Best of Miami

The Ten Best Romantic Restaurants in Miami

Red Fish patio from the beach.
Red Fish patio from the beach. Photo by Erick Coego
The connection between food and seduction probably traces to some prehistoric man offering a roasted animal leg to his beloved by a roaring fire. Since then, the practice of using food to woo a person has evolved to include Champagne, oysters, chocolate, and music — but some things remain eternal: Fire is still an element, be it candles or a fireplace, and a good meal is still the ultimate way to indicate you love someone (or at least want to get it on with them).

With its aqua ocean, balmy breezes, and sultry Latin flavor, Miami is the perfect place to fall in love. Proximity to the coast allows for water views. Then there are the sunsets.

The most romantic restaurants share the same winning factors: a stellar menu, seductive cocktails, intimate ambiance, and exceptional service. Whether you want to wow your Tinder date or celebrate your longtime squeeze, let the sparks fly at any of these ten dining destinations.

Just be sure to book a reservation before you get dolled up.
Amara's outdoor dining area. - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE GENUINE HOSPITALITY GROUP
Amara's outdoor dining area.
Photo courtesy of the Genuine Hospitality Group

Amara at Paraiso

3101 NE Seventh Ave., Miami
305-702-5528
amaraatparaiso.com


Michael Schwartz's Amara at Paraiso is beautifully set on Biscayne Bay with lush indoor and outdoor seating, all with a waterfront view. The James Beard Award-winning chef, best known for his Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, calls Amara at Paraiso a "love letter to Miami." The menu includes Latin American-influenced dishes cooked using a wood grill and a Josper charcoal oven. Standouts include crispy octopus with braised yuca and a parrillada of short rib, chorizo, sweetbreads, and steak. This restaurant is so romantic, it features a special marriage proposal package that includes the best seats in the house, a photographer, and a special menu.
click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY OF CASA TUA
Photo courtesy of Casa Tua

Casa Tua

1700 James Ave., Miami Beach
305-673-1010
casatualife.com


Set in an inviting and intimate Mediterranean villa surrounded by a serene garden, Casa Tua feels exactly like its name: "your home." The Tuscan theme extends to a menu that evokes a weekend getaway to Southern Europe: spaghetti, beef tenderloin, and branzino. Leave room for dessert — the signature tiramisu and vanilla and orange crème brûlée are not to be missed. And if you don't plan to drive, explore the encyclopedic collection of wines to pair with your fairy-tale dining experience in this hideaway on James Avenue.
PHOTO COURTESY OF CECCONI'S
Photo courtesy of Cecconi's

Cecconi's Miami Beach

4385 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
786-507-7902
cecconismiamibeach.com


Italian and Mediterranean dishes are served on a foliage-filled patio at this restaurant tucked inside the Soho Beach House. Begin your evening at the 14-seat bar before sitting down to dinner. Look up to find the night sky competing with thousands of tiny white lights twinkling in the many trees dotting the property. The menu is classic, and appetites are made hearty by the soft hint of salt air. The music of pounding waves is provided by the ocean, just a stone's throw away. Because the goal of a romantic meal is to sate, not stuff, start with a classic beef tartare with celery hearts and quail egg, and share an order of handmade spaghetti with Maine lobster, chilies, and basil before moving on to Dover sole with lemon and capers, or the grilled seafood for two. Be sure to indulge in a final toast with the restaurant's house-made limoncello.
click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY OF IL GABBIANO
Photo courtesy of Il Gabbiano

Il Gabbiano

335 S. Biscayne Blvd., Miami
305-373-0063
ilgabbianomia.com


If romance to you means big bucks and high caloric intake, this splurge-worthy Italian restaurant is your best option. Try Il Gabbiano’s crowd-pleasing pastas, which include a creamy fettuccine Alfredo and spaghetti carbonara. Or maybe you crave the incredibly tender filet of beef with Barolo wine sauce. Either way, you also get the beautiful vistas of Biscayne Bay. Food? Check. Views? Check. Vino? Well, you might as well go all out and order a bottle from the extensive list. After an evening of fine dining, your date will be singing "That's Amore" in no time.
click to enlarge The rooftop terrace at Juvia. - PHOTO BY MICHAEL STAVARIDIS
The rooftop terrace at Juvia.
Photo by Michael Stavaridis

Juvia

1111 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach
305-763-8272
juviamiami.com


If you time your arrival right, you can catch the sunset through floor-to-ceiling windows or in the rooftop dining room complete with vertical gardens. With panoramic views of South Beach and beyond, this penthouse-level hot spot is a great place to impress your date. The menu isn’t too shabby either, offering an eclectic mix of contemporary takes on Japanese, French, and Peruvian cuisine. Order the hamachi espuma ($26) for a mildly spicy and citrusy start. Entrées range from a braised lamb shank ($42) to king crab risotto ($45). Specialty cocktails such as the Juvia lemonade, made with Beluga Noble vodka, mixed-berry purée, and lemon, will help alleviate date-night jitters and let Cupid take aim.
click to enlarge La Mar by Gastón Acurio - PHOTO BY BILL WISSER/BILLWISSERPHOTO.COM
La Mar by Gastón Acurio
Photo by Bill Wisser/billwisserphoto.com

La Mar by Gastón Acurio

500 Brickell Key Dr., Miami
305-913-8358
https://www.mandarinoriental.com/miami


Dinner at a hotel restaurant can be a precursor to one lucky evening (hello, hotel room), but La Mar by Gastón Acurio at the ultra-luxe Mandarin Oriental on Brickell Key elevates the standard hotel dining scene via bold and flavorful Japanese-Peruvian fusion cuisine, dramatic waterfront views of Biscayne Bay, and refined service that will make your date swoon. Share the classic cebiche, made with a citrus-based marinade of ají limon pepper, fluke, cilantro, red onions, and classic leche de tigre ($23) or share a sampler of cebiche favorites ($29).
click to enlarge COURTESY OF MANDOLIN AEGEAN BISTRO
Courtesy of Mandolin Aegean Bistro

Mandolin Aegean Bistro

4312 NE Second Ave., Miami
305-749-9140
mandolinmiami.com


Take a stroll along NE Second Avenue in the Design District and stop at the blue-framed door of Mandolin Aegean Bistro. Enter the 1940s home and feel like you're in a Greek village complete with blue and white accents. Head to the cozy back patio for a complete Grecian experience, and enjoy a seat at a lantern-lit table beneath the trees. Share the Greek sampler ($16), which comes with warm house-made bread and a trio of dips — tzatziki, tarama, and eggplant — and then feast on Mediterranean delicacies such as whole grilled sea bass ($38) and chicken kebabs ($26) — hearty chunks of grilled chicken served with orzo pilaf and maroulosalata, the classic Greek green salad.
click to enlarge The terrace at the Matador Room - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE MATADOR ROOM
The terrace at the Matador Room
Photo courtesy of the Matador Room

Matador Room

2901 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
786-257-4600
matadorroom.com


Bypass the sleek midcentury-modern dining room at celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten's Latin restaurant inside the sleek Miami Beach Edition and opt for a table on the candlelit terrace. The wow factor of the stunning alfresco setting is enhanced by the menu. Crunchy calamari, Florida black grouper tacos, and arroz con pollo will make you immediately fall in love — with the food. And if all else fails, bowling, ice skating, and dancing are available in the same building to entertain your date.
click to enlarge Peacock Garden's lush patio, - TRVE CREATIVE MIAMI
Peacock Garden's lush patio,
Trve Creative Miami

Peacock Garden

2889 McFarlane Rd., Coconut Grove
305-774-3332
peacockgardenrestobar.com


This classic Coconut Grove bistro has been given a facelift with new seating and an even more lush patio feel. Dine under the stars among beautiful greenery accented with globe lights with a menu that's decidedly more affordable than most romantic dining rooms. The menu offers simple bistro fare that's easily shareable. A picnic board brings a beautiful presentation of burrata,  prosciutto, greek olives, artichokes, and crostini ($18); grilled octopus is drizzled with spicy olive oil ($22); and fresh oysters are eternally romantic ($18).
click to enlarge Dining al fresco  at Redfish by Chef Adrianne. - PHOTO COURTESY OF REDFISH BY CHEF ADRIANNE
Dining al fresco at Redfish by Chef Adrianne.
Photo courtesy of Redfish by Chef Adrianne

Redfish by Chef Adrianne

9610 Old Cutler Rd., Coral Gables
305-668-8788
redfishmiami.com


Chef Adrianne Calvo has given new life to one of Miami's most stunning dining venues. The property — a gorgeous coral rock structure — is tucked into Matheson Hammock Park. As a waterfront dining experience, the menu has plenty of seafood options like whole branzino, Maine lobster, and brown sugar-crusted salmon — all complimented by the restaurant's extensive wine and whiskey library. 
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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
Maureen Aimee Mariano is a freelance food writer for Miami New Times. She earned a bachelor of science in journalism from the University of Florida before making her way back to the 305, the city that first fueled her insatiable appetite.