In Food + Drink

Miami’s New Wave Of Fine Dining Experiences

Once upon a time, a trip to Miami was reserved for those after long beach days and long club nights. To put it simply, Miami wasn’t known for quality dining experiences. But all that’s changed in recent years.

While it’s natural to associate the city with Cuban fare (there’s plenty of that, and it’s delicious), there’s now more to Miami restaurants than you’d expect. The cultural hub has stepped up its culinary game, introducing a wave of new dining spots that feature assorted international cuisines and unconventional flavour combinations sure to satisfy even the most discerning diners.

Among them, here are six of the best Miami restaurants:


Lead by Chef Michael Lewis and General Manager Steven Haigh, Kyu is an eclectic Asian-fusion restaurant that mirrors the innovative culture of the suburb it sits within, artistic Wynwood.

A blending of Japanese flavours and wood-firing techniques produces a dining experience unlike most others with menu items including everything from smoked truffle ponzu to burrata. The venue received a head nod in the form of a James Beard Nomination for “Best New Restaurant” in 2017 and is popular with locals and travellers, alike.


Strike up a conversation about exceptional food in Miami, and there’s a good chance you’ll hear a reference to Alter at some point.

The Wynwood restaurant is fronted by Chef Bradley Kilgore – who was listed as one of Food & Wine Best New Chefs in 2016, and won a James Beard Nomination for Best Chef: South in 2018. Alter focuses on locally sourced produce, serving a seasonal menu that celebrates the flavours of Florida. The eatery promises a casual approach to high-end dining, and guests have the choice of a five-course meal, seven-course meal or Chef’s Tasting menu.


Though this isn’t quite fine dining, Taquiza, located in North Beach, South Beach and The Citadel food hall, is still worth a mention as it’s where you’ll find some of the most authentic Mexican food in the city.

All tortillas and chips are made in-house each morning using blue masa (or dough), and the result is some of the freshest food you’ll taste outside of Mexico or Central America.

The totopos – fluffy, hand-made blue-corn chips fried to order – are a must-try. Order a serving with a side of guacamole and salsa; the melt-in-your-mouth combination is something you won’t forget anytime soon.

Pubbelly Sushi

Also not technically fine dining, Pubbelly Sushi in South Beach also deserves a spot on this list. Helmed by Chef Jose – a five-time James Beard Nominee – it takes Asian, European and Latin flavours and creates an innovative and playful menu.

The ‘neighbourhood sushi tavern’ features items like tuna pizza, Korean bravas and miso black cod, along with a tempting cocktail menu that takes full advantage of the venue’s large bar.

Pubbelly is a reasonably-priced, but incredibly impressive, casual dining option for those who are interested in exploring unique dishes you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere.

Le Sirenuse

Located within the Four Seasons Hotel at the Surf Club, Le Sirenuse is Miami Beach’s answer to classic Italian cuisine. The menu draws from long-held southern Italian tradition, and authenticity is at the centre of the experience here.

At this fine dining restaurant, you won’t find quirky food pairings or tongue-in-cheek menu items. Instead, you’ll be treated to timeless Italian dishes (like Buffalo ricotta ravioli, or eggplant parmigiana) prepared with Miami’s finest produce.

An upscale restaurant flanked by ocean views and set within a luxury hotel – this is the perfect place for a special occasion.

La Mar By Gaston Acurio

miami restaurants

Image: La Mar By Gaston Acurio / supplied

Peruvian cuisine has been having a moment for a while now. The South American destination is home to some of the best restaurants in the world, and the rest of us are lining up to get a taste – including Miami.

Chef Gastón Acurio has brought authentic Peruvian to Miami’s waterfront, opening La Mar By Gaston Acurio within the Mandarin Oriental hotel. The restaurant serves 15 different varieties of speciality ceviche (or cebiche) made with everything from lobster to trout eggs, and their cocktail menu is laced with classic Peruvian tipples and modern experiments with pisco.

Sip pisco sours over a lengthy, late brunch or take in views of the water at dusk as you enjoy dinner on the terrace. It’s an experience worth travelling for.

(Lead image: Grouper at Alter / supplied) 

Published 31 July, 2019