Look, everyone’s pace of entering back into society is going to be a little different. Maybe you’ve been cooking most of your meals at home for longer than you’d like to think about. Or, perhaps you’re completely tired of eating celebratory takeout dinners on your couch. Or, maybe, you’re fully vaccinated and feel ready to head back out into the world. Whatever the reason, it might have been a while since your last “Big Night Out” dinner. And, if any of this applies to you, the restaurants on this guide can help give you the blowout meal you deserve.
If you’re looking for a dinner that’ll make you feel special - as in Drake-walking-in-with-Rihanna special - then book a seat at Hiden. This tiny omakase counter is located in the back of Wynwood’s The Taco Stand, and while it’s expensive ($175 per person) and a tough reservation to snag - it’s worth the trouble. On the day of your dinner, you’ll be emailed a secret code and instructions to open the door to this place, which will make you feel like a sushi-secret agent. And once the door silently slides open and you step inside the serene space, you’re in for two hours of some of the best sushi in Miami.
We love Ariete. We recommend the Coconut Grove restaurant for all sorts of occasions, ranging from first dates to business dinners to any old Tuesday when you just want something delicious. But, we’re going to recommend one thing in particular to align with the “Big Night Out” aspect of this guide: the duck press. Ariete has one of those antiquated duck press machines that breaks down a duck and extracts every last delicious drop in a pretty amazing tableside presentation. The duck press dinner feeds two, costs $125, and comes with a 14-day dry-aged duck breast, pistachio dukkah, duck tamale, wild mushroom gravy, pastelitos of duck fricassée, and green salad. There’s limited availability on this, but you can call ahead to reserve it.
Cafe La Trova
Cafe La Trova is always on our shortlist for a big, fun restaurant that feels like a party. Not only does this Calle Ocho spot have great live music and bartenders who occasionally whip out instruments and start playing along, but the food is excellent. The empanadas are delicious, the arroz con pollo is outstanding, and the banana leaf-steamed local catch is a fun thing to split with a few people. After dinner, you can bounce over to their ’80’s Bar in the back, where the design inspiration is somewhere between Miami Vice and the Cocaine Cowboys.
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We don’t want to make any assumptions about your skills in the kitchen, but, for us, Stubborn Seed is one of those restaurants serving food we could never recreate at home. The best part, though, is that besides being beautifully plated and full of ingredients we can’t pronounce - it’s all delicious. The menu at this South Beach fine dining spot changes quite a lot, but we’ve had some tremendous preparation of raw fish, excellent kusshi oysters, and warm celery root with crispy maitake mushrooms. If you really want to go big, do the eight-course tasting menu for $150 per person.
By now, you’ve probably heard about Jaguar Sun’s pandemic pivot. Just about a year ago, the Downtown restaurant moved its operations to a lot in Little River. Now, they’re an outdoor steakhouse, where you and some friends can enjoy hours of martinis, oysters, Parker House rolls, more martinis, and a huge 40-day aged ribeye. It’s a big, fun, delicious dinner that’ll make you remember how much you missed putting on pants and eating expensive beef.
Luca Osteria is one of our favorite new restaurants in town. Everything we ate at the Coral Gables Italian spot is delicious, but especially the patate fritte, a plate of fried potato balls covered in a creamy layer of parmigiano fonduta, black truffle, and a single egg yolk. That’s a must-order, but you’ll still have room for negronis and pasta - both of which are also excellent here. The restaurant has a small dining room for a more intimate meal, but also plenty of outdoor seating great for bigger groups.
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Uchi, a pretty well-known sushi spot in Austin, now has a Wynwood location, and it’s one of the best places to eat sushi in Miami. The menu is very large and portions aren’t designed to make you uncomfortably full, but every bite we’ve had here has been something special - from the slightly spicy hama chili to the Hokkaido uni sashimi, which were four delicious lumps of uni topped with pineapple and wrapped in a shiso leaf. The restaurant is big, and generally fully booked, so you’ll certainly be around people - but the tables are far enough apart that you won’t be bumping elbows with your neighbor.
First, let us be clear: Prime 112 is a scene. The South Beach restaurant gets absolutely slammed on the weekends, packed full of both legit celebrities and people who have convinced themselves that they are celebrities. Maybe this sounds like your own personal nightmare. Fair enough. But Prime 112 is still a classic Miami see-and-be-seen spot - and the steak is good too. If this is the kind of dining experience you’ve missed over the last year, then make a reservation and put on something shiny.
If you haven’t been to this Italian spot in South Beach since the pandemic, Macchialina is going to feel a lot different. The food still consists of Miami’s best pasta - like spaghetti pomodoro and cavatelli with baby meatballs - alongside veal parm, gnocco fritto, and more great Italian dishes. But they’ve since expanded to the patio next door, and are now offering some really pretty outdoor seating. Toss in a bottle of wine, and this is a perfect date with the person you’ve been eating off the same couch with for the last 13 months.