Where To Make Reservations Right Now For Art Basel
Because these places are going to fill up very, very soon.
The mega-week of art fairs, concerts, parties, and excessive use of the word “installations” is coming to Miami on the first week of December. And while many of the week’s events haven’t been announced yet, there is something you can do right now to ensure a successful Art Basel: make a reservation. If you don’t do that, like, today, then you’re going to be spending that week eating pizza at home, which honestly sounds kind of nice. But if you’re one of those people who want to be in the thick of the Basel madness, you’ll need that reservation fast. This guide has some great restaurants in the epicenters of Miami Art Week.
photo credit: Cleveland Jennings
It is an act of bravery to venture into Wynwood during Art Basel week. But if you’re willing to put up with the crowds or just know you’re going to be there for some sort of event, Doya is where you want to eat. This place is so reliable—from the service to the food to the beautiful, roomy space that will help you relax after weaving through jammed sidewalks like a salmon swimming upstream. We have yet to try a plate here we didn’t love, especially the unbelievably tender octopus salad and the lamb kebab.
We recommend Downtown's Jaguar Sun for almost every occasion imaginable, including Art Basel. Because not only will you encounter outstanding pasta and perfect cocktails here, but this place is also always a blast. You don’t have to be at the right table or order very specifically to enjoy yourself. Everything (both in liquid and solid form) is delicious, and the staff is a small team of extroverts hell-bent on making sure your glass is never empty. You're coming here for outstanding pasta, oysters, a cold martini, and because you need a dinner that'll make you forget that you just spent $97 to get here thanks to Uber surge pricing.
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L’atelier De Joël Robuchon
L’Atelier in the Design District is a really great restaurant in general, but feels especially fitting for Art Basel since dinner here feels like such a grand event. The fine dining French spot has a cool, futuristic interior and counter seating with a great view of the open kitchen. The food is rich and decadent (prepare for lots of foie gras) but also fun, interesting, and gorgeously plated. They have some pricey tasting menu options that won’t disappoint, but if you’re going a la carte, make sure to get the kampachi crudo and le foie gras au torchon, a little puck of the best foie gras you’ll ever have with slices of buttery grilled brioche so you can assemble your own toast.
Orilla Bar & Grill
Going to South Beach during Art Basel means you might spend the next decade on the MacArthur Causeway. If, however, you’re trying to jump headfirst into the chaos, Orilla provides a brief respite from the clout-chasing traffic tsunami going on outside. We really like this Argentinian restaurant because it’s just South Beach enough without being annoyingly South Beach. You can dress up without feeling stupid, enjoy some great steak and martinis, and not have to be harassed by party promoters on your way out.
If you’ve got plans to be in the Design District for Basel, make sure Itamae is part of those plans. There’s no dish on their frequently-changing Nikkei menu that hasn’t made us want to kick our chair aside and dance like Oscar Isaac in Ex Machina. The seating here is almost entirely outdoors, which is good because Art Basel weather tends to be delightful. And the beautifully plated tiradito, sushi, and tuna tartare will be much more interesting than the NFTs you’ll pretend to be interested in at various after parties.
photo credit: Cleveland Jennings
If you're interested in drinking excellent gin and cutting into a wonderful duck confit paella after a long day of pretending to "get" art, then go to Tropezón. The Andalusian gin and tapas bar on Española Way is one of our favorite places for a boozy South Beach dinner that tastes good too. The space—a 50/50 split between a bar and dining room—has a snug interior featuring lots of wood and legs of jamón hanging from the ceiling. They also have a really lovely outdoor courtyard, so ask to sit out there if the weather’s nice.
Mandolin Aegean Bistro
Tables at Mandolin are sure to go fast, which makes sense since every vacationing New Yorker we’ve ever met seems to be obsessed with this lovely outdoor Mediterranean restaurant. However, you might get lucky (especially if you’re cool with eating at 11pm). The restaurant is walking distance from the Design District—and it’s such a beautiful, relaxing place to end (or start) the night with some wine, grilled haloumi, and manti dumplings.
photo credit: Cleveland Jennings
If you’re trying to woo clients or have the corporate card of a Fortune 500 company in your pocket, grab a table at Klaw. It’s hard to do this opulent Edgewater steak and seafood palace right without spending around $200 per person. But Klaw's food, service, and gorgeous dining room (which has a great waterfront view) does warrant its colossal price point. You're coming here for dry-aged steaks and king crab legs so good you'll want to write a thank you letter to the ocean. But even if this place is out of your budget, you should still make a reservation for a cocktail on their rooftop bar, where there’s a menu of small plates and an even better view.
Cafe La Trova
If you're looking for a big, fun restaurant that'll satisfy a tourist's craving for a night of Cuban Miami culture (and still be a blast for any local too), get a table at this Little Havana spot. The food is good, there’s always live music, and the team of spiffy bartenders not only make the world’s best daiquiri but also occasionally start dancing and playing instruments. It's always fun here—just don't come if you're trying to have a conversation because it gets loud in the dining room.
Uchi is another Wynwood spot to prioritize during Art Basel. Because if you manage to get to this neighborhood without losing your mind, you deserve some very good food. You can find just that at Uchi. This Japanese restaurant is making some of the best sushi in Miami, along with other great small plates. Order the hama chili, halibut, karaage chicken, and enough cocktails to forget about how much finding an Uber home is going to suck.
27 is a Miami Beach classic, and one of the few reliably great restaurants in Mid-Beach, an area infested with incredibly expensive and mostly underwhelming hotel restaurants. Let the rich morons of Art Basel throw their credit cards down at those places while you enjoy crudo, griot, and kimchi fried rice from this great restaurant, which never fails to make us feel cooler than we actually are. Another great thing about 27 is that it’s connected to Broken Shaker a fantastic cocktail bar that’s going to be crowded pretty much 24/7 during Basel.
By the time the weekend of Miami Art Week rolls around, you will almost certainly wake up exhausted, starving, and ready never to hear the letters “NFT” ever again. When that happens, you’ll be thrilled you made that Saturday brunch reservation at Rosie’s. This Little River spot serves a phenomenal Southern American menu on an outdoor patio with covered seating and a very impressive tree. The food here is pretty recognizable: fried chicken and waffles, biscuits, crispy fish and grits. But you will do a double take when you taste it, because it's so much better than any version you may remember from your own personal brunch history.
photo credit: Tasty Planet
Amara At Paraiso
No trip to Miami is complete without some quality time spent staring at large bodies of water. And you can’t eat much closer to Biscayne Bay than at Edgewater's Amara—unless you own a boat or are a manatee. But if you are not a herbivorous marine mammal, then this is a really good choice because both the view and food are very good. The menu is pretty much all seafood, with a small raw bar and a great grilled snapper you can share with a couple friends. Come during the day (or at sunset) if you really want to see the view in all its glory.
Miami is saturated with sceney steakhouses that are all sure to be sardine cans during Art Basel. But very few of those places do it better than the city’s original sceney steakhouse: Prime 112. And if you're looking for a see-and-be-seen spot, this is still one of South Beach's best. Fair warning: it'll probably be mayhem during Basel. But maybe that's what you're into? Luckily, this place still holds up, and not just because of the scene, but also thanks to a fantastic ribeye, multiple forms of delicious potatoes, and complimentary bar bacon. Just know that reservations have to be made over the phone.
Call 305-532-8112 to make a reservation
Mr. Omakase in Downtown is good for a Basel dinner for a few reasons. First, there are only nine seats at the sushi counter, and chances are you’ll be sick of crowds by Tuesday. It’s also a fancy dinner that’s a lot more reasonably priced than most omakase spots around town, with dinner options ranging from $79 to $139 per person. And, last but not least, the sushi is outstanding. Every course just gets better and better, and by dessert, you’ll want to become a rich and famous artist only so you can eat here on a weekly basis.
Maybe you don’t want a reasonably priced omakase. Maybe you have international art collectors to impress or maybe you’re the person who bought the $120,000 wall banana that one time and your credit score is just the thumb’s up emoji. Well, consider Hiden in Wynwood. The sushi is very good. But what really makes this place special is the whole experience. To access Hiden, you have to enter a code on a secret door inside a casual taco restaurant. Hiden does make you feel like a secret agent, but, more importantly, provides you with two hours of excellent Japanese dishes.
Macchialina is another great spot to hide from South Beach, while still being inside South Beach. The Italian restaurant on Alton Road is super popular, but still somehow manages to feel like a good ol’ neighborhood restaurant where everyone is friends. Or, at least, everyone is too distracted by the perfect pasta to be anything but nice. Come here for said perfect pasta, negronis, and desserts that are always worth ordering. Their outdoor seating is going to be perfect for a (hopefully) chilly December night, too.
Joe's Stone Crab
Did you know that Joe’s started accepting reservations a couple years ago? How this was not front-page news in every newspaper in the country, we’re not sure. But their Resy page is still up, so take advantage while you can. They only accept reservations a couple weeks in advance, so set an alarm for November 14, and keep refreshing that page until you get the table you’re looking for. It’ll be easier than awkwardly slipping the maître d’ $60.
Downtown has increasingly become an Art Basel hotspot, so it’s a safe bet to assume you’ll be there at some point. And when discussing eating in Downtown, NIU Kitchen is always top of mind. This is a great place to drink multiple bottles of wine. Just please don’t leave without ordering the cold tomato soup and the ous, a bowl of runny poached eggs, truffled potato foam, black truffle, and crispy bits of jamón ibérico. It's one of the best dishes in the entire city.
Sorry, but the odds of you snagging a table at Boia De during Art Basel week are very low. It's hard enough to get in here on a random Wednesday during summer. Still, turn your Resy notifications on and try your best. It'll be worth it. This narrow Italian restaurant on the edge of Buena Vista has one of those menus that's like a perfect album, with not a single song you’d dare skip. If you’re lucky enough to find a table—wow, congratulations. Also, order the amazing chopped salad, and definitely get the tagliolini nero if you see it on the menu.