The Toughest Reservations In Miami Right Now (And How To Get Them)  guide image

MIAGuide

The Toughest Reservations In Miami Right Now (And How To Get Them)

Our take on the busiest restaurants in Miami—and advice on how to get in.

At any given time, there are a handful of Miami restaurants where trying to get a table feels like trying to get across the Rickenbacker Causeway, backwards, on a unicycle. Right now, these are those restaurants. Some spots on this list are excellent, and some aren't. But they are the hardest ones to get into—and we want you to know which are actually worthwhile. We also want to help you get a reservation, so you don’t have to sit at home and write sad songs about how you’ve never been to Boia De. Below, you’ll find our verdicts on the busiest places in the city, along with some info that’ll help you get that table (or bar seat). Check back for regular updates.

THE SPOTS

Boia De   imageoverride image
9.3

Boia De

$$$$

5205 NE 2nd Ave, Miami
View WebsiteEarn 3X Points

Verdict: We feared this day would come, and it’s here. Boia De has officially become a slightly impossible reservation to book. But unlike so many Miami spots that are booked for months out, the frenzy around eating here is justified. Boia De is outstanding, exciting, and always fun. And a night of wine, pasta, and the world’s greatest chopped salad is very much worth dedicating a full year of your life to snagging a table here.

How To Get In: Boia De reservations go live on Resy at noon, 30 days in advance. So that is when you need to be at your computer, refreshing the page like your life depends on it. If that doesn't work, Resy notifications are your friend. Turn them on and be ready to round up your party with only a couple hours notice. We’ve had luck that way, taking the seats of last-minute cancellations. Boia De also still holds space for nightly walk-ins. It’s a gamble, but try to come 20 minutes before they open or late (they close at 10:30pm). They just opened for dinner on Tuesdays, and the restaurant recently posted on Instagram that it’s a good day for attempted walk-ins.

photo credit: Douglas Friedman

Carbone review image
4.1

Carbone

Verdict: The food at the NYC-import Carbone is fine and it’s quite the scene, but there is nothing about this place that justifies the effort it takes to eat here. This is a restaurant that exists solely for clout and not much else, which is not our favorite kind of restaurant at all. If someone happens to invite you to dinner here and you’re curious, sure—go for it (and try to be in the bathroom when it comes time to split the checks).

How To Get In: Carbone reservations have gotten slightly easier to find—although mostly on weekdays at 5pm or 11pm. But as tourist season ramps up, reservations will probably begin to evaporate. If you still want in, they’re released via Resy 30 days in advance at 10am. Don’t bet on being able to walk in unless it’s just for a drink at the bar—and even then you may be turned away if it’s too crowded.

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Verdict: There may be no reservation in Miami that’s been so difficult to snag for so long. Everyone loves Mandolin, and we’re including ourselves in that group. Not only is the Greek/Mediterranean food really good, but Mandolin has one of the most beautiful outdoor spaces in Miami. That’s why most people want to eat here. It’s a very stunning, unique patio that feels like one big house (because that’s what it used to be). The nicer the weather gets, the harder the reservations get. Still, it’s a table worth fighting for.

How To Get In: Lunch. Ever heard of it? It’s that thing we sometimes do before dinner. And at Mandolin, lunch is far easier to book. It’s not impossible to find an open dinner reservation. They’re out there—mostly at 4:30pm or 10:30pm. They also accept walk-ins, although walk-ins are usually seated inside, which is still a cute little living room situation that’s a lovely place to have dinner. Luckily, all people with reservations are guaranteed an outdoor table.

Verdict: Dinner at Hiden is so much fun. The excellent sushi is part of that, but this 8-seat omakase spot is more about the experience. The restaurant is hidden in the back of The Taco Stand in Wynwood. You get inside by entering a secret code, which is emailed to you a few hours before dinner. It's the only reservation that's ever made us feel like a secret agent. It’s not cheap (they recently raised their price to $300 per person) but it is one of the best special occasion meals in town.

How To Get In: Persistence and flexibility. Hiden is almost always booked up, but this is another reservation where you can benefit from last-minute cancellations. Check their Tock page daily to see if anything is open for that night or the next. Also, hit that little button that says “join waitlist.” They’ll send you notifications the instant a reservation becomes available.

Verdict: The only reason anyone is particularly interested in this Japanese steakhouse is because Bad Bunny is a co-owner. But he is almost certainly not going to be there if and when you come. Plus, there’s really nothing about this restaurant that feels like Bad Bunny. It’s dark and dreary inside. The food isn’t bad, but it’s also overpriced and not very exciting. Save your money for actual Bad Bunny tickets.

How To Get In: Gekko’s reservation platform is difficult to navigate, but hit “search” and then scroll down to where it says “other dates with availability.” There’s rarely anything on the weekend, but if you’re fine with eating during the week at 6:30pm or 11pm, you can get in. There is also a lounge where you can just drink (which dinner guests have access to as well, so you can linger after an early reservation). You can try to walk in for the lounge, but they do have a velvet rope and a doorman, which means there’s a good chance you’ll be turned away. We wouldn’t risk it.

Verdict: What a strange, strange restaurant. This place appears to have been designed by a mermaid on MDMA. The massive pink and blue dining room is covered in shiny sculptures of sea creatures that cost so much money it’ll make you mad. But as visually chaotic as this place is, the food is incredibly boring by comparison. It’s also laughably expensive. We see no reason why you should devote a second of your life attempting to eat here.

How To Get In: Once again, lunch is pretty easy to book—but this restaurant also makes the least amount of sense when the sun is out. For a dinner reservation, look on OpenTable either very early in the morning or very late at night. That seems to be when they release new dinner slots about a month out. You can try to walk in for a drink at the bar, but they have a very imposing velvet rope outside and we can’t think of anything sadder than being turned away from the Sexy Fish bar.

photo credit: Kris Tamburello

Dirty French Steakhouse review image
6.7

Dirty French Steakhouse

RESERVE A TABLE

POWERED BY

open table

Verdict: Dirty French comes from the Carbone team and we feel similarly about the effort it takes to eat here: it’s not really worth it. The service can be slow and you may have to wait an hour for your table even with a reservation. Still, the martinis are good, as are the expensive steaks, and it’s a restaurant that answers the question: What if Tony Montana and David Lynch designed a steakhouse together? If that sounds fun to you, go for it.

How To Get In: Like its cousin Carbone, reservations are released via Resy 30 days in advance at 10am. Prime dinner slots are hard to come by, but lunch service is easier to book. They also have a bar where you can walk in for a cocktail, but it’s small and gets crowded fast.

Verdict: Cote is great. Not only does it give Miami another Korean option—which we so badly need more of—but it’s phenomenal for a special occasion. Especially one that you’d like to involve meat. You’re coming here for steak (the $68 butcher’s feast tasting menu is the way to go) and excellent cocktails in a futuristic dining room that feels like it’s going to take off for outer space any second.

How To Get In: Book through the link on Cote’s website (other reservation platforms show it’s fully booked when it’s really not) and you’ll find a smattering of dinner reservations—usually at 5:30pm or 11pm. If you book a month out, you’ll find some more reasonable 8:30pm and 9pm reservations. Lunch is a thing here too (and much easier to book). Sadly, walking in isn’t an option.

Verdict: Add the difficulty of getting into Sushi by Scratch to the long list of things we can blame Joe Rogan for. Apparently, he posted about this sushi omakase’s other location and now it fills up very quickly. They do odd things to nigiri here—like brush it with beet mustard sauce or top it with little slices of pineapple—but it somehow works. It’s a fun omakase, especially if you’re looking for something lively and different. They’re also currently running service from the slightly-too-small living room of a historic home in Coconut Grove.

How To Get In: A month’s worth of reservations are released on the first of each month at 1pm. Set an alarm and you’ll have your pick of prime weekend reservations. If you don’t, you’ll have to scour for some random weekday availability (which is out there) or hit that “join waitlist” button and be ready to jump on someone’s cancellation.

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