Best of Miami

The Ten Best Restaurants in Miami's Design District

L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon's dining room
L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon's dining room L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon photo
The Design District is a shopping mecca where tourists and locals alike can purchase everything from bananas at Target to diamonds at Tiffany. The adjoining neighborhoods have become much more than places to fill your condo and empty your wallet. There's public art, a live concert series, and fitness studios. With all of those activities, you're going to work up an appetite. Here are the ten best places to sate your hunger.
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Contessa explores the food of Northern Italy.
Major Food Group photo

Contessa

111 NE 41st St., Miami
contessaristorante.com
Major Food Group, the restaurant group behind the red-sauce Italian restaurant, Carbone, channels another part of Italy's culinary at Contessa. This time, chef Mario Carbone takes diners on a tour of Northern Italy with a selection of antipasti, salumi, pizzas, pasta, and meat dishes. The restaurant is also perfect for an apres-shopping Aperol spritz or light lunch to fuel your credit card splurge.
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Cote Miami's steak omakase
Photo by Gary He

Cote

3900 NE Second Ave., Miami
305-434-4668
cotemiami.com
Simon Kim has brought Cote, his New York cross between a Korean barbecue restaurant and a traditional steakhouse, to the Design District. The restaurant offers a selection of American and A5 Japanese Wagyu sourced from the Miyazaki prefecture (where true Wagyu are raised). The steaks are dry-aged for a minimum of 45 days in-house and then seasoned with a mixture of British Maldon, Himalayan pink, and Korean thousand-day salts before being presented raw and cooked to order tableside. Cote also serves one of Miami's finest martinis, so be sure to start your meal with one. The restaurant's food beverage program earned it a Michelin star in 2022.
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Fresh seafood at Itamae
Photo by Andrea Lorena

Itamae

140 NE 39th St., Miami
786-542-8977
itamaemiami.com
Valerie and Nando Chang, along with their father Fernando, marry the precision of Japanese culinary techniques with the bold flavors of Peru, making the dishes bright, flavorful, and supremely interesting. The simple menu offers nigiri, ceviche, a local grilled catch, and tiraditos — all prepared super fresh. The care the Changs put into their 40-seat restaurant has not gone unnoticed: Itamae was a James Beard Award semifinalist and earned a Michelin Bib Gourmand rating in 2022.
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Watermelon salad at Le Jardinier
Le Jardinier photo

L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon and Le Jardinier

151 NE 41st St., Miami
305-402-9070
latelier-miami.com
Though master chef Joël Robuchon has passed away, his legendary cuisine remains alive at L'Atelier. Chef Christophe Bellanca — culinary director for Joël Robuchon USA — is tasked with this monumental undertaking, and he succeeds with a precise menu of classic yet unpretentious dishes, such as spaghetti with black truffle. Its sister eatery, Le Jardinier, offers a vegetable-forward menu using local, seasonal produce, fresh herbs, and greens. For this precision and culinary craft, L' Atelier is the only two-Michelin-starred restaurant in Miami, with Le Jardinier earning one Michelin star.
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Dinner table at Mandolin
Mandolin Aegean Bistro photo

Mandolin Aegean Bistro

4312 NE Second Ave., Miami
305-749-9140
mandolinmiami.com
Romantic, friendly, and charming, Mandolin is housed in a vintage Miami cottage and spills out onto a back patio filled with greenery and twinkle lights. The result is the feeling you've entered the home of a charming host somewhere in the Mediterranean. The food is simple and real, with many herbs and vegetables grown on the premises. Whole sea bass is grilled with olive oil and lemon, and beets are roasted with tahini yogurt and mint. Mandolin earned a Michelin Bib Gourmand designation for its beautiful menu at an affordable price point.
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Jaffa's Yaniv Cohen's food and cookbook
Photo by Yaniv Cohen

MIA Market

40 NE 39th St., Miami
786-542-8977
miamarket.com
Not sure what you're craving after shopping at Dior? You'll find something wonderful at this upscale food hall that offers 10,000 square feet of options. A hummus tower at Jaffa, fresh pasta at Dal Plin, tacos at Hot Lime, or a hearty báhn mì from Tran Am are just some of the options. Wash it all down with a cocktail or local draft beer at the bar that's the heart of the hall.
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The outdoor patio at Michael's Genuine Food & Drink
The Genuine Hospitality Group photo

Michael's Genuine Food & Drink

130 NE 40th St., Miami
305-573-5550
michaelsgenuine.com
The Design District's dining OG, Michael's Genuine still impresses. Restaurateur Michael Schwartz's strategy is serving fresh food made with care. The menu rotates seasonally, but expect classics such as wood-oven-roasted octopus, a black truffle pizza, and a pan-roasted half chicken. Michael's also had plenty of vegetable dishes to make everyone happy. The restaurant recently expanded, adding an inviting outdoor patio area and expanding the indoor dining room. Michael's earned a Michelin Bib Gourmand designation for its dedication to wallet-friendly fine dining.
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Casual dining at OTL
OTL photo

OTL

160 NE 40th St., Miami
786-953-7620
otlmia.com
This casual café is the perfect antidote to chain coffee shops. The bright, cheery OTL (short for "Out to Lunch") offers breakfast, lunch, and brunch. Items include overnight oats, avocado toast, and a black bean burger. After a whirlwind shopping spree, sit down with a coffee and a muffin and relax.
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The beet hummus at Pura Vida.
Photo courtesy of Pura Vida Miami

Pura Vida

3818 NE First Ave., Miami
puravida.com

Here's the scenario: You're hangry after a long day of shopping, but you've blown your budget on a pair of Gucci sneakers. Don't fret. Just walk those designer kiicks right over to Pura Vida. This colorful restaurant serves healthful foods that don't require a second mortgage. Pura Vida offers açaí berry bowls, salads, soups, smoothies, juices, and more — many of them under ten dollars. Eating mindfully without breaking the bank, unlike most fashion, never goes out of style.

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Swan's rose-colored interior.
Photo by Morelli Brothers

Swan

90 NE 39th St., Miami
305-704-0994
swanbevy.com
This collaboration between nightlife and hospitality maven David Grutman and musician Pharrell Williams is decorated in hues of rose, making the dining room feel like a glowing Parisian bistro meets a Victorian parlor. The outdoor patio sees you dining in a lush garden-like setting. The menu offers everything you would want in a bistro: a hearty Caesar, Faroe Island salmon, and a lobster Cobb salad. But there are also some very "Miami" indulgences like a pasta festooned with caviar, an oversized porterhouse for two, and a giant sundae that makes every day your birthday. 
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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss

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