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.
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 where you want to sit. It’s 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 hearts of palm salad, tender roasted beets, and crunchy buñuelos as well as some very tasty apéritif cocktails.
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 nice, 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 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 Brick Oven Pizza
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 their 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 outside 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.
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 just 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.
So not every single outdoor table at Shuckers is shaded—but the majority of the tables at this North Bay Village spot (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 here that involves the word “fried.” There are also a ton of TVs, and chances are they’re playing whatever game you want to see.
Cafe Kush, another good spot from the Kush Hospitality team, is located inside MiMo’s vintage Gold Dust Hotel. When you come here, ask for a table in the “riviera” seating, which is their cute little outdoor patio. There, you’ll be able to eat dishes like steak frites, croque monsieur, and a beautiful double-cut pork chop along a small canal where you might see a manatee floating by. And like every episode of The Real Housewives, the shade is ubiquitous.
Naomi’s Garden is a great Little Haiti spot with 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, Naomi’s 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, the answer is pretty much always Monty’s. 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 too, but no matter when you come, you’ll be shaded thanks to the massive tiki hut that covers the entirety of the outdoor seating.
If an Irish pub closed its eyes and made a wish to be on a roof, you’d get Mike’s. This Downtown spot is casual-bordering-on-dive-bar, and it’s on top of an old apartment building right at the west end of the Venetian Causeway. But they have decent fried food, cold beer, and (if you stand up and walk to the edge) a very nice view of Biscayne Bay. Plus, every table here is shaded, and there’s often a nice breeze coming from the bay.
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 an outdoor restaurant located inside The Standard in Miami Beach. The waterfront view here is definitely the main attraction, because the food is very whatever. 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 $20. But they do have Happy Hour Mon-Thu from 4-6pm, with $5 beer and select snacks from $4-8.