10 Restaurants Where Service Will Never Crumble Into Chaos
Places where we're fairly confident you will not have to file a missing persons report on your server.
Miami is not a city known for its great restaurant service. We’ve all experienced it: flubbed orders, servers who disappear in the middle of dinner as if they’ve been abducted by aliens, waiting so long for checks that your credit card expires. It happens. A lot. But that just makes us appreciate the places that (just about) always nail it, like the ones on this guide. Service at these spots is always on point. And whether for a date you really like or a stuck-up client you’re trying to woo—you should use them next time you really need dinner to go well.
One time, at this excellent Wynwood Japanese restaurant, a literal billionaire in a leather jacket one size too small (allegedly) spit in a manager’s face. The fact the entire team didn’t immediately leave their posts and start suplexing this man like Kurt Angle is a testament to their professionalism. And that professionalism has been on display every time we’ve visited Hiyakawa—whether for the $250 per person omakase or a regular a la carte dinner. Staff move through the gorgeous dining room silently, and offer menu suggestions you should listen to. It is the kind of hospitality experience that will make you start whispering without realizing it. And unless you are an evil billionaire with awful taste in fashion, you will want to hug someone on the way out, not spit on them.
Madroño is proof that phenomenal service does not only exist in crazy expensive restaurants that require reservations years in advance. This Sweetwater Nicaraguan classic has better service than most of those places. You will have to wait for a table here (they don’t take reservations). But once you’re seated, you can relax knowing you’ll be well taken care of. The small army of staff, all dressed in mysteriously stainless crisp white shirts, hustle around the dining room collecting your straw’s wrapper the millisecond it hits the table. If you order the bandeja de antojitos "El Madroño" platter (and you should), they will drop a very heavy lazy Susan in the center of your table as if it were light as a feather. For the rest of the meal, you can watch the owner float through the dining room giving cheek kisses to regulars, who seem to make up the entire dining room.
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photo credit: Anto.Re
The first thing you notice when you walk into Ariete are the greetings. The hellos come from every angle and from seemingly every staff member. The same thing happens when you leave too. Servers and hosts repel from the ceiling and burst out of manholes—all to ensure they’ve wished you a good night and thanked you for coming. That attentive spirit is alive throughout dinner too. Servers guide you through the tasting menu options like a patient therapist, and the tableside duck press presentation feels like sitting through the class of that cool science teacher from your high school. Servers check in enough (but not too much), and just generally make you feel like a very important person, from hello to goodnight.
photo credit: Courtesy of Beauty and the Butcher
Beauty And The Butcher
You’ll find a lot of Miami restaurant managers by the entrance flirting with hosts or floating pointlessly through restaurants like a fart in a storm. But not at this upscale Gables spot, which does delicious things to protein. They understand the power of a meaningful table touch—when a manager takes the time to check on your table and even chats you up (if you want to). Plus, the entire team is knowledgeable, friendly, and incredibly enthusiastic about the very good food. Staff are scooping up napkin decorations the moment you unravel them and speed-walk to open the door as you leave. It’s the kind of attention a regular would receive, but here they do it for every guest.
photo credit: Emily Schindler
The service at Jaguar Sun isn’t all white tablecloths and fine dining. No, going to dinner at Jaguar Sun is like going out with that friend who’s impossible not to have a blast with. The Jaguar Sun team is so good at facilitating a great night out, never once making you feel the slightest bit weird about asking for a third martini or a fifth order of Parker House rolls. If they really like you, a manager may appear at the end of dinner with a half-empty bottle of some rare amaro to shoot the shit with you for a few minutes—even if you’ve already scribbled down your tip.
photo credit: Cleveland Jennings
To be clear, a fancy steakhouse as expensive as Klaw should have exceptional service. But so often in Miami, these kinds of astronomically expensive places phone it in. Klaw doesn’t. They really make an effort, from the second you encounter the host stand to the instant the golden elevator doors close to take you back down to a less glamorous reality. This has been the case whether we come here for a big steak dinner in the huge dining room, a martini at the rooftop bar, or brunch on the waterfront terrace. And it’s a big reason why we’ll keep recommending this place if you’re in the market for a special occasion dinner that costs an iPad and a half.
Do mistakes happen at Boia De? It’s possible. This is a tiny restaurant with a small team that’s always busy. But even when we’ve had to wait a few minutes for our table, or had the AC unit drip on us unexpectedly, they always handle things like kind, thoughtful humans. They come outside to offer a drink while you wait, or patiently adjust the AC unit until they’re confident it will leave you alone. That’s surprisingly rare. And it’s that combination of humanity and hospitality that always makes Boia De feel less like a restaurant, and more like a friend’s very tiny house.
photo credit: Courtesy Edge
Edge Steak & Bar
Our experience with Edge’s dinner service is as quality as one would expect from a steakhouse inside a Four Seasons. But what made us confident about putting them on this guide was their Sunday brunch buffet. The service there is outstanding too, which surprised us since service at a Sunday brunch buffet (particularly those that offer bottomless drink packages) usually feels more like those videos of cats accidentally falling into bathtubs. But whether for a dreaded brunch or steak dinner with important clients, trust that Edge will provide the kind of honed, polished hospitality that can only come from years of dealing with rich people who’re three Manhattans deep.
We sometimes find ourselves staring into the ears of the employees of Cote to see if they’re wearing an earpiece. It feels like someone must be watching from security cameras, screaming, “Table four needs their ribeye flipped before it overcooks!” But it turns out that the Cote team is just good. It’s impressive enough that practically the entire floor staff take turns grilling the meat in the center of the table at this Korean steakhouse. But even outside of that complicated task, service here is just all-around wonderful, speedy, and kind.
photo credit: Cleveland Jennings
The service at both Krüs and its downstairs sibling Los Felix are both excellent. We’re going with Krüs for this guide, though, because the Los Felix space is narrow and it’s possible you could catch an accidental elbow or two by someone trying to get to the bathroom on a busy night. But upstairs at Krüs, things are calmer and the service is every bit as warm. The restaurant often feels like a dinner party, and part of the reason for that is the friendly staff. They’re always smiling, refilling your wine like a friend who knows you had a hard week, and they also get genuinely excited for you when you order the right things (which they’re happy to help you do).