Even in Florida's notorious summer heat, dining al fresco has never been cooler (or more socially distanced). From sweeping rooftop views to jungle-themed patios and terraces, here are the best spots to safely share a meal, sip a cocktail, and still remain at least six feet away from your fellow patrons.
Astra2121 NW Second Ave., Miami
Are you in some far off Mediterranean city, or...Wynwood? The owners of Astra will bet you won't know the difference thanks to their garden-themed patio terrace decked out with a Mykonos vibe. Here you can groove to the DJs while noshing on an ocean-inspired menu that highlights dishes like grilled octopus carpaccio, ceviche, and seafood risotto while sipping signature cocktails and boozy Greek specialties like mastika and ouzo. Sure, it would be great to get away to Greece, but Astra's 10,000-square-foot space complete with lushly planted walls, AstroTurf flooring, and wood-thatched seating area illuminated by whimsical wicker lamps do a pretty good job.
Bakan2801 NW Second Ave., Miami
Take a trip to Mexico by way of Wynwood every time you visit Bakan. Here, a resort-style ambiance has elevated the typical outdoor dining experience. The restaurant's cacti-lined outdoor bar and terrace have been artfully decorated with inverted wood-pyramid canopies and illuminated brown and green hanging basket to transport you straight to the streets of Tulum. By day, the shaded area provides an open-air experience, while soft lighting makes for a dreamy escape by night. Sit back and sip a variety of colorful cocktails and equally vibrant fare — say, the Tulum Vive (made with mezcal, triple sec, lime juice, and house-made cucumber syrup) and the Vuelve a la Vida ( a blend of shrimp, calamari, octopus, scallops, avocado, guajillo and ancho chile, and avocado doused in a citrusy blend of lemon and orange).
Jaguar3067 Grand Ave., Coconut Grove
Jaguar's terrace, better known as the "outdoor habitat," is quickly becoming the perfect spot for lunch, an after-work happy hour, romantic date night, ladies' night, dinner, or Sunday brunch. The restaurant's chef, Oscar del Rivero, has revamped the space into a mini-jungle so guests can soak up the views along with a cocktail or three. The entire outdoor patio has been decorated with dozens of flowering plants from nearby Kreative Garden, transporting diners to a veritable Jaguar habitat in the heart of Coconut Grove. The "Hora Jaguar" happy hour is offered Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m., when you can pair the menu's Latin American-inspired cuisine with $4 beers, and $5 glasses of wine as well as a wide selection of small bites for $5 apiece. If you’re feeling extra thirsty, full pitchers of sangria are half-price during happy hour at $30 each, or $17 for a half-pitcher.
La Mar by Gastón Acurio500 Brickell Key Dr., Miami
The Mandarin Oriental's signature waterfront restaurant drips outdoor atmosphere with its prime setting overlooking Biscayne Bay and the Miami skyline. It's the perfect backdrop for the restaurant's signature ceviches, freshly grilled anticuchos, and specialty cocktails. Offering a mix of spacious indoor and outdoor seating along with three bars, each providing distinctive culinary experiences, the menu ranges from upscale novo-Andean fare to Asian-Peruvian fusion and traditional seafood ceviche. What more could your socially distanced heart desire?
Macchialina820 Alton Rd., Miami Beach
For anyone who has visited, Macchialina is that intimate, dimly lit Italian spot on Alton Road that’s just about always packed. This is why the restaurant recently reopened with a new outdoor dining room to make way for plenty of very-well-spaced socially distant noshing. The new experience is thanks to a covered outdoor patio the owners have affectionately dubbed il giardino, or "the garden."
Monty's Raw Bar2550 S. Bayshore Dr., Coconut Grove
Since 1969, Monty's Raw Bar's iconic location hasn't just served up the food and the views — it has also served as the backdrop for TV series, music videos, and movies, including Miami Vice, Burn Notice, and Marley & Me. These days, the waterfront-tiki-hut setting allows you to forget about life for a while as you soak up the bay air and enjoy a meal with friends and family. Since reopening in June, the restaurant has rearranged its outdoor deck to allow for safe distancing. Visitors can also avail themselves of Monty's new high-top tables equipped with umbrellas, which extend onto the boardwalk. That makes now the perfect time to indulge in Monty's infamous Pain Remover cocktail; a pitcher sells for $45 and pours up to a dozen drinks (depending on the strength you order).
Phuc Yea7100 Biscayne Blvd., Miami
No one can turn down an evening on Phuc Yea's eclectic front porch patio. The lantern-lit dining area allows everyone to dine out with a view, and the lush foliage pairs nicely with the menu's Vietnamese-Cajun-style cuisine created by chef Cesar Zapata and co-owner Aniece Meinhold. Enjoy weekly specials like $1 oysters (served daily from 5 to 7 p.m. and all day Sunday); Pho Wednesday, when $25 nets you a three-course menu; and a new fried-chicken special every Thursday. (Promotions are for dine-in only.)
Redfish by Chef Adrianne9610 Old Cutler Rd., Miami
Redfish Grill in Matheson Hammock Park is known far and wide for its breathtaking location. This is where you come to celebrate those extra special date nights, anniversaries, birthday milestones,...and now, just getting out of the house. The waterfront property is no stranger to closures; it was shuttered after hurricane damage in 2017 but reopened recently under the vision of chef Adrianne Calvo, who transformed the restaurant to offer her creative dishes like Beaujolais poached pear salad made with arugula, goat cheese, crisped prosciutto, and pistachio; ahi tuna sashimi with crisped shaved Brussels sprouts and pear, topped with ponzu aioli, soy, and truffle; and herb-stuffed branzino flavored with lemon and garlic.
Villa Azur Restaurant & Lounge309 23rd St., Miami Beach
Villa Azur's outdoor dining area is more like an outdoor dinner party thanks to its chic setup. A South of France-inspired culinary and entertainment destination, it boasts a magical open-air courtyard where patrons can dine under the stars in style. Plush couches and luxury lounges combine with white-tablecloth service to make you feel as if you're dining on a Mediterranean terrace. The menu changes each month. Right right it now features dishes like braised carrots in an orange reduction, grated pistachio, and goat cheese fondue; shrimp ceviche with a roasted tomato sauce, cilantro and smoked popcorn; and classic wild mushroom risotto. Pair your meal with a custom-crafted cocktail, then top it all off with a sweet treat like the tart trio or the arroz con leche foam.
Vista5020 NE Second Ave., Miami
If it's atmosphere you crave with your decadent bowl of fiocchi pasta stuffed with pear and Taleggio cheese dressed in a creamy butter sage sauce, then look no further than Vista. The brainchild of husband-and-wife team Fiorella Blanco and Milan-born chef Roberto Bearzi, it's a restaurant that is a feast for both the eyes and appetite. Their two-story space, located in Miami’s burgeoning neighborhood in Upper Buena Vista, offers a unique fusion of culture and cuisine with its Italian and globally inspired cuisine. Enjoy it while seated on tufted cushions amid low-hanging plants on their sprawling outdoor patio. If you're looking for extra enchantment, request a seat beneath the wooden pergola illuminated by twinkling lights.