestros are scientific in their lab.
Tucked away inside a gorgeous boutique hotel in Miami Beach, this upscale Italian favorite is perfect for romantic evenings and special occasion dinners. Savor creamy, refreshing burrata with organic tomatoes and fresh basil to start, then dig into the famous ricotta cavatelli pasta, flavorful beef tenderloin with seared foie gras and toasted hazelnuts, or succulent Taylor Bay scallops with Ligurian olive oil. And pair every delicious morsel with incredible wines that range from the best Chiantis to Super Tuscans.
Casa Tua is located at 1700 James Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139. To make a reservation, call (305) 673-1010.
Kosushi is a many-time Michelin star-rated world-renowned tailor of Brazil-based Japanese cuisine, located in the heart of South Pointe. Ingredients are handpicked by head chef George Koshoji who has extensive experience in multicultural Japanese cuisine, which highlights the focus of the eatery. Koshoji has honed his collective wisdom to bring South Beach an expertly refined exposure of Sao Paolo’s flavor. Any sushi foodie’s trip to Miami Beach must include at least the consideration of stopping by Kosushis—anything otherwise would be downright remorseful.
Nothing has been overlooked by the sushi masters here. A stunning atmosphere has played a big role in Kosushi’s brand since opening its doors in Sao Paolo, 1988, and still does to this day. The interior flaunts a huge and warming wooden structured dining room, designed by reputed Brazilian architect Arthur Casas. You can feel the presence of magicians at work when you approach the bar. The menu focuses on superb-quality seafood while remaining simple and elegant: Hamachi sashimi, shrimp tempura temaki, miso seabass skewers, and much more. There’s also a variety of cold and hot dishes, as well as dessert. Lastly, the beverage program has been prepared by reputed mixologist Marcio Silva, who has crafted some signature cocktails just for Miami Beach.
Kosushi is located at 801 South Pointe Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33139; (786) 647-7272; https://kosushimiami.com/; Open every day 6 p.m. – midnight.
Lilikoi Organic Living
If you’re all about healthy eating, don’t bother to think twice before considering Lilikoi for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Located near South Pointe Park, the name says it all; Lilikoi entreats only the finest and nutritious ingredients into their kitchen to be forged into toothsome fare. All components are locally and organically sourced, and the utmost effort to omit processed or modified organisms is applied. We are sure to say, the owners truly walk the talk. Conscience cleared.
The breakfast options are wholesome, keeping health-maxed varieties of all the classics: Sourdough pancakes, whole-wheat veggie bagels, kombucha fermented oatmeal. That kind of goodness. Lunch starts mid-day with just-as-worthy sammies, salads, wraps. From there, lunch melds seamlessly into dinner, with dishes like Vegan Carbonara (mahogany smoked coconut “bacon” w/caramelized onions & cashew cream) and Mushroom Farro Risotto (mushroom, pesto & goat cheese), to name a few. The juices and smoothies are off the charts, and there’s a truckload of potential add-ons for any who want to push it to the next level.
If you hit the beach for a fit day, or if you just roll like that, show both your body and the folks at Lilikoi some love. The modifications are conscientious. The food is alive. The kombucha is on tap. What more could a beating heart need?
Lilikoi Organic Living is located at 500 South Pointe Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33139; (305) 763-8692; https://lilikoiorganicliving.com/; Open every day 8 a.m. – 7p.m.
The Lobster Shack
Surf’s (and turf’s) up at the Lobster Shack, a local favorite situated in South Pointe right off the coastline. It’s some of the freshest and most affordable seafood South Beach has to offer. Not to mention, they’ve got two locations along the sandy strip, doubling the chances of you enjoying the flavorful fun.
Not only does the Shack add a delectable touch for enthusiasts enjoying the Miami strip, it also adds just as much history. The family responsible for bringing these one-of-a-kind lobster rolls south of Fifth have been in the seafood business since 1921. The recipes passed down from Grandaddy Gus survived the generations and landed (most appropriately) on the seaside. It has since evolved into 2 locally renowned and family-owned crustaceous capitols—CJ’s Crab Shack + The Lobster Shack.
The Shack is a cheery spot to bring friends and family. They’ve got a loaded menu, filled with soups n’ salads, tacos, entrees, a raw bar, and of course, the legendary rolls! They’ve also a load of drink specials, so you can sip for the low when the time is right. Oh, and by the way, if you’re too tanned to leave the sand, no worries—The Lobster Shack delivers to hungry beach chairs on the Pointe. Talk about being pampered.
Lincoln Road Location is located at 613 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach FL 33139; (305) 397-8032; https://www.lobstershackmiami.com/; Open every day, noon-midnight.
South Pointe Location is located at 40 South Pointe Drive, Miami Beach FL 33139; (305) 763-8230, https://www.lobstershackmiami.com/; Open every day, noon-midnight.
LT Steak & Seafood
Whether you’re dropping by for lunch or dinner, this Miami Beach restaurant at The Betsy Hotel delivers on delicious. Dinner is probably the most popular time to dine; the house bread is mouthwateringly good and the entrees never fail to hit the spot. Order the Boucher Burger if you want something hearty and fuss-free—it won the 2019 Burger Bash Judges’ Choice competition. Or opt for the Mafaldine pasta if you’re craving some carbs. For dessert, it’s all about the blueberry cobbler—each slice is as light and airy as a summer’s day.
LT Steak & Seafood is located at 1440 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33139. To make a reservation, call (305) 673-0044.
This beloved award-winning restaurant by Chef Paul Qui blends Asian cuisine with a range of eclectic global influences. You’ll find a little bit of everything here, including bold flavors from Spain, the Philippines, Japan, France, and beyond. Some fan-favorite dishes include the crispy octopus, served with caramelized miso eggplant, smoked golden raisin, and pine nuts, the fried chicken, paired with sweet chili sauce and roasted banana ketchup, and the wagyu short rib asado, smoked for 72 hours and prepared with atchara and Japanese sweet potato puree.
Pao is located at 3201 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139. To make a reservation, call (786) 655-5600.
RED South Beach
Featured in a slew of respected publications, including Esquire, Food & Wine Magazine, and more, this swanky Miami Beach hotspot is beloved by the celebrities and South Florida’s movers and shakers. No matter what you order off the menu, you’re sure to fall in love with the chef’s impeccable creations. Start with something from the raw bar, like oysters paired with champagne or a Maine lobster cocktail served with citrus vinaigrette, then feast on one of the restaurant’s legendary cuts of meat, like tender filet mignon or a prime porterhouse. Finish your meal with something sumptuous from the dessert list, like a molten chocolate cake, a classic creme brulee, or Red’s famous Fresh-N-Hot doughnut holes.
RED South Beach is located at 801 South Pointe Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139. To make a reservation, call (305) 534-3688.
Helmed by Chef Jeremy Ford, this Miami Beach mainstay serves up fresh and creative fare made from seasonal, often locally sourced ingredients. You can dine on tasty homemade potato rolls with fennel pollen and garbanzo chili dip, succulent scallops with coconut chili emulsion, baby spinach and sunchokes, and prime Wagyu beef cheek paired with crispy charred maitakes. If you’re a sweets lover, don’t miss the decadent snickerdoodle cookies, baked fresh in house and served warm straight from the oven.
Stubborn Seed is located at 101 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139. To make a reservation, call (786) 322-5211.
The Bazaar by Jose Andres
This famous spot at the SLS South Beach spotlights Latin American and Caribbean flavors, blended perfectly to highlight Miami Beach’s laid-back, coastal atmosphere. To start, it doesn’t get better than the bao con lechon, an Asian-inspired twist on the Latin classic served in a Chinese steamed bun, while the colada Cubana—coffee with foie gras—is as delicious as it is unique. If you crave seafood, opt for the conch fritters “Cafe Atlantico,” and if you’re a meat lover, order the Cuban coffee-rubbed churrasco.
The Bazaar by Jose Andres is located at 1701 Collins Avenue #100, Miami Beach, FL 33139. To make a reservation, call (305) 455-2999.
Villa Azur rewrites South Beach’s uncurbed allure in bold, cursive italics, guided by quill feather and inkwell. The chic French-Mediterranean restaurant offers an escape to plush sofa seating and ornate fineries—away from what you’d expect out of Miami Beach. It was designed to emulate European elegance: a French Villa. It falls short at no measure. The atmosphere is somehow both intimately romantic and impelling of a blithe danceathon. Here lies a masterful compellation of “contradiction with traditions”—its lavish is not one to be missed.
The menu at Villa Azur keeps in line with its philosophy of inviting avant-guarde to convention. The variety is fulfilling, as is the flavor and presentation. Some examples of new Mediterranean you’ll find there are: Olive Oil Poached Artichoke Hearts (arugula, parmesan frito, mustard vinaigrette) Pâtes a la Meule (cognac flamed pasta served with mushroom sauce in a parmesan wheel) or Whole Branzino (lemon-crowned, served with roasted tomatoes and prepared table-side). There is also a grand selection of side dishes and tasty desserts. Plus, the Villa boasts a healthy stowage of beverages, both alcoholic and virgin. Ask one of the delightful staff there for a wine pairing with your meal.
With all of this present, Villa Azur still harmonizes with the “party-people” scene Miami Beach is known for. There is a constant musical collaboration with talented artists and expansive booths for which to enjoy the good vibes.
Villa Azur is located at 309 23rd Street, Miami Beach, FL 33139. For more information, visit their official website.