The Best Shaded Patios In Miami
photo credit: Cleveland Jennings
Miami has roughly two seasons: “Wow it’s so pretty out” and “oven on self-cleaning mode.” But sometimes, even in the depths of summer heat, you still want to eat outside. And at the places on this guide, which all have properly shaded outdoor tables, that can still be possible. You won’t even need to bring several back-up shirts and a tiny personal fan.
Makoto is an upscale Japanese restaurant inside the land of very thick credit cards known as Bal Harbour Shops. While we really enjoy Makoto's dining room—which feels like eating inside a ripe peach—the patio situation is every bit as cute. It has Tic Tac green tables and floral chairs that make you feel like you're on vacation even if you live here. It's all underneath a covered patio too, which protects just about every table from the sun and the rain. It's a perfect setting to enjoy some solid raw fish, crispy rice, or a koji-aged New York strip while you try not to think too hard about the fact that a t-shirt can cost $300.
Le Jardinier’s interior makes you feel like you’re sitting inside a luxury space station. But its patio is what we’d imagine being inside that space station’s greenhouse (of course it has one) is like. It’s completely covered, surrounded by dewy plants, and cooled by oscillating fans. To protect you from the elements, the upscale French restaurant has retractable shades for when the sun is too bright or one of Miami’s spontaneous storms rolls in. Since the patio makes it tolerable to eat here during the day, try their two- or three-course prix fixe lunch menu with flavors worthy of noting in a Starfleet’s captain’s log.
The only seating at this Turkish spot in Upper Buena Vista is outdoors. Your two choices are in a palapa or under the kitchen’s eave near a big banyan tree. Both have fans, and the palapa has a slightly better shade situation. But if you sit at a table by the banyan, you’ll have a view of the stage beneath it—where there’s an occasional bongo player and children scurry about like wild boar. If it’s one of those days where the humidity reaches 70%, cool down with a bowl of cacik—garlicky yogurt, shredded cucumbers, dill, and mint.
Chef Creole is a Little Haiti institution, where there’s almost always a line of cars waiting to pick up wings, conch stew, oxtail, griot, and more. If you don’t feel like waiting in that line of cars, park, get out, order at the counter, and eat your food there. They have a great little tiki hut situation that's so much less stressful than the drive through, and a perfect place to dig into some oxtail while drinking a cold Prestige or three.
Not only does Verde have one of the best views in Miami—a wide, uninterrupted view of Biscayne Bay and the MacArthur Causeway—but it’s casual enough to show up here in shorts and a tank top. The restaurant is located in the back of the beautiful Pérez Art Museum and is completely shaded, which is good because this is mostly a lunch spot. To sit outside, have a cocktail, and watch boats float by is really why you should come here. But the food (mostly salads, pizza, and sandwiches) is solid.
Andiamo looks like it might take off and fly into outer space at any moment. The MiMo restaurant was originally built in 1956 as a tire shop, and it has a huge roof that extends over the front patio. This means the outdoor seating here (which is pretty much the only place to sit) is always shaded. So it’s a good place to be on a hot day, especially if you’re craving pizza. The Sunday pie (meatballs, ricotta, pepperoncini, and parmesan) is a good one to order if you believe a pizza can never have too many toppings.
This museum restaurant is no afterthought. Leku serves food from the Basque region of Spain but doesn’t let you forget you’re in Miami either. The dining room has open garage doors that blend in with Leku’s covered patio lined with native plants. Overhead, fans keep things cool as you eat the kind of creative, colorful dishes you’d expect at a fancy museum restaurant: purple beet tartare dotted with a green basil emulsion that looks like dollops of oil paint. And no visit to Leku is complete without the dessert you almost don't even have to ask for: a gooey Basque cheese tart and rocher of sorbet.
Mandolin is always one of the first places we recommend for eating outside in Miami. The reason: this place is great, in so many ways. The Greek menu—with dishes like grilled haloumi, watermelon salad, kebabs, and more—never disappoints. Plus, their outdoor patio is so lovely. The Buena Vista restaurant looks like it got sucked up by a tornado in Santorini and dropped into South Florida, Wizard of Oz-style. And thanks to a big tree, some well-placed awnings, and lots of fans, it’s possible to eat here in July.
Not every single outdoor table at Shuckers is shaded—but the majority of the tables at this North Bay Village classic (as well as the entire bar area) are underneath a big awning. And you can still enjoy the fantastic waterfront view from those shaded tables, too. Shuckers is a sort of hybrid between a sports bar and a casual seafood spot. We like their wings and pretty much anything that involves the word “fried.” There are also a ton of TVs, and chances are they’re playing whatever game you want to see.
27’s dining room feels like the cool kid’s house where everyone hung out after school. But unlike your friend Brandon’s backyard (which was littered with doggy landmines and an algae-covered pool) it has a backyard that’s a shaded pleasure. Here, you can sit at a picnic table with friends under the patio awning and tell old stories while sharing comfort food with a kick—like jerk chicken pot pie and spicy kimchi rice. Listen to the bugs bump into the string lights in silence after filling up on a corn sundae. Then dare each other to jump into the adjoining hostel’s (much cleaner) pool, which is open to non-guests by the way.
Naomi’s makes some of the best Haitian and Caribbean food in Miami. They serve oxtail, whole fried snapper, jerk chicken, and a lot more dishes that come in very big portions with sides of rice and plantains. From the street, it looks like a take-out spot. But after you order, walk around to the side of the building and you’ll find the garden seating. It’s a really lovely 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 the jerk chicken. There’s lots of shade options too, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a table safe from the sun.
If you’re trying to eat and drink next to the water in Coconut Grove, Monty’s is always an option. This big, outdoor seafood restaurant feels a little more like Key West than Miami. And that can be a good thing, if you’re in the mood for frozen cocktails, oysters, and decent fried seafood. Happy Hour here (Mon-Fri from 4-7pm) is a good call, but no matter when you come, you’ll be shaded thanks to the massive tiki hut that covers the entirety of the outdoor seating.
Since 1966, this spot has been the best place to eat on the Miami River, where you can watch yachts and old-school fishing boats drift by over the course of lunch or dinner. And after all these years, it’s still a good choice because it’s tasty, simple, and wonderfully unpretentious. The outdoor seating (our favorite place to sit) provides ample shade on a day when it feels like the sun is four inches from your nose. Start with some fried shellfish, listen closely to the daily specials, and if it’s stone crab season, you know what to do.
Lido is located in The Standard's beautiful backyard. And the waterfront view is definitely the main attraction (the food isn't quite as impressive). The bulk of the tables are underneath a covered patio, and the ones that aren’t usually have their own little umbrella to help shield you from the sun. Stick to small plates or simple stuff like a cheeseburger. This is a hotel restaurant on Miami Beach (a waterfront one, nonetheless) so be prepared for that burger to be north of $25.