There's no doubt food tastes better when eaten outside. Luckily, alfresco dining is a year-round activity in Miami. Whether seaside, on a rooftop, or surrounded by swaying palm trees, there's plenty of sunshine and fresh air to accompany a meal.
Saturday, August 31, marks National Eat Outside Day, and these five restaurants are great places to soak up the sun, enjoy the breeze, and let lunch slip into happy hour or dinner. The holiday falls only days before Hurricane Dorian's projected landfall in Florida, so make the most of this Saturday before a potentially very rainy and windy Labor Day.
2801 NW Second Ave., Miami
You'll be transported to Mexico on this eatery's cactus-lined terrace in Wynwood, where from noon to 3 p.m. weekdays, Bakan offers the three-course, $20 "Comida Corrida" lunch, combining new and signature dishes. Start with daily soups or salads, followed by an entrée of enchiladas or pork-pressed carnitas tacos with guacamole and pico de gallo. Flan is for dessert, and for an additional $5, you can add a beer or a glass of wine. The "mezcaleando" special pairs each course with half-ounce sips of mezcal for a surcharge.
Jaya at the Setai
2001 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
Enjoy alfresco dining beside a tranquil stone-filled pool at Jaya, where a retractable roof expands to complement one of Miami Beach's most romantic settings. For the dining promotion Miami Spice, which ends September 30, Jaya is offering a rotating three-course dinner menu, a wonderful introduction to chef Vijayudu Veena's blend of Southeast and Northern Asian specialties. Begin your meal with calamari with chili dust and spiced aioli or, for an $8 surcharge, steamed scallop dumplings with truffle cream emulsion and shaved truffles. Continue with the vegetarian curry, served with bell peppers, bamboo shoots, and Thai basil jasmine rice, or grilled chicken breast with sushi rice, wild mushrooms, roasted shallots, and cilantro scallion relish. For dessert, choose between pistachio pot de crème with apricot compote, pistachio crumble, and mascarpone chantilly, or molten sesame tart with yuzu gel, sesame air cake, and blueberry yuzu sherbet. If you're stopping by for drinks, try the signature prickly pear margarita ($22).
4525 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
At Malibu Farm, sit outside and gaze at the ocean. Go for the Miami Spice menu, offering blue nachos with black beans, salsa fresca, and sour cream, as well as "bu-viche," with slow-cooked octopus. Other items include cauliflower-crust pizza with tomato, pesto, arugula, and roasted cauliflower, and a chicken ricotta burger with bacon, tomato, red onion, arugula, and spicy aioli. Dessert options are grilled chocolate cake with sea salt, salted caramel, and whipped cream, and raw vegan chia pudding with maple and banana.
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Quinto La Huella
788 Brickell Plaza, Miami
Uruguay meets urban Miami at Quinto La Huella at the East Hotel in Brickell, where a spacious patio offers the best of both worlds. Soft lighting, cushioned seating, and hanging foliage against a backdrop of high-rises create a lavish urban oasis. The menu includes braised lamb shoulder with sweet potato and cauliflower ($31), and shrimp and squid rice for two ($35). Expect a collection of meats too, including rib-eye ($36), skirt steak ($24), and New Zealand rack of lamb ($38).
5020 NE Second Ave., Miami
In Miami’s Upper Buena Vista, the laid-back Vista boasts a charming tropical patio of colorful bench seating, hanging plants, and walls of greenery that's ideal for brunch, lunch, dinner, or late-night drinks. On weekends, chef Giuliano Laverne offers hearty sharable portions of tuna tataki with scallions and ponzu ($17); pizzas such as cacio e pepe with truffle pecorino, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and fresh pepper ($20); and his specialty pancakes, Death by Chocolate ($17).