Brickell is like a Rorschach test. Some people see Miami’s booming future in its tall and shiny new buildings. Others look at it and have flashbacks to that one time it took them four hours to drive three blocks. But not many people see it and think about going out of their way to eat here.
That’s fair, but Brickell actually has some restaurants that are good enough to justify even the sh*ttiest of commutes it takes to get here. Our list of the 15 best restaurants in the neighborhood aren’t just astronomically expensive places reserved for people with more bank accounts than teeth. You’ll find a few fancy spots on this guide, but there’s also outstanding pizza, oysters, and the best french fries we’ve had in recent memory. Brickell deserves a chance. Just maybe not during rush hour.
When it comes to pizza, there’s the quick, cheap slice you can eat while sprinting down the street because you’re late (since you decided to stop and get pizza), and then there’s the incredibly delicious pizza that’s worthy of a sit-down meal and a good bottle of wine. Stanzione serves the second kind. Come to this bright blue building for one of the best Neapolitan pies in the city and a small list of natural wines. Everything here is good - from the recognizable margherita down to the more elaborate lemon and burrata white pizza.
Obra is not only home to what might be our favorite arepa in the city (the one with crunchy soft-shell crab), but it’s also just a really great restaurant that specializes in upscale Venezuelan food. That’s what you should focus on here, rather than some of the pastas. Get the hamachi tiradito, any and all forms of arepa, and the great bowl of sea urchin, fried eggs, and crispy plantain fries. It’s not exactly stuffy, but Obra is a bit pricey, so maybe save this spot for a nice weekend meal or business dinner.
There aren’t a ton of options for hot pot in Miami, but Brickell’s Da Tang Zhen Wei is a great choice. The Chinese restaurant is located in the lobby of an old Brickell condo, and it’s got the kind of ridiculous decor that makes us smile instead of cringe. There’s a robot standing by the entrance. The walls are red and gold and there’s not one square inch of this place you won’t want to stare at. The best part, though, is the food. They serve personal hot pots here - you just pick a broth and order various seafood, sliced meat, noodles, and veggies to dip into your own little cauldron.
Sitting at the bar here with a dozen oysters in front of you is a good call, regardless if you’re looking for a seafood-heavy dinner or just trying to hide from the truly hideous rush-hour traffic that circles this place like a shark without car insurance. But whether or not you’re here for cheap Happy Hour oysters (4:30-7pm) or the very good pot of mussels in a broth of coconut milk, lemongrass, ginger, and lime - it’s one of the most reliable spots in the neighborhood.
Hokasan is a Chinese restaurant in Brickell with some counter seating good for dining solo, some pleasant outdoor tables, and - the big reason you come here - some of the best dumplings in Miami. The shui jiao dumplings are fat, chewy, and filled with things like chicken and corn, pork belly, and shrimp. And the pan-seared dumplings have a brown, crispy bottom you will pick off and eat like potato chips.
Mister 01’s Brickell location is bigger than the original in South Beach, with more room and some nice outdoor seating. The South Beach spot is a little more charming, but here you can find the same strangely delicious pizzas like the white truffle oil-doused Claudio or the Coffee Paolo with honey, coffee grounds, and spicy salami. There are also more typical, thin-crust pies like margherita and pepperoni, and this place is packed almost every day of the week with people who have been successfully converted to accepting coffee grounds as a pizza topping.
The elevator ride to this upscale Uruguayan restaurant is very fun (they’ve got one of those infinity mirror set-ups that makes it look like you’re in outer space), but dinner here is better. This place is massive, with multiple rooms that can accommodate huge groups, outdoor tables, and countertop seating that borders their big wood-fired grill, which is our favorite place to sit. The menu is also quite large and full of very good things like excellent steaks, octopus a la plancha, and even a pretty good pizza. It’s not cheap, but if you want a sort of fancy dinner in Brickell, this is one of the better places to do it.
Just about every big neighborhood in Miami has its own Coyo Taco, and Brickell is part of that club. This casual shop generally isn’t as crowded as the one in Wynwood, but it also doesn’t have as much personality. They still serve the same very good tacos that have us willing to stand in line for 20 minutes - the al pastor, duck carnitas, and fried grouper tacos are all solid picks. There are also burritos in case a few tacos just won’t cut it.
La Mar is a very popular restaurant on the mysterious millionaire island known as Brickell Key. The food is good but you won’t remember it for very long once you leave the table. But the waterfront view - the main draw of this place - you will be thinking about for a while. Sit outside and stare at the Brickell skyline while you eat above average ceviche, tasty grilled scallops in a parmesan foam, and other Peruvian dishes that tend to involve seafood - but are never quite as satisfying as the view.
When you walk inside Baby Jane, it feels more like a cocktail bar than a restaurant, but this is a perfectly fine place to sit down and eat - at least until the late night crowd rolls in. If you just want a few small plates, go with the karaage chicken skewers, tuna poke tacos, and a bao bun. For more of a meal, get the ramen and stick to the classic tonkotsu. But no matter what you eat, have a few cocktails because they’re very good and a big reason why so many people just come here to drink.
DC Pie is a pizza place from the team behind Lucali, which is usually a very tough restaurant to get a table at because every bite of their pizza makes you see god. DC Pie is much bigger and more accessible, but - while these pies certainly look and even slightly taste like Lucali pizza - it’s just not Lucali. It’s more like a pretty good cover band, but even a lesser Lucali pizza is still better than most pizza. Just avoid the starters and go right for the not-quite-Lucali pizza.
If your car breaks down in Brickell on the way to brunch, and you fear your friends are about to start eating each other, go to B Bistro. There will probably be a wait on the weekends because this is really Brickell’s only true brunch spot, and the food is good enough to justify waiting about 23 minutes. They have some over-the-top pastries, but unless you feel like consuming a water balloon worth of Nutella, stick to the breakfast plates like the solid croque madame with a soft egg for dipping, or the smoked salmon scramble.
There aren’t a ton of places in Brickell where you can feel completely comfortable using your fingers as utensils and getting sauce on approximately 84% of your face. But at this Colombian spot, that’s practically unavoidable - especially if you order one of their massive hot dogs. And you should absolutely order one of their massive Colombian hot dogs, which grow up to 12 inches in length and are showered in multicolored sauces that we’d very much like personal squeeze bottles of.
There are certain things Miami needs less of - like tow trucks, flooding, and boaters who don’t respect no-wake manatee zones. And then there are things we are happy to see throughout the city, like La Sandwicherie. Our favorite South Beach sandwich shop thankfully has multiple locations, including one in Brickell. This one not only has AC, but is also open till 5am. Still, we’ll happily eat these huge sandwiches any time of day, whether or not we’ve already had seven beers.