Contrary to popular belief, we have bad weather in Miami, so we really do appreciate those absolutely perfect 75-degree days when we nearly shed a tear every time we open the door. When that happens, eating outside is basically mandatory, and the places on this guide are where you should go to do it. These are the restaurants where sitting outside is the whole point—places that are going to make you look around and mumble a prayer of gratitude that you’ll never have to learn what black ice is.
Amara At Paraiso
You can’t eat much closer to Biscayne Bay than at 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 great. The menu is pretty much all seafood, with a small raw bar and a great grilled snapper. Come during the day if you really want to see the view in all its glory—and make a reservation if you want a guaranteed outdoor table.
Tigre is a beautiful Argentinian restaurant in the Upper East Side where you can bring a date or a few friends or, really, anyone who appreciates interior design and the color green. The outdoor seating is organized along a little canal that—despite being just a baseball toss away from the hectic intersection of Biscayne and 79th—feels peaceful and secluded. The aesthetics are the selling point here, but the food is also good. There are some solid veggie options, like a simple, crunchy hearts of palm salad or tender roasted beets, but you’ll find bigger steak and fish entrees too. Whether you want to eat buñuelos or just have a few apéritif cocktails while looking for manatees—Tigre is a good choice next time it’s so nice out that you feel guilty being inside.
Brasserie Central is one of Miami’s best French restaurants. It’s located in Merrick Park, an outdoor mall in Coral Gables, and at least half the seating is outdoors overlooking the mall’s center lawn. It’s great for all sorts of people watching—from checking out la gente bella to guessing which patrons had brief cameo roles in Real Housewives of Miami. That and a glass of one of their very good French wines (we love the sancerre) would be enough for this place to make it on this guide. But the steak frites, escargot, and boeuf bourguignon are also phenomenal—and Brasserie Central is Miami’s best example of a traditional French brasserie.
Paradis Books & Bread
Paradis Books & Bread is an excellent little North Miami spot that straddles the line between wine bar and restaurant. You can certainly come here just to drink, read, and chat. But it’d be a shame if you didn’t order at least something to snack on, like the tinned sardines served with seaweed butter and slices of fresh bread. The square pizzas (which they start serving at 6pm) are outstanding as well, and have a delicious light brown crust that tastes like whole wheat dough that just got back from a delightful vacation with a loaf of sourdough. Inside, Paradis is only one room, with a few tables and bar seating. But there’s a much larger outdoor area with some round cement tables, which is where you want to be on a nice night.
Itamae is located in the Design District and serves the best Nikkei food in the city. Right now, they only have outdoor seating, and it’s a spacious layout great for Design District people watching. But the food—not the view—is the main attraction here. The menu changes almost daily, but every sushi roll, ceviche, tiradito, and any other special they happen to be offering that day will be the best thing you’ve eaten in recent memory. And you’ll be glad you’re sitting outside so you can look towards the sky and mumble a prayer of gratitude for what just happened to your taste buds.
Luca Osteria is a Coral Gables Italian restaurant along the pedestrian-only Giralda Plaza. It has lots of spacious outdoor seating where you can watch a steady stream of dogs and people. But as soon as the food hits the table, you won’t pay attention to anything but the plate in front of you. Pasta is the main event here, and every version is just outstanding. But there are some excellent non-pasta dishes too. Specifically, the patate fritte. It’s little fried potato balls covered by a creamy layer of parmigiano fonduta, black truffle, and a single egg yolk in the center—and it’s one of the best dishes in the entire city.
There aren’t a ton of reliably good restaurants with spacious outdoor seating in Wynwood. But Doya fills that gap wonderfully. Plus, they have a really nice patio with a decent amount of seating and umbrellas for shading. It’s a good place to come with a group, because they have a big menu full of very good meze plates perfect for sharing. The octopus in the octopus salad is as tender as fresh mozzarella, the lamb kebab is beautifully cooked, and the huge mussels are served in a perfectly balanced wine and garlic sauce.
Thanks to a big renovation and expansion, Chug’s is cooler than ever. The Coconut Grove Cuban spot feels like a completely new restaurant than when it first opened in 2019. And, in addition to an updated interior that has the DNA of a classic diner, Chug’s also revamped their patio seating. The big courtyard is now filled with shaded tables and plants, and it’s exactly the kind of setting where you want to be sipping a guava gimlet on a 70-degree night. The excellent food is familiar, mostly Cuban dishes and some great sandwiches. But there are plenty of unique twists on the menu, like medianoche pierogis filled with ham and lechón, an incredibly flavorful meatloaf, and dessert that should be mandatory to order.
Verde at Pérez Art Museum Miami
If we were judging Verde only by the food, we wouldn't tell you to sprint here. But this casual spot, which is located on the back patio of the Pérez Art Museum, has one of the best waterfront views in all of Miami: a beautiful, uninterrupted view of Biscayne Bay and the MacArthur Causeway. That is really why you should come here (and why you should never sit inside). The menu is a tad boring—mostly salads, pizza, and sandwiches—but it's also not bad and you'll finish whatever you order. This is mostly a brunch or lunch spot, but on Thursdays they stay open for dinner (and occasionally have live music too).
Mandolin Aegean Bistro
Though it’s sometimes tough to get a table on a very nice day, it’s still easier than buying a plane ticket and flying to Greece—which is what having lunch here kind of feels like. Mandolin is in Buena Vista, and it’s about 90 percent outdoor seating. The tables are shaded by trees and canopies, and the grilled octopus, whole Mediterranean sea bass, and grilled halloumi are the exact kinds of things we want to eat on a sunny day. White wine is optional, but highly encouraged.
Naomi's Garden Restaurant and Lounge
From the street, Naomi’s just looks like a little take-out spot. But after you order from their menu of Haitian and Carribean dishes, walk around to the side of the building and find the garden seating. It’s a casual space with plenty of tables, a couple of loud roosters, a small stage for occasional live music, and a few hammocks you’re welcome to use in case you overdid it with their great jerk chicken. Naomi’s is one of the best restaurants in Little Haiti, but it’s such a relaxing space that we’d come on a pretty day just to read a book and have a passion fruit juice.
Yes, Lagniappe is more a place to drink than eat, but the mostly outdoor wine bar in Edgewater does have a small food menu that’s good enough to justify coming here for dinner even though the silverware is plastic. After you grab a bottle of wine inside, head to the backyard to order something from the grill: churrasco, mahi, salmon, chicken, and sautéed veggies are all solid options in addition to the very good meat and cheese plates. Come on the earlier side and you won’t have to compete for a table with a thousand first dates.
Ironside Kitchen Pizza & Coffee Co
An outdoor table at Ironside is going to be lovely no matter when you come. At lunch, the courtyard is sunny and bright, with lots of trees, plants, and occasional live music during the weekend. At night, string lights hang over the tables and create an ideal mood for a pizza date, which is usually what we end up ordering here even though the pasta is pretty tasty too. This place is BYOB (with a $10 corkage fee), so pick up some beer or wine before you come.
La Mar by Gaston Acurio
La Mar is a restaurant on the mysterious millionaire island known as Brickell Key. They serve some of the best Peruvian food in town, and their waterfront view is also stellar—so good that it's almost not even worth coming here unless you can sit outside. It faces west, giving you a wide-open view of Biscayne Bay and the Brickell skyline. When you're not staring at that, you'll be staring at the food in front of you, which includes very good traditional Peruvian ceviche. They also make a great lomo saltado and have rotating anticucho options, including an excellent version with veal heart.
Bay 13 Brewery and Kitchen
This Australian brewery in Coral Gables is a great place to drink and eat outside. Their front patio is really spacious and laid out over a stretch of astroturf, so you can feel like you’re having a little picnic. This place is equal parts brewery and restaurant, and you can certainly come here to just drink—they’ve got some crisp, refreshing day-drinking brews. But if you did that, you’d be missing out on what are quite possibly the best fish and chips in town. There are other tasty things to eat here that pair excellently with a cold beer, like sausages and smoked salmon rangoons.
Shore To Door Fish Market
Shore to Door is a fish market that also operates as a restaurant on the weekend for lunch. There’s no menu here. Instead, the chef—who might be in the middle of cleaning a fish—will tell you what came in off the boat that morning. It could be fried corvina bites, whole yellowtail snapper, wahoo fish dip, or a dozen other sea creatures. But it will be delicious, and you can eat it in their fantastic backyard, with mismatched furniture and an atmosphere that feels very Key West. If you want a beer, just pop open the cooler and help yourself. But a head’s up: call first to make sure they’re open. We’ve tried to come here before, only to learn that they sold out of seafood the day prior.
As with pretty much all hotel restaurants in South Beach, you can expect higher-than-average prices and a slightly touristy crowd at Osteria Morini. However, it’s still possible to have a very enjoyable meal here, especially if you sit outside. All the outdoor tables are arranged along a narrow little canal that can make you feel like you’re in Venice, if you squint hard and have had more than two negronis. Pasta is the move here, and it’s solid—especially the torcia nera and cappelletti.
Shuckers Bar and Grill
Every table at Shuckers is technically an outdoor table because this place doesn’t have walls. And that is a good thing because it’d be a shame to block this good of a waterfront view. A lot of people come here to watch sports, but we go to Shuckers to just stare out into the blue horizon while occasionally breaking eye contact with the ocean to eat a perfectly fine chicken wing or fried calamari.
Doce Provisions serves Cuban fusion food a block north of Calle Ocho, and their Cuban sandwich and vaca frita tostones are both reason enough to come here if you’re looking for some good food in Little Havana. But if you’re also trying to eat outside, then Doce is absolutely the place to go. They have a very pretty back patio, with string lights, picnic benches underneath a pergola, and some murals you can stare at while you try to decide between the very good Cuban sandwich or fried chicken and plantain waffles.
The Lido Bayside Grill
The food at Lido (mostly seafood and sandwiches) is not as good or as cheap as it should be, but these are the sacrifices we make for one of the best waterfront views you can have while eating an OK $20 cheeseburger. This place is located in The Standard Spa, which means you also have an above-average chance of seeing a celebrity or overhearing a conversation about someone’s recent luxury ayahuasca retreat. But that view from the dockside tables is what really deserves your attention.